Gravity Ace

What game should I make next?


Hey everybody and welcome back to another Gravity Ace devlog.

A few weeks ago I took Gravity Ace to an event at Ambitious Ales. Lots of fun and I got more great feedback on the levels I’ve been building. I also got confirmation that the last round of gameplay updates I made were successful. There’s no substitute for watching real people play your game.

Whenever I do something big like that I inevitably put a lot of work and time into preparing for it. Then the actual event happens and I need a week or so to recover. So I took some time and played XCOM 2 and Jupiter Hell to relax and unwind.

Last week I met up with my local game dev group OC Indies and led a short discussion about tutorial design. My friend Peter played through a level he designed for Gravity Ace and then we opened it up to the group for discussion. Lots of interesting takes on how to do it, what works, what doesn’t work. A problem I’m having is that Gravity Ace is based on an old design. It’s based on a game from the 80s called Thrust and the game play and mechanics are just not something many players are used to nowadays.

A fundamental issue is that this type of game simply isn’t played anymore. Or it’s a small niche at best. So it’s been difficult to get people to understand the controls, the perspective, the difficulty, just everything about it. Some people do get it almost immediately. Some people are interested enough to put in some work to understand it. But there’s a group who seem to have a fundamental block in understanding. They’re not stupid. It’s just not a type of game they’ve played before. So… tutorials.

Anyway, I think I understand the problem and I’ve got some good ideas for solving it. And as usual, it’s not just one thing. Nothing is as simple as it seems.

I’m looking ahead to my next game project. That might sound premature since I haven’t launched this one yet, but I have a plan. It goes something like this: publish two games a year for three years. This is year one. I’m publishing Gravity Ace and one other game. What game? I’m glad you asked because I want YOU to help me choose! AND I’m considering streaming the entire development process and turning the whole thing into an online course. I’ve gotten a lot from Godot and the game development community. And this would be a way to give back just a little.

Making Gravity Ace has taught me a lot. One of the biggest lessons is that I want to focus more on my strengths: simulation, randomness, and procedural generation. I’m strongly leaning towards procedural generation for levels. I’m also a big fan of simulation because of all of the emergent behavior you get for free. I’ve also learned that I need to make smaller games… especially if I want to have any hope of publishing every 6 months!

So for my next game… I’m thinking… 2D but I haven’t ruled out 3D. If I do 3D it’ll be very simple. I’m thinking… something twin-stick shootery… bullet hell-ish maybe. Something arcade-y with simple mechanics but some depth. Easy to learn, difficult to master. I have Geometry Wars and Robotron in my head right now. Things I want to avoid: dialog and hand-designed levels.

So let me know… are you interested in an online course in Godot based on live streamed videos that follow the development of a commercial game over 6 months? Are you interested in watching the stream and following along with full access to me to discuss anything you’d like? What game should we make?

Please share this with your friends and social networks! Let everybody know to come here or follow me on Twitter and tell me what kind of game I should stream and what they would like to see! Streaming game development for 6 months is a huge commitment so I’ll only do the stream and course if there’s enough interest. Please tell everybody!

OK that’s it for now. Thanks for watching and see you next time!

Published March 1, 2020

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