Note: I started my game a week early. This a retrospective look at my progress rather than an indication of current work. If I continue to work on my game, I'll make a follow up post with details of my "post-7dfps" changes, and builds will be clearly marked.
As I write this, I'm closing in on my 7th day. I'm writing a post during the 7dfps week to represent each day of Dance's development to give me a chance to look back at how (if at all
) my concept, intentions and workflow for Dance changed across its development. I may continue developing afterward, but for the sake of these posts, my target is the elusive 7th day build :D
Prior to 7dfps I had organised to collaborate with a couple of people on Dance. Unfortunately my plans to be available during the 7dfps week went awry and I ended up having the preceding week off from my day job, and with that time available, I figured it would be best to push ahead with development. This meant that I'd be tackling the project solo, though I was still hoping that I'd be able to collaborate with Anton for music.
When describing what I had in mind for the project, I talked about wanting to make a game about pattern recognition and getting a player to understand and then control their progression through that pattern by strategically swapping their location. The setting would be a ballroom and the pattern would be a progressive dance. The objective would be to end up with a particular partner before the end of the dance. Though pattern recognition was definitely a key part of the experience I wanted to give players, I would come to present it in a slightly different light as the week progressed.
I had a fairly late start to my first day (this would, unfortunately, become a trend as the week progressed, with distractions and emergencies aplenty doing their best to slow down my progress
). Since I'd scribbled out some character concepts the day before whilst traveling, I spent some time scanning whilst I gathered my thoughts.
I'd played Gravity Bone and 30 Flights of Loving earlier this year for the Double Fine Game Club. I was impressed by the amount of expressiveness Brendon Chung was able to give his character with very simple models and textures, and wanted to try to come up with potentially expressive, but simple character models. A "cake layer" dress seemed a pretty easy way to achieve this, and my initial scribbles "felt right". It was important to me to try to use the same dimensions and shapes for the suit wearing character, but none of my sketches clicked in the way the dress wearing character had. I decided to not focus on that too much and try to keep a sketchbook handy during the week to hopefully come up with something decent as inspiration struck.
Since I was in the mood (taking advantage of motivation during tight time frames seems to work to my advantage
), I knocked together the dress character model pretty quickly in Blender, putting an episode of Firefly on in the background "for reference" (Kaylee's big dress and the ballroom in Shindig were part of my inspiration for Dance's setting
To help give me a starting point for size, style and tone of the ballroom, I quickly modeled some rough geometry and painted over it in The Gimp. Even though I felt like I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, actually pushing it out helped me start to iron out the types of decorative and environmental components I wanted to have in the ballroom, such as box seating, arched doorways, drapery and columns.
When this was finished, I created a game profile for Dance on the 7DFPS website using that painting is the main image and headed to bed to get some rest.
Check here for downloads (when they become available) and other posts.