DIY – Develop it yourself | No 2

GOOD_TipsIn our previous issue of Good DIY Tips, we presented Twine: the perfect tool for creating spellbinding text adventures. This time we’re taking it a step further. The tool’s got to be able to handle it if you want something that’s a bit more visual and heavier on role-playing.

Do you still have fond memories of the rough-hewn 8/16-bit retro graphics of old NES and SNES classics like Secret of Mana or Chrono Trigger? In that case, your search for the right game development tool has come to an end with the RPG Maker series from ASCII and Enterbrain! As its name implies, the tool is used to produce atmospheric role-playing games, and with a little experimentation you can also add elements of strategic combat.

A number of RPG Maker versions have been released over the years, and each new iteration has brought users an ever-growing selection of options and bug fixes. Most versions come with a tile-based map editor, a database editor for changing the values of all game objects, and a simplified script language for designing events. You can use the latter to create automatic sequences like cut scenes, teleportation effects, and plausible dialogue with multiple answers. All versions offer a basic pack with graphics, compositions, and further content. Additionally, most versions enable you to add your own creations to the content.

Versions 95, 2000, and 2003 don’t require any programming skills at all, yet still permit you to make in-depth changes to your game, for instance by providing drop-down menus and buttons that do the programming for you. From RPG Maker XP on, you can make changes directly to the ready-made game system with the RUBY programming language specialized for games. You can get some RPG Maker versions in English on Steam. Prices range from €20 for RPG Maker 2003 to €74 for RPG Maker MV.

Critically acclaimed and loved by gamers, the narrative role-playing game To the Moon was developed with RPG Maker XP. Positive reviews are well above 95 percent, which tells you all you need to know! Will you accept the challenge?

DIY – Develop It Yourself | No 1

GOOD_TipsHave you ever had an idea that would make the perfect game title but you never quite knew how to go bring it to a PC, console, or smartphone? Or were you astonished by a game you played and thought “Man, I’d love to be able to create something like this…”? If so, we have fantastic news for you. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to be an experienced game developer to create awesome games. Titles like Risk of Rain or To the Moon were created with free or pretty cheap tools which are fairly easy to get into.

Because we believe that there can never be enough great games, and because we also started small, in the next three episodes of GOOD Tips, we want to present three great tools to you and go into a little detail about their specifications. And who knows, maybe you’ll be running through our open doors with your awesome prototype some day! 😉

Back in the days when you’d actually feel pretty futuristic about owning one of those machines comparable to a typewriter with a screen, gamers were all over text-based adventures. Basically, you’d be given explanations of your environment and bits of story solely through text shown on your screen. By utilizing your keypad, you’d type different comments like “walk north” or “look at tree” to interact with the imaginary environment. The program would interpret your commands, sometimes leading to frustrating encounters when the parser wasn’t able to understand your intentions. Some people love this raw experience, though. Later, music or images were added to make the games more atmospheric, but the focus lay and still lies on typing text to advance.

While nowadays these games seem pretty dated and rough, they make a great entry point to game development! One tool to get into creating text-based adventures is Twine. It’s freely available on the creator’s homepage and allows you to create your very first game without typing any code. What makes Twine both easy to comprehend and stand out in comparison to similar tools like Quest, are the well-arranged story maps. These clearly visualize the connections between your text elements and dialog pieces, eventually taking the shape of easily editable concept trees. If you feel more adventurous, you can add variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript to grant players a more complex and immersive experience. As with the other tools presented in this blog post, there are tons of tutorials and lots of documentation compressed in a corresponding Wiki, and you can always ask for help in the thriving forums.

A really good example for a Twine game is The Temple of No by Crows Crows Crows. Try it out and get inspired!

“Butter bei die Fische” – How we create features for Goodgame Big Farm

Since lately Goodgame Big Farm brought you several new features like fishing and the world map, we decided to dig a little deeper and explore the process of feature creation at Goodgame Studios. Therefore, we talked to Dennis Schulz, Product Lead of Big Farm and asked him to guide us through the creation process, mostly with regards to the latest fishing update.

Dennis and Marten
Dennis (l) and Game Designer Marten(r) discuss a new Big Farm feature

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GOOD Insights: Virtual Reality

Welcome to the first episode of our new series “GOOD Insights”, in which we’ll take a closer look at current games industry hot topics and trends, highlighting potential roadblocks and promising new concepts. One of the hottest topics of 2016 has got to be virtual reality, with more and more gear surfacing during major events like 2016’s GamesCom. Contrary to this trend, the monthly Steam Hardware & Software Survey showed stagnating sales for VR headsets in August. How do those to developments connect? Is there a bright future for virtual reality just around the corner or has the hype train already passed by? We’ll try to find at least some answers to those questions after a short overview of the industry’s status quo.

Virtual Reality is astonishing

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5 years Goodgame Empire – the hype lives on!

Today we are celebrating a very special day at Goodgame: five years ago on this day, our browser game Goodgame Empire first saw the light of day! Five years – that’s an eternity in the world of online games. We’re therefore happier than ever about our loyal Empire fan base, and we bet there are some castle lords who have been with us since the very beginning. A few more players have signed up for Empire in the meantime, of course, and are now busy conquering the medieval online worlds with their castles. The game currently boasts 85 million (!) players – that’s more than the entire population of Germany!

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GOOD Tips – Become more productive in 10 minutes!

There is a good chance you’re already well acquainted with time management and have probably completed plenty of to-do lists in your lifetime, whether professionally or privately. Even in game development, it’s important to develop an efficient plan for large projects in order to carry them out as flawlessly as possible. Efficient time and self management is key to making your work both more successful and more relaxed. Of course, our colleagues cannot be rivaled in this field, not least because our staff development team offers courses for time and self management at our Goodgame Academy.

In today’s blog post, we want to share with you some valuable tips that you can use to better allocate your time, become more productive, and avoid stress. It only takes 10 minutes to read but can save you many hours down the road! 😉

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