Find what works for you. If you start out making games, start small. Maybe make a de-make of a game you loved as a child? (or a re-make)

Your first games will suck, but you will improve with them and most of all, learn to deal with your own shortcomings.

And learn to deal with your own limits. Some you can overcome, others not. Don't work against your limits. Work with them, they can help you finish a great game.

Also be willed to sacrifice features.

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That's a lesson I learned (to not burn out) and why I also work so little per week. Not burning yourself out, is the main key to finishing a project.

Also some external motivation helps, being it encouragement from friends or money from strangers.

so I have my style, work with my limitations (in art and music) and with my engine's limitations.

All not to burn out, because if you work against limitations, you overwork yourself and quit (at least that's the case for me)

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I chose a GBC style art, because I got very much influenced by Pokemon. I loved playing Blue and Silver on my GameBoy Color, so yeah, a bit of extra nostalgia, to add to my motivation.

Also those sprites are easy to draw for me. and that's important. Do what is easy for you, to not burn out.

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So, how do I deal with myself here?
Mostly, I draw motivation from financial support.

This means, that I rely on that to progress and also are forced to progress.

It's a double sided sword, but works out for me well enough.

Also it's something I love doing. I love TF and drawing pixel art.. SO that is good.

Stuff I can't do or bad at, I plan to outsource. This is mostly music and SFX related. I'm already planning on spending that money.

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Right now, I am at the phase, where I develop combat, to tie in with bad ends and other core things.

But the action RPG part is fixed now and won't be changed. Just how attacks work, etc.

Also I can tell more of a story, this way. I forgot to mention. The biggest part I went away from rogue likes, is that I felt people get too attached to their character and rogue like's are pretty much "and now, throw them away"

But it worked out.

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See, my engine, GameMaker Studio 2 is designed around platformers.

You can make any type of game in it, but it's best at 2D platformer games.

The good thing here, rogue likes (especially the ones actually clos to the original) are basically RPGs and that's what I had. A turned based RPG.

But the turns were the problem. Code were messy and fragile.

But action RPGs are very similar, and I could simply use simpler code.

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With the actual rogue like out the window and playing Pokemon (pretty much an RPG), I looked into doing things more like that.

Have a Pokemon like game, with transformations. So I started coding on that, but a bunch of issues cropped up.

Also I haven't published any animations from that phase, but dd make mockups of how the battle works, move animations etc.

There were a lot of problems though. Most of them engine related.

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Next I played retro games, as I knew I wanted it in pixel art.

I can't draw "traditional" digital art, so that was already settled, but you still have a buttload of different styles.

Oh, also there was a different idea floating about "Kobold Dungeon", more a survival sandbox game, I might pick up, but dunno.

Well, after playing a lot of early Pokemon and Zelda, I found my style and saw some issues cropping up.

Mainly, I saw the rogue like nature won't work.

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My goal with "Dungeon TF" was to make a rogue like or rogue lite, that had transformation (or other kink) based bad ends and you find the transformed "you" in the dungeon.

Pretty much a personal project, where I had to see what art style I wanted. So first thing was a lot of drawing and some coding.

Later in the pool [entry 3-5] ( you also see concept stuff of that phase.

What I learned? The style is too expensive and I wouldn't be able to make it.

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So, how do I do things?

Well, Crysalis started kind of as just random animations.

The first two animations, in this pool ( started it off.

Pretty much, just doing them for fun and people being positive and wanting it to be a game.

Also a friend said she wanted to make a rogue like transformation game (in 3D) and I loved the idea.
With those animations already up and feedback, I knew I could do it.
So "dungeon TF" became a thing

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Scope is pretty much defining the game, as it dictates features art style and what engine to use.

The bigger the scope the more awesome of a game, you can create, but the more likely it is to burn out on the project too.

Which is not a shame. I have a lot of unfinished projects, so has every game developer, composer, artist, writer, etc.

It also doesn't mean that your project wa a bad idea. It mostly meant you have to learn to deal with yourself, to keep you motivated.

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The reason why I suggest pico8 (or a similar fantasy console) for those who just want to have fun, is the next thing and this is super important.


Wanting to make a AAA game as a single dev is possible, but well... not the most likely.

Be honest and try small things first, when you start out.
I did a couple projects before and learned on the way.

Half of it is drawing, composing music and coding, the other half is learning to manage scope.

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But let's dive in. First and most important question:
Why are you doing this?

Answer this question honestly and ask it very early, because it will define so much.

For me? I want to tell a story (not a specific one though), test and improve my skills and of course, I'd like to sell the end product and provide myself with an income.

If you just do a project for fun, or to learn making games, I'd suggest getting into pico8. A very fun fantasy console, with restricted capabilities.

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First a bit more about my game, I think.
Crysalis is an action RPG, with transformations as abilities. This is not the original idea, but I get to that later.

Also it is in a very GBC like style on purpose, while I work in GameMaker Studio 2. More on those later too.

I get most of my motivation from financial support from Patreon, so patrons help me develop it.

Also I am disabled and can't work 40h a week. I have about 9-15h per week on average.

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Whil I'm on a role, a little bit about my experience.

Hi, I am a single gamedev, who is working on Crysalis, an action, transformation RPG.

Making games is fun! It's what I try to make a living with, but there are some challenges, which I'd like to discuss here. This will be a thread, so buckle in.

First of all, your biggest enemy is you. So learn yourself and how to deal with your shortcomings. I give examples of my own and how I deal with them.

Also finding a style early is very important.

Changing styles later is possible, but it costs extra time and energy.

The longer a project lasts, the higher the chance your brain gets tired of it and you abandon it (everyone does, it's not a shame though)

Doing mockups and finding your style early helps you finish your game though. So trust me, sit down and draw your ideas out.

Or find an artist doing that for you. If you can't draw at all.
Or find assets, you like and want to use.

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Another tip, is to make mockups. Especially when you start out the game, but also later.

Mockups help you find style for the game and also see where your limits are. Especially for those who aren't too skilled with art, mockups are great. They allow you to see what you can draw and stick with that.

Also they're quick to do and see if you want to have a certain idea or not.

Later they are also good to test out new feature ideas and see how things fit, before you code them.

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Pro tip from someone who makes games for a couple years now:

Re-use assets. Yes, you heard me right. Re-use them as much as you can.

Want to draw a new sprite, base it off an old one. Modifications are easier than drawing from scratch.

Same goes for pretty much any other asset. Don't always start at 0, because that will just exhaust you completely, before you're half done.

by the way, if you like to playtest my game, this version is now public

Gameplay wise it's nearly the same as the current version (though no high scores are saved)

Give it a try if you like!

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