Overwhelming Inspiration

Recently, some friends sent this video my way:

Not only do I love game development “behind the scenes” videos (especially when the creator is obviously passionate about what he’s made), but I love Dead Space, so this video was right up my alley. It went into surprising detail about the technical aspects of the scene in question, and even just the design philosophy behind Dead Space as a generality. Watching things like this always gets me pumped up and excited to work on my own game.

The main problem, at the moment, is that I’m still a long ways from being able to work on the “creative” parts. Right now I’m still working my way though the combat system. On one hand, I don’t want to sink too much time and effort into this aspect of the game, since I’m not planning on combat sequences being that frequent (off the top of my head, I’d say about a dozen over the course of the entire game, maybe even fewer). But on the other hand, I want to make sure I avoid the combats feeling like “throwaways” – they need to feel just as unique as the rest of the game.

I’m having a hard time coming up with things to make combat seem special, like more than just a standard JRPG-clone’s battle. The mechanics will be loosely based on AntiPaladin’s Mini Six tabletop roleplaying system, and I’ll be adding in a few “special abilities” that can hopefully add a little flavor. Outside of that, the only thing I can really think of to spice up combat is to add dialogue to try and bring it back into the plot. If I go that route, I need to make sure the dialogue doesn’t get too repetitive, and is interesting enough that people won’t just “click to make it go away” and focus on finishing the battle instead.

Even implementing that, though, is still “mechanical” in nature, rather than creative. I’ve come to recognize these motivation slumps throughout my process, but I don’t really have any surefire way of getting through them. Mostly I just have to rely on knowing that once I get this stuff taken care of, I’ll be able to work on parts of the game that will actually be more fun.