Animus: Before and Beyond Your Expectations

April 28th, 2017 -

In recent years there have been a few games that have received a lot of praise and ended up being created almost exclusively, if not entirely, by a single person. Games such as Cave Story, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Undertale, and the most recent that comes to mind being Stardew Valley. While none of these may be your cup of tea, you have to admit that they’re all impressive feats. Even if you’ve never worked on a game, you have to understand that it takes a lot of work. Let’s go into some basics about that.

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First is the concept of the game. You’ll kick around ideas and hope to find something that seems interesting. Ideally you’ll test this in a more rudimentary phsyical form to see if this is any good, depending on what type of game it is. If it’s not something you can do this with, a very, very rough prototype will be made to get ideas across (see: Jonathan Blow talking about Braid in Indie Game: The Movie). Assuming this meets the mark, the actual art assets will need to go through a concept stage to find what you want characters and environments to look like. There’s a lot of evolution and changes that take place here.

After character features and environments have been given the go ahead, they’ll be fleshed out in the game world. Whether this is with pixels or 3D models depends on the game. From here, the characters will either need to be rigged (given a skeleton) or rendered in all the different frames needed for the animation. After all, posing is the process, and animation is the result.

Once you’ve got that, you’ll have to make the game itself, which involves a lot of programming (depending on the software you’re using and what you want to do). While children are learning to code in elementary schools now, this is not an easy task for someone that’s never done it. Trust me, it takes the proper mind to speak another language – learning to speak with a computer is almost just as difficult. While you can get away with speaking or writing incorrectly with a human being (I put up with it for a living), a computer is precise and doesn’t interpret things if you’re close. If you type something without an e, for example, or you use the wrong punctuation, everything is broken. And code goes for pages and pages, and while there are tools to help you find the problems, it’s still a lot of work. Because once you fix that issue, you’ll find another.

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So the game is complete. Assets are finished, the story and dialogue has been written, all the events have been placed in the game, music and sound effects were created, revisions have happened, and now there’s a game breaking bug found in quality assurance. Yes, this can delay a game for months, trying to figure out how to fix what’s happening. But guess what? You’ll never be able to find all the bugs with your small QA team, and you’ll read all about the issues of it once the game launches and the internet finds reasons to tear it apart. Mind you, this is beyond an oversimplification of the development process. And yet, the aforementioned games launched to high praise, and people are still making them.

Enter Animus: Before and Beyond (working title), being created by a single person as you may have guessed at this point. Do you remember the games of yore, with exploration, secrets that weren’t alluded to that you found by mistake, and overall silliness that was really awesome? If not, that’s okay, because this game has got you covered. Or it will, at some point. See, as stated previously, games take a lot of time. Unfortunately, as is the case for most people, the creator doesn’t have a lot of time to work on the game. He’s got all the equipment, but not the time. So like anyone does these days, he made a Patreon.

I’m not here to beg you to help the developer – far from it. I just want to say this is a game with a lot of potential, and if you like the humor in the video above, you’ll no doubt love the end product. Games are a labor of love when made by the right people, and this is clearly on the right path. If you’d be willing to help, you get access to all the Patreon exclusive updates, as well as beta testing. The only reason the Patreon exists is to help him not have to work a day job so he can sit at home all day busting his butt on this game. $500 is all he needs per month to not work? Well, that’s the first tier to take a couple days off per week. When you’re passionate about something, you’re willing to make sacrifices. If he reaches $1,500 a month, this bad boy will be kicked into full gear. Why not give it a gander and see if it’s something you’re interested in – I have a feeling you’ll dig it.

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