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100 Orcs - Postmortem

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bridin, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    It’s January 2nd, 2014. I’m doodling in my moleskine notebook. Sharpie; with a pen tip. This is a typical pastime for me, though after years of dribbling on paper I wouldn’t consider my doodles anything more than abstract chicken scratch. It’s not in my nature to take a long time on any given doodle and before I know it, I’ve got this hero looking guy on the page. As I’ve come to realize over the last year, what I experience in the next moment is quite a familiar and sometimes unforgiving phenomenon among fellow game developers; inspiration.

    I’m hooked. Ideas are thrown on to the 2’ by 3’ whiteboard. 2D platformer. Puzzles. Combat. Weapons. Outfits. F2P. Mobile. Fun. And most importantly, a deadline. April 2nd. Twelve weeks from the day.

    Fast forward 13 months and a handful of days later; I’ve just released my first game on GameJolt (http://bit.ly/Orcs100) and I’m laughing at myself for how naive I was only a year ago. Yet, through all the frustrating nights, the aha moments when things finally click and the slumps where I didn’t believe I could finish this project; I made it. I can call myself a game developer, because I indeed have my own creation out there in the world for people to enjoy.





    What Went Right:

    1. The Art

    As soon as I began posting the first photoshopped mockups of 100 Orcs, the comments and feedback were super positive about the art. Which was great for my confidence because this is by far my favorite part of the development process.



    I remember reading one comment in regards to a demo I posted on the Unity forums. Something in the lines of: “What’s this? Why are you polishing art when you are just working on a prototype?”



    I am most certainly an artist first over a programmer. There is no mistake there. The majority of the scripts in 100 Orcs come from a hodgepodge of free and open source resources that the Unity community generously made available.

    2. The community

    I can’t thank the Unity Community enough for helping me realize this goal. The forums, the asset store developers and Unity themselves were instrumental in making this game happen and I can’t stress that enough.

    I’ve come to a realization over the course of this project that everyone is walking the same path. Development on any scale is not an easy feat. I’ve spoken to developers with more experience than I that fall into the same pitfalls that I find myself in. I can say this with certainty; you will get positive feedback if you give positive feedback. And feedback is like the fuel to the game developers fire.

    (Some fan art from my WIP thread)



    (Art by @CodestarGames) (Art By @MBRogers)



    The breadth of knowledge and the willingness to lend a hand is just an incredible strength of this community. If you are genuine about your work and realistic about your skills, you will find friends that will go out of their way to assist you. This is invaluable.

    3. Reevaluating scope

    So, it was late February and I had a working prototype of what I thought I wanted 100 Orcs to be. The hero could move, jump and swing a sword. Now, I only needed to do the hard part and put in the time to build the rest of the game. (Levels, quests, upgrades, enemies...All the things that make up a game, right?) That’s when I hit my wall. A wall that took me almost six months to overcome.

    (some things that didn't make it in)




    I really have to thank my wife for the push that I needed. She saw me working on my hero’s animations and noted that the arms and legs weren’t connected to the body. I told her that I couldn’t figure out how to animate arms and legs that were connected to the body so I cut them out! In her wisdom and lack of gaming bias, she proposed that I cut out the stuff that’s stopping me from finishing the game, the levels and such. At first I scoffed, a game without levels? Is that even a game? And yet, she was right (as she usually is). It was level design that was stopping me from enjoying my hobby. So I did exactly as she suggested. I cut it out.

    (these are some things that I cut)



    I felt like a burden had been lifted and I immediately made more progress in a single evening than I had for the past few months. This is the best advice that I can give. Get rid of the things that make your game too large to finish. Trust me; the core of your game, the thing that the player will be doing the most is what you want to spend your precious time on. Quests, upgrades, procedurally generated open worlds, 500 plus enemies are all expendable when it comes to actually having a v1.0 of your game.

    What Went Wrong:

    1. Unrealistic expectations

    Without reiterating what I’ve already touched on, I wanted to add one more point. This is where I went wrong in the end of my development and it was a hard lesson to swallow. I could have published my game months ago if only I had really put myself in perspective. This is my first game. It will most certainly not be a super success by any real standard. The thought that all of this hard work would be for nothing is a scary powerful deterrent.

    So, I’m speaking to myself as a young fresh hobbyist developer and anyone else out there like me when I say; quit putting a monetary expectation on your hobby. I didn’t make this game in order to quit my day job. I made this game to prove to myself that I could. It’s likely that I will never be able to buy a cup of coffee from the revenue generated by 100 Orcs and that’s okay! 9 people have rated my game at a 4.3!



    Conclusion:

    I tweeted this not too long ago and I think this will become a sort of theme when it comes to my hobby.




    I’ve learned so many important lessons. Here are the big ones:

    • Give genuine, positive feedback to your fellow developer and they will return it in kind. I promise.
    • Do what you love and cut out all the rest. Find the soul of your game and make it as good and fun as you can. The other stuff is fluff that can get in the way.
    • Design your art really freaking big to begin with. You can resize it later. Don’t get caught making stuff too small.
    • There is absolutely no rules and everything is up for grabs. A mentor of mine told me this once and I think it rings true for game development: “It’s not cheating, if it works.” Quit with the conventional and ordinary, video games are illusions anyway.
    This journey was awesome. The people I met along the way are awesome. Making a game has given me so much appreciation for those who do it regularly. You are all awesome.

    - Kelly Ray

    Feel free to follow me here: https://twitter.com/kellyrayj

    And check out 100 Orcs here:

    http://gamejolt.com/games/action/100-orcs/47384/
     
  2. ensiferum888

    ensiferum888

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Posts:
    255
    Thank you for taking the time to write this and congratulations on your game relase! You pulled through and that's very impressive.

    I think that with proper efforts in marketing it would be possible to make this game viable, let's face it it seems like a great game. (not necessairly my kind but I can certainly appreciate all the love that went into its creation) It's always a little discouraging seeing sales figures so low when someone put so much efforts in a project. But I love that line:

    I'm with you on that one, I've been working on a project for almost 2 years (maybe 110-120 days in total) and I just want to do it for myself. If I can finish it I'll be happy.

    Good luck with this game and your future projects!!
     
  3. R.Lindsay

    R.Lindsay

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2014
    Posts:
    287
    Good writeup. You are lucky to have someone who supports you!

    I took the game for a spin and played 3 rounds. Attached is my third attempt.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. NomadKing

    NomadKing

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Posts:
    1,462
    A nice read @Bridin. I can definitely relate to point 3. The sooner you figure out exactly what you're making (what you're game is) and plan out a realistic scope, the better!

    This 100 times, especially for 2D games, and especially if you have even the slightest inclining to release on iOS at some point in the future.
     
    diegomendes likes this.
  5. Callski

    Callski

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Posts:
    130
    @Bridin You should post this to Kongregate.com. I think a game like this would be pretty successful on there. I have never heard of GameJolt. Kongregate's playerbase is quite large. Anyways thanks for the post. This is awesome man.
     
    Nanako likes this.
  6. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    Posts:
    5,546
    Thanks for sharing your behind-the-scenes look at your development and experiences!
     
  7. Josh-Naylor

    Josh-Naylor

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Posts:
    216
    Thanks for the write-up and sharing, personal development is one of the best success stories. It feels great to work for a company that can offer a hobbyist the freedom to create their vision. And you're right about #2, the Unity community and gamedev community in general are awesome!
     
    jashan and NomadKing like this.
  8. Aurore

    Aurore

    Producer Unity Technologies

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Posts:
    3,101
    I realised this when I was making my first game and it blew my mind, completely changed the way I approached development and how I looked at other games.

    Awesome write-up a congrats on your release!
     
  9. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Posts:
    925
    Wow!
    Very Nice!
    I'm glad that it worked out for you dude! :D
    Congrats on finishing and releasing your game!
    And thanks for the the info, on the obstacles that you had to confront, while
    making your game.
    In order too fulfill your dream of completing it. :D
    Yee Hah!! :D

    Very cool! :D
     
  10. TheValar

    TheValar

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Posts:
    719
    Congrats on the completion of your first game! As far as polish, I'd say you hit way above the "first-try average" so kudos for staying motivated for such a long period of time!

    What are your plans now? New bigger project? Updates to 100 Orcs? Porting to mobile? Doing a collaboration?
     
    theANMATOR2b and angrypenguin like this.
  11. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    Thank you all for such kind words!

    @TheValar I will actually be submitting a mobile version to the Apple app store tonight assuming I can finish an icon and some screenshots!

    I'll be real. I have such good intentions that the next project will be short and sweet and easy to complete in a reasonable amount of time. We'll see if that comes true.
     
    TheValar likes this.
  12. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Posts:
    7,144
    Congratulations on your game! And great job on doing the write up. No one can actually understand what it is like build a game until you actually complete one, the big lessons come at the end.

    Great work, keep it up!
     
  13. darkcloud

    darkcloud

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Posts:
    1
    See I'm first and foremost a programmer, I really want to make a game, but every time I start, I go to think about the art part and I just stop working on it, I took a animation class with blender my last semester of college, hated it lol.

    Your stuff looks great man, keep it up!
     
  14. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Posts:
    10,778
    Freakin' oath, and I'm saying that based on just what I've seen in this thread. If I remember I'll grab the game tonight to give it a go. Well done!
     
  15. Socrates

    Socrates

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Posts:
    594
    • Gave the game a try.
    • Played till I could kill 100 orcs in one go.
    • Now hate all orcs because they just won't stop trying to kill that poor knight.
    • Definitely enjoyed the experience. Well polished bit of fun.

    Congratulations on your first game.
     
  16. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    22,542
    Nice one, I enjoyed this while you were making it. It must feel like a real achievement!
     
  17. nipoco

    nipoco

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Posts:
    1,999
    Congrats!
    It looks really polished and fresh :)
     
  18. Napivo

    Napivo

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Posts:
    35
    I had a good laugh and cooled some of my frustration from learning unity (5th day)

    5 stars.

    Thank you :)
     
  19. Schneider21

    Schneider21

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    Posts:
    2,699
    Congrats on finishing your first game! That's a huge barrier to get past (and one I haven't overcome yet!), so like you said, you've earned your wings as a game dev now. I'd love to hear even more detail about your experiences, if you've got more to tell.

    And hey, why not release a stand-alone version of 100 Orcs as well? :)
     
  20. Yukichu

    Yukichu

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Posts:
    417
    Wow, congrats. This is very cool and thank you for the writeup. I really like the artwork but I'm confused as to why legs/arms couldn't connect? I guess in the end it makes it look more unique.

    Nice job!
     
  21. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    Thank you all again for such kind replies. Further proof of point #2.

    @Yukichu It was really my ignorance at the time when I made it. I was impatient with the design because I just wanted to get a move on. I just felt restricted when I was animating the 2D stuff in blender. (this was before Unity 2D stuff came out) I wanted his arms and legs to move where I wanted them and it not look funny. So that's the solution I came up with.

    @Schneider21 I don't see why I couldn't! Thanks for the reminder. :) I can't think of anything else to share off the fly. But if at certain points you have some questions, please do feel free to hit my inbox up.
     
    angrypenguin and Schneider21 like this.
  22. eelstork

    eelstork

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Posts:
    162
    Interesting writeup yes!
    Not all platforms are equal.
    I would be (very) disappointed to hear that you don't earn back a few cups of coffee from the iOS release.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  23. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    I was digging through my dropbox. Organizing a whole bunch of the art assets and deleting duplicates and what not. I found one of the very first prototypes for the game and I thought it would be a nice comparison for how far the game has come.

    Here's a pro tip; jump right away. There is some kind of hole in the very very beginning of the sudo level.

    Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 8.33.11 AM.png

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/39578945/Proto/100 Orcs Proto.html
     
  24. Schneider21

    Schneider21

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
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    2,699
    Nice! Love seeing prototypes after the game has been finished. I need to get into the habit of saving versions for my builds instead of overwriting them each time.

    Also, there are several invisible holes in the terrain, haha.
     
    Bridin likes this.
  25. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    Haha, you are correct. Must be copied geometry of something.
     
  26. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Posts:
    2,968
    You've leveled up!

    New Title Unlocked: Game Developer
    New Skin Unlocked: Accomplished

    Achievements Completed:
    • First Release
    • Final Push
    • Postmortem

    Congrats on your first game. It looks fantastic!
    Gigi
     
  27. NomadKing

    NomadKing

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    Feb 11, 2010
    Posts:
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    Haha, well put Gigi :)
     
    Gigiwoo likes this.
  28. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Nov 19, 2009
    Posts:
    3,824
    QFT. This is how I felt after my first game. Welcome to the 'Made a Game' club!
     
    Wacky-Moose, NomadKing and Gigiwoo like this.
  29. jmatthews

    jmatthews

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Posts:
    199
    Congrats. Finishing a game is quite an accomplishment.

    Learning to cut scope mercilessly is a tough lesson. I had a tough time not getting side tracked on stuff that ends up being unnecessary.
     
    theANMATOR2b and Gigiwoo like this.
  30. frosted

    frosted

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Posts:
    3,055
    Omg. It's fun and everything but come on JUMP ATTACK IS TOO OP!!!! MUST NERF!!!

    There, now you've gotten your first balance complaint, and you're truly a game developer. ;)

    ----------

    Woah, i scrolled down to the comments and saw you already had someone actually asking you to nerf jump attack! Dude, you really are a game dev!
     
  31. fzd

    fzd

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Posts:
    7
    Great to read that. What's your experience on actually releasing the game is it just on GameJolt? is there mobile?

    EDIT: I just had a go on the webplayer. There's a lot of bugs like my first 10 seconds i started using the arrow keys and the character's legs walk but he doesn't move, then I died and on replay the game over screen kept popping up again. Once I got going the you see the great art and character animations (and smashed my 100 orks :D). It's a shame there's bugs like that but I guess being an artist doing the scripting that's to be expected. I'm a developer without any art skills so it's the other way round for me. Unity artists and dev's should hook up more! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  32. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    So far, I've had a really nice experience on both GameJolt and Kongregate. Mostly positive reviews! I've submitted the app to the App Store but I've been rejected twice do to some little things that I need to research more. But hoping for soon!
     
  33. IsaiahKelly

    IsaiahKelly

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Posts:
    229
    Congratulations on the release of your game! I enjoyed your write-up very much.

    If there's one thing I've learned about game development, it's that getting too attached to your vision can be a huge problem. Good game development is an organic process, and you need to be willing to scrap things that just aren't working. But this can be very hard to do when your heart is really set on something.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  34. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
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    886
    Friends! Exciting stuff! 100 Orcs was finally accepted to the app store! I hope you enjoy!

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/100-orcs/id965455861?mt=8

    Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.03.10 AM.png

    Couple things I don't enjoy about this release, but it feels dang good to finally have a working version on a mobile device! I believe I'll come back around to these characters and ideas. But for now, I want to let it rest and begin my next project.

    KJ
     
  35. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
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    Congratulations, and apologies, I can't rate it as it requires iOS 8, and I'm not ready to screw up my phone just yet.
    Gigi
     
  36. NomadKing

    NomadKing

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    Feb 11, 2010
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    Grats @Bridin !

    Edit: I like what you did with the screenshots, looks very polished :)
     
    Bridin and AndrewGrayGames like this.
  37. Socrates

    Socrates

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    Mar 29, 2011
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    Congratulations. It's a fun little game in the web browser. I hope you do well on the mobile phones.
     
    Bridin likes this.
  38. SnakeTheRipper

    SnakeTheRipper

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    Dec 31, 2014
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    The game looks pretty awesome !
     
    Bridin likes this.
  39. xjjon

    xjjon

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    Apr 15, 2016
    Posts:
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    Hi Bridin,

    Tried to load up the game on gamejolt but it doesn't seem to do anything. Just see the screen that says "play game" and pressing it once nothing happens. If i try to press it again it says my browser already has a game loaded. Thought maybe it had to buffer a bit since it's web version but it's been few minutes and nothing happened.

    But enjoyed your write-up of your journey, thanks for sharing your insight!
     
  40. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
    Posts:
    6,878
    It's not just Briden's game... none of the games are working at least not with Firefox 47.0.0.5999
     
  41. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Posts:
    3,824
    My games are also broken - IE 11.420.10586.0 here (you need IE for the NPAPI plugins in my games.)
     
    GarBenjamin likes this.
  42. JamesLeeNZ

    JamesLeeNZ

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    Nov 15, 2011
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    5,618
    Got any gameplay vids?
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.
  43. salgado18

    salgado18

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Posts:
    84
    one criticism/suggestion about the game: make the player swing his sword while walking, instead of stopping. That will make striking from the ground as good as jumping.

    And that's it. Really, awesome game! And great postmorten, your experience is very valuable to us! Like this one, it's gold:
    Naaaahhhh, I'll just make my own procedural dungeon generator, the ones in the Asset Store are not good enough! :p
     
    RavenOfCode likes this.
  44. Bridin

    Bridin

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Posts:
    886
    Hi xiion! I'm glad you enjoyed the write up! Thanks for letting me know you couldn't play the game. It's unfortunate, I'll add this on the list of things I need to do. If you are still interested, you can also find the game on the apple app store here! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/100-orcs/id965455861?ls=1&mt=8
     
    theANMATOR2b and angrypenguin like this.
  45. Root13

    Root13

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2016
    Posts:
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    Thanks for this thread. As a newbie, I appreciate it very much
     
    Bridin likes this.
  46. mochoPAC

    mochoPAC

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2017
    Posts:
    1
    thanks for this thread, i'm starting with unity and c# in a online courses, when i was reading your post
    [QUOTE=" quit putting a monetary expectation on your hobby." /QUOTE] that was so exactly what i felt with somre projects i have and i just leave them , because i have that type of thinking. sorry my writing , greetings from argentina man
     
    Bridin likes this.