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What is your first step in coming up with a homebrew game? (Poll)


What is your first step in creating a homebrew game?  

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  1. 1. What is your first step in creating a homebrew game?

    • Come up with the visual concept (sprites, screenshot, etc) you want
    • Decide on a underserved genre/playstyle to expand on a platform
    • Develop a unique mechanic or programming technique to use
    • Find an existing game that you want to improve or build upon
    • Other

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I was curious as to the beginning step(s) that folks here who have published/released homebrew titles start with when creating their games.  I suppose the answer would depend heavily on the level of knowledge when starting out so I expect a variety of answers.   I don't personally have any real programming knowledge/skill at the moment so I basically play around with sprites and screenshot mockups until the point when/if I do decide to take the plunge and learn more about coding.  

Edited by LatchKeyKid
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It's a little bit of everything, but mostly I start with a very general gameplay concept (crappy Space Invaders knockoff with one giant space invader, crappy Donkey Kong 3 knockoff but using the crappy giant space invader from the previous game, crappy roguelike but in space and in black and white, etc.) that sort of evolves and solidifies as I go.

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It's the idea of a game I want to make - usually a general game mechanic paired with a setting. It's not really visual concept, more gameplay concepts (maze game with this feature, side scroller with that mechanic, etc). I (almost) always have a theme or setting as well, which goes hand in hand with it. Everything follows those two, but games always evolve along the way. I never start with a clear picture of the final product and work backward, I start with a general direction and see where the hardware and the game itself take me.

Edited by BydoEmpire
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I've privately worked on a whole bunch of ideas for Atari 5200/A8 homebrew projects.  Some have gotten to the programming stage but most just stayed ideas in a couple of folders. The idea was always the first thing.  Some were unofficial homages to games like Adventure ("Adventure II"),  Swordquest mixed with Pitfall II ("Escape from AirWorld") , and Megamania (my idea for a similar weird-enemies shmup, I was calling it "Giga Blaster").   But most of my ideas were just a thought or inspiration I'd get one day.  "What about a game where you put out fires and save animals?".    Or, "what kind of Sherlock Holmes game could I make?".   Or, "how about a survival game on a dinosaur and creature-filled lost island?".   Or,  "what kind of fishing game could I make where even I'd want to play it?", etc etc.    The ideas would grow into a game design, with lots of iterative design passes as I'd think about it over time.  It helps to know the capabilities and limitations of the target hardware. 


As I type, I'm remembering more. I used to draw up game ideas based on novels , shows, and films.  The fun was in creating the game design;  after that, I'd lose interest (and unwilling to devote the needed time) before I programmed much.   I was working with the 5200 Adventure II engine and was thinking about making a "Land of the Lost" game.   I wanted Pylons with Crystal tables which would allow you to change the layout of the land or the time of day, for example.   For a while I worked on a "Jaws" game where you were on the boat The Orca on the ocean, and the actual game mechanics were (a) trying to locate the shark, then (b) actual strategic boating and fishing gameplay, reading the sea and its waves and currents for the best positioning near (or to get away) from the monster shark, finally  hooking barrels on Jaws to tire it,  and the the final confrontation.     If I were a better (and faster) artist, or if I partnered with an interested artist, some of these could have come together.    



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