Making a Game

I’m not what you’d call an expert developer. Hell, I’m hardly a developer as is. I only know basic coding for games, and I generally work with premade engines like RPG Maker and such so I only have to worry about the game itself. Even so, I find that developing a game, especially as a solo developer, has been a whole chore in itself.

For well over a year, I’ve been using RPG Maker MV to create a story-driven fantasy RPG called The Crystal’s Tale. This game is inspired by the plot of the first novel I have ever written and maintains the original concept while taking the many things I’ve learned over the past 17 years as an author into consideration. And in that past year, I have completed the Prologue chapter, and as of this article being written, I am still not done with Chapter One.

It’s not like what I’ve created is short, either. For only being the prologue and first chapter, the game has quite a bit of substance to it, lasting almost four hours long counting the duration of the optional dungeon. (Even then, the optional dungeon takes up about an hour or less depending on when you choose to go in.) But still, for how long I’ve been working on it, you would expect that I would be a little further along in the process. That’s what I assumed, at least. That’s a long time to be working on a game.

But of course, there are more factors in this process than have been accounted for. Life events and changes, work, other creative endeavors (I’m an author first and foremost, so the game comes secondary to my writing work), the list goes on. However, even if you take those out of the way, I still probably wouldn’t have been finished with the first chapter yet. Why is that? Because of the work that goes into making a game by yourself.

When you’re a solo developer, you are the whole dev team. You’re the writer, the programmer, the artist, the music composer, the director, the producer, and so much more, even when using an engine as simple and easy to use as RPG Maker. RPG Maker has some amazing artwork, music, and sound effects built into the engine, which are amazing as placeholders or if you just want to make a game with the default assets. I’m using the art in the engine for now since doing all my art for this game that will potentially last 30-80 hours would take much longer, and I want the base game finished before I do all of that.

However, there is something I am doing that impedes my progress, and that is composing every single track in the game.

I have a background in music. Nothing extensive; I took four months of music theory, eight years of choir, a couple years of musical theatre, and I’ve been experimenting in music composition since I was 14 years old. And as a fan of video game music, developing my own game and putting my own music in it sounds ideal. But with this, the problem lies with the fact that I want the soundtrack to have a unique song for almost every situation. I even want the main battle theme to change every time you start a new chapter. Doing this, though, results in me stopping the progress of my game for weeks, sometimes months, until I get the music I want written. That’s just how my work flow has been, since I’m not always in the mood to work on my music.

With that being said, it will likely take plenty of time for me to get this game finished, especially as a solo developer who is way too determined to make sure the soundtrack is as good as can be. However, I am excited to share it with you guys. I plan on releasing it completely for free to the public once it is finished, and I will provide updates here! If you are familiar with RPG Maker and have any suggestions or tips or anything, feel free to let me know!

Here are some samples of the game’s soundtrack so far!

This is the Overworld theme. At least, the first one.
This is the theme of the first town in the game.
This is the first main battle theme in the game.
And here’s my personal favorite. This track plays during battles in the first optional dungeon.

The Struggle Begins Anew

Well, as stated in my previous article, I am giving Persona 1 another try! As annoying as the game can be, I am excited to be back at it. Not only so I can experience this game again to its fullest, but because this series is getting me back into the video production process. On top of the skit I posted previously, I get to edit the videos in this series and have fun with it, providing more info than I can in the actual commentary with edits and the like. I think that once I start getting into the combat elements of this playthrough, I will even go so far as to provide the stats for every single demon, their strengths and weaknesses, and perhaps some information on the lore behind them! If it gets to be much, I can even make separate videos talking about them, since I want to go all-out with them.

The first episode of this playthrough is live on YouTube as of today! Feel free to check it below and let me know if you have any feedback!

Why I Can’t Leave Persona 1 Alone

For those who don’t know, I started a YouTube/Twitch playthrough for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona last year, specifically, the PSP version with a patch that includes the original PS1 soundtrack. After over a year of hardship with the game, I finally got to the end and technically beat it, though the recording containing the ending was lost. It didn’t matter anyway, since it was the bad ending of the SEBEC chapter. I didn’t even get to see the full game. Once that was over with, I was also “done” with the game. As much as I enjoyed the characters, the atmosphere, and the story, some of the RNG was just so annoying to deal with that I couldn’t play it any longer.

Or so I thought.

It’s been about a month now since I got the bad ending and attempted to go back for the first time, and I’ve been thinking about the game. I’ve been listening to the music, thinking about the characters, and figuring out why I can’t just leave it be. It got to me bad enough to completely rid me of any motivation I originally had to play it. Why am I still thinking about it?

The answer’s simple: I actually enjoy the game despite what I keep telling myself. The RNG might be brutal, but it is by no means a bad game. It could absolutely benefit from a remaster that, at the very least, elaborates on the characters more and fixes some of the balancing issues in combat, but it’s still amazing as is.

With that being said, I ended up making and releasing an announcement video on my YouTube channel for the playthrough in which I go back to this game and play it all the way through, including both the SEBEC and Ice Queen chapters. I will be playing on the Beginner difficulty for both playthroughs in hopes that the RNG is a little nicer to me, because I’m just in this for the story, really. The game is about 55% combat anyway, so I’d rather get through battles quickly so I can see more of the story and how things develop over time.

If you’d like to see the announcement video I made (people seem to like it), feel free to check it out below! The hope is that I will be releasing Persona 1 videos every Tuesday and Thursday starting tomorrow. I hope to see you there!