The Game Developer's Journal: The Journey of a Thousand Micrometers Begins with a Single Step

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Journey of a Thousand Micrometers Begins with a Single Step

They marveled at them. “This is the treasure I was talking about.”
After a time, Wisenchyme said, “Hm—not gold, silver or jewels. These must be old—works of antiquity.” “I wonder how much they're worth?” asked Amoenu. “The pages I'm not sure—but the words. Now those are priceless.” “What do you mean?”

You can find this conversation on page 22 in my story concept papers. The story, in fact, is a remarkable one indeed.

It all started one October day, four years ago in 2010. Yes, time has passed that quickly! I conceived an idea for a game in which you could command an army of amoebas to overtake enemy colonies; a real-time-strategy-action venture. Not only could the player lead his comrades into battle, he could also control amoebae individually to fight in the fray.

Okay, seriously what can an amoeba do? Fling out fake arms. Right... But they can engulf organisms too and digest their contents. So the little critters would battle using exocytosis (which, by the way, means to ingest foreign objects). And there were actual war weapons to use as well.

Taking from that offbeat concept, another idea eventually formed for a silhouetted platform adventure game. That was “The Amoeba of Light.” But pretty much the only similarity between the former idea and the latter was inspiration by amoebas. (Since I enjoy God's creation and nature, I often think of games based around the lives of creatures).

The Amoeba of Light,” though a simplistic idea at first, was something quite different. As the years passed and the planning progressed—from 2010, to 2011, to 2012—the project scope expanded. I thought of more things the player could do. I added game mechanics. I unfolded the story into something unusually distinct. And the art style went from black and shadowy to alive and vibrant.

Life brought trouble with it, as it commonly does. Yet the idea still grew. I started development in a commercial game application software—Game Maker 8.1 to be exact—and the basic engine began to get up on its feet. But for some reason I stopped and started working solely on an MMOG about fantastical knights wielding strange futuristic weapons. I think I just wanted to finish something, and the amoeba project wasn't so exciting anymore. I wanted to be great and for the world to finally see it.

Even though the planning went on (with spurts and sputters every once in a while), it wasn't until just last year that things got really serious—in a good way. I had read a book about faith goals, and I applied what I learned to set concrete milestones for the development process. And not without a few more inconveniences, that brings me to where I am today.

Yes, today. I mean that literally. May 1st is the day the official Game Developer's Journal for “The Amoeba of Light” was planned to commence, with “customized graphic designs for [the] template,” as my notes read. So however you got here, welcome to the adventure.

My blog will reveal the spectacular details of an Indie game that is as extraordinary as it is exceptional. Follow me here from today until release day and after. The game itself will be marvelous, yet the story that goes with it will be something special.

I want to update the blog at least once a week. Along with information about the dev process, I'll share the goodies and gumdrops of the game's design. Of course I'll unfold the story too. This will be fun!

I'm looking to break the rules of the gaming world. If different is good, then different is better. Throwing out foolish traditions *toss* discarding cumbersome systems *toss* not being afraid to try something new—“The Amoeba of Light” should be an endeavor that brings fresh pleasure to the average player.

The journey of Amoenu's life is about to begin. He will find what he wasn't looking for, yet what he didn't know he always wanted.

Curious? Come back soon for more.

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