09 Dec 2015



Written by lonely woof

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The core concept of Egz is more than basic: to control a character going from point A to point B. But for that to happen I needed a lot of time to determine in which direction I was headed. Mostunexpectedly, it’s my lack of experience which was going to define “Egz”.

Flashback : 2012

Back then I was about to leave one of the agencies I was working for, which meant “less work”, “less pressure” and therefore, more “free time”. I needed to keep busy and so the idea of making a video game came naturally.

I have been a gamer since, pfew, that Christmas of 1990 when my mother bought my sister and I a Sega Master System II. I grew up with gaming consoles, computers (I even owned a Thomson MO5 at the time!), Internet, smarphones.

In short, I have been a gamer for a long while, and like any gamer I became … “picky”. I used to see mobile game as a young platform that needed to prove its worth. Especially since mobile blockbusters were differents from the games I was used to : they were more basic, with a faster pace, and easier. All those “Angry Birds”, “Tiny Wings”, “Ninja Fruits” were fun, but they weren’t the kind of game I could devote more than three hours to in total. I was used to head-shooting people on big franchise titles like “Battlefield” and “Far Cry”, to explore the underwater worlds of “Bioshock”, to hijack cars and mug prostitutes in “GTA”, and to go through “Splinter Cell : Chaos Theory” several times, or even to fill my gaps in historical knowledge with “Assassin’s Creed”. I was what people use to call “a hardcore gamer”.

This is probably the reason why my first concepts looked like this:
blog_quoteinYou control a guy, from a first-person perspective view, who can move, crouch down and interact with his surroundings in order to create diversions. The main goal is to infiltrate buildings, retrieve top secret documents and then exfiltrate. All of this while avoiding being caught by guards, which would lead to failure.blog_quoteout
So there, this was my very first concept. The kind of game I would play without hesitating. The kind of game I had actually already played, since back in 2012 Thief was 14 years old. And after all, if this game was conceived several years ago, it meant it was now easily doable, right ? But I reconsidered. Firstly, it wasn’t an original idea. And secondly, it would mean I would have to work on stuff I couldn’t handle : building an IA, dealing with lights in order to hide in darkness, making a good FPS view (which is not that easy if you’re used to play to this kind of game), or simply making real-time 3D.

So I tried something else, maybe a little bit more original:
blog_quoteinYou’re leading an army of tiny creatures. With the help of the mouse and keyboard, you can move them one after the other and order them to attack the enemy army with rocket launchers, grenades and other funky stuff.blog_quoteout
Seems like redoing “Thief” wasn’t enough, I had to do “Worms” (NB: with the exception of “Duke Nukem 3D” and “Battlefield 1942”, I had never spent so much time playing a demo disc). So, for the same reasons as before, I buried the idea.

I decided that there wouldn’t be any AI. There would be only a main character and his universe. Because this involves less work.

Eventually, the idea of releasing a mobile game came to my mind because I still nurtured this unsupported belief that developping a game for a smartphone is much easier. If you’ve ever developped for tactile devices, you’ve probably giggled just like I did while writing this. Automatically, I went from a mouse / keyboard combos to… a gentle stroke on a screen.

Just like probably 80% of “indies” who are starting, I was about to make a basic platformer game. Anything else would be too difficult for me. Despite of that, I still wanted it to be original. From a graphical point of view, and a gameplay point of view. So, I made a list :

  • An easily identifiable game.
  • An unique universe.
  • An extremly intuitive game.
  • A classic gameplay, revisited.
The core-concept of “Egz” (its name wasn’t defined yet) saw the daylight : it would be the unexpected mix of a platformer and a… mini-golf game. A colorfull and cute game, where you’d control a character with a one gesture (no virtual joystick!), that you have to lead to his “hole”.

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Later, subtile details would be added : each collision would cost health points, differents obstacles would appear in differents levels, each death would be… permanent (almost). On this basis, I would write the first draft of the gamedesign document (78 pages with a lot of images and white space…).

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The main goal was to make a “target render”, a video that would show all those ideas and could give an idea of what the game should be. But before all of that, I had to start crafting the universe of Egz.
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