Tagged as ramble, games, forever-project

Written by Lily Carpenter on 2015-10-21 09:21:00



I have a game idea. More importantly for a young programmer, I have a project idea. What's more, I have a Forever Project idea.

This idea has been building in my head for quite awhile, but it is only the past few weeks that it has begun to coalesce into something I can work toward. I have decided to put down my rough thoughts on this project.

Since I have been old enough, I have played video games. Yes, I'm young enough that it wasn't since video games were mainstream but rather since I was old enough. They are my obsession and addiction, even more so than programming has ever been. I enjoy the control, the complexity, the predictable outcomes, the escape from reality. The biggest key for me though appears to be that second one: Complexity. I seem to thrive on it, though I have hit my limit occasionally(story for another day). One of my favorite games is Dwarf Fortress and it is indeed one of the most (not THE most) complex games that I currently know of existing. It has a strong influence on my own game idea. It is the work Tarn and Zach Adams and started the infancy of its development in 2002 and is not yet complete. The year of me writing this being 2015, you may understand why I have decided that my game idea, heavily influenced by Dwarf Fortress and its complexity, is a Forever Project.

Early Decisions

One of the things about Forever Projects is that to be a proper one you have to really be doing what you want to do, not what you think will work or what other people want you to do. To that end, I do have some most likely unpopular set-in-stone(at least for the beginning) decisions on this project.

You may notice all these(there are so many!) early decisions are technical, but I am a programmer after all. I tend to focus on the technical details first. Pretty much everything else is still very ephemeral and open to change. Another thing about these decisions is they make it rather hard to make a traditional business around the game. That's okay though, because if I ever even get to something worthy of calling a 1.0 it will be a grand accomplishment. Money is not everything, after all.

What's the game idea already?

Keeping in mind this is in such early stages that most people would not even be writing about it, I'll go into the game idea here. The basic idea is I want an Undead-focused Dwarf Fortress like game with a heavier focus on RPG elements. I say Dwarf Fortress like because it is probably the game that is the closest to what I want, but already the idea is diverging in rather key ways from Dwarf Fortress. I first considered making a Dwarf Fortress mod but quickly decided that would not suffice. I highly doubt i'm the first person to come up with an idea like this, but AFAIK such a game does not yet exist. If I post this and someone points to a game that does this, I will be kind of sad and have to come up with a new forever project while playing it.

Below is a bulleted list of random thoughts about this game, from a design standpoint. Many of them reference Dwarf Fortress for now, though I'll have more fleshed out versions that stand on their own before I publish an actual goal list to the game repository.

Technical Ideas

Here is where I'm most excited. In the spirit of a Forever Project, a primary goal of the project is to learn new things/try out ideas on a technical level. Here are a few of these more technical ideas.

Things I'd learn if I did everything in this forever project

Immediate path forward