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Posts relating to Plans:

5 years ago

What I've Been Up To Lately

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: PersonalPlansRanting The Site
Hello, Fig Hunter. As I've said many times already, I've been mostly avoiding this site recently, and I've talked about why that is quite often, too.

I've still been working hard at games development, though it's a pain that I haven't actually finished anything in far too long; instead I've got a load of in progress things that I thought would work but then later wondered whether they were worthwhile enough to spend the time and energy on. Essentially I've been experimenting around with different things hoping to come across some kind of 'ideal project', and postponing things that didn't fit the bill.

I suppose what I want most of all is a game to build a new community around... One which would be to me what Fig Hunter couldn't be.
However, I'm very, very scared that it'll be impossible because there'll be no escaping what's already been established.

I made Fig Hunter years ago, when I had a different kind of mind and different priorities... I tried to set it up to encourage certain behaviours, but was naive in the ways I went about trying to achieve that...
I mean, I'd always got frustrated by other forums where brevity and apathy defined the atmosphere and culture; I hated it because I wanted people to bond on a more personal level, to share their souls rather than simply writing one-line quips to show how abrasively witty they could be, and how little they cared. I wanted to gather people who thought, who *cared*, and who'd talk at length instead so then I'd find a place where my own willingness to share things about myself in detail would belong.

I tried to achieve this by practically enforcing 'intelligent discussions', though... By adding loads of rules and *rating systems* and character minimum limit things, all to really strictly enforce this kind of discourse...
What I didn't realise back then is that people have different personality types to me, and something that means one thing to me may mean something very different to others. What to me is encouraging subjective soul-baring and emotional bonding, to others seems like encouragement of formal, objective debate, and showing off how much of a genius you are and so on.

So what I think I ended up with was an elitist, snobbish sort of atmosphere; a culture that was built around this notion of 'formal debate', as that seemed to be seen as the most logical way to interpret the rules by many people... or something. Those that didn't want this kind of thing (perhaps including the kind of person I'd most want to get to know) were repelled by it; even my own girlfriend couldn't stand to post on the site because she found the environment too hostile and unforgiving. And that was years ago. (I also seemed to rant at her basically every day about something on Fig Hunter that was making me frustrated...)

I'm sensitive and conflict is toxic to me, so having everything I ever said questioned, argued against, or assessed really did get me down a lot. I found myself getting constant stress headaches; I couldn't go in the chatroom without some damned person or another criticising everything I said, poking holes in my expressions of feelings, asking me to rationalise them or things like that. Trying to knock me off the high horse that I never felt I was on.
I suppose the straw that broke the camel's back was the harsh response to the new sunlit look of the site, which I worked on in the first place because I was finding the site less and less tolerable. Since then, the very idea of becoming active here again has been making me physically sick. THANKS, FIG HUNTER.

Overall, it seemed like I'd made a haven for INTJs, rather than for INFJs as I'd originally set out to do (not that I knew what either of those things were at the time). I understand that many people did find their place here, and appreciate the site for all that they've found through it... and as such, I do intend to keep it going.
I've even fixed a bug with the bubbles layout that allows you to view it again, for those of you who prefer that layout to this one.

However... This isn't the sort of place that I belong at all, and I don't think I'll ever be satisfied trying to force myself to adapt to it, or trying to 'fix' it (which is impossible without kicking out the current members)...
So a lot of my time and mental energy recently has been trying to come up with various new communities that I could make instead, setting them up with a foundation based on everything that I've learned over the past few years.

My ideal community would be one built on friendliness and feelings, not on logic and debate. One where expressing yourself is encouraged, but in a soul-baring rather than argument-destroying kind of way. A community which encourages the *support* of others, or showing interest in what others think; one where you can talk about what you love without other people telling you what's wrong with it or why they don't like it or questioning or starting an argument or any of that stuff that drives me up the wall.

Perhaps I'll never be able to make a community like this... Maybe it's impossible, if I'm going to keep making the kinds of games that I make. Maybe they'll never attract anything other than 'young thinky males', and the testosterone-and-rationality-filled atmosphere that they bring. Or something.

But I am at least trying... And I've actually built such a thing! Sort of. Though it's not open to the public yet.
However, it will be based around games at least in part. Two games in particular, both of which would update regularly rather than being standalone sorts of things. One is the Programon/Miasmon game that I've been talking about recently; I hope that a community that encourages creativity and contribution will turn out to have at least some of the friendly and supportive aspects that I really want to see.
Another is a sort of FHO-like thing where you make your own short 'quests' in a fantasy world, for others to play... This, I fear, will attract the same crowd as this site has... and I do dread that a lot.

I realise it can't be pleasant for the mild-mannered readers to hear me speak about this community - technically including them - in this way... and I am sorry that I do; it's not fair, and it's not likely to be your fault that I feel this way about the place. The people who are responsible largely know it either because I've *directly told them so* on one or more occasions, or we just generally haven't got along when I've had the, uh, pleasure of interacting with them, due to different values and personality types and so on. It's difficult to really get along with someone who assigns great value to something you dislike, while dismissing the thing that you hold as most important. And so on. (Like me having a discussion with someone who feels that subjective feelings are for weak, immature people and that no discussion is worth having without there being an argument or debate involved; 'why talk about something if you're not going to be discussing it to unravel some objective truth or solution?', they seem to think, which doesn't play well with my getting-things-off-my-chest emotional venting...)
It's only really been a few people who've made this place so toxic for me... but it also seems that these people have a habit of sticking around regardless of how their presence makes the owner of the site they're using feel.

I really am dreading that these individuals will pour over to my new site as soon as it's made... especially since one of the things that people I don't get along with tend to have in common is a complete disregard for whether or not they'll be welcome; what they want is apparently more important than what I'd want. I wish I could simply ask them not to, but I'm doubtful that it'd achieve anything other than yet more toxic conflict...

So hmm. That's what I've been working on recently. Making new games for a new community that can finally give me something positive in my life, and a place where I'm comfortable and where I feel I belong rather than one where I'm constantly frustrated, while constantly fearing that it'll all be a complete waste when the very people that drove me away from this site come and INFEST my new home too... It's not an easy situation to be in for one who hates conflict and really, really wants to find (or make) a place to go to avoid it.

I've been wondering whether if I keep Fig Hunter alive, the people who drove me away from here will stay here rather than moving to the new site when it's opened... But I bet it's more likely that they'll just be active on both and I'll have nowhere to go. Sigh.

Now, I wonder if the comments on this thing will demonstrate exactly the kind of thing I'm trying to get away from...
5 years ago

Update: Beast Signer?

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
I've not updated here in a while, I know. I've been very out of touch with Fig Hunter for a while now, and I've felt better as a result of it. I know that this site is very useful to a lot of people, but, well, I've said enough times before why ∞ I don't like it ∞, so there's no need to go over it again. I've been turning my attentions elsewhere, trying to find somewhere where I belong, and I've been doing that rather than working on games, I'm sorry to say.

I have several games 'in progress' at the moment... Miasmon, Timid Cervid, Chamaeleon, Clarence RPG, and probably more that I can't think of right now. I WANT to finish them all! I'd also like to get to MARDEK 4 eventually. But I know that each one has a long road before I can get to the point where it's Finished, and then I'll have to worry about *marketing* it, and ugh, it's all very off-putting. Especially since I plan to go to university in September, so I feel like I need to get SOMETHING done before then.

I've decided that I'll return to several old ideas that I've had the *concept* for for a while, but I've always avoided actually starting serious work on them because I felt I should finish something else first.
The ideas were for things like Fig Hunter Online, or Beast Signer (Online), or other similar things that I've talked about using different names.

The general idea behind them is that they'd be games that start with very little content, but update regularly - maybe once a week - rather than having to wait until they're fully Finished before you can play them. Your saved data would be tied to your account on the website, so you'd be able to play them from anywhere. It's a similar concept that many games like that AdventureQuest thing seem to use. I've understood the technology behind it for years, but always worried that my skills were never good enough to pull it off.

The game that I want to make using this idea would be Beast Signer... sort of. It might get a different name; I may reuse the 'Programon' name for that recent thing that I talked about.
So it'd be a monster-catching game.

Interestingly, though, it'd also be a side-scrolling platformer! Or the field bits would be, anyway. When travelling around from Town A to Town B, rather than just holding down an arrow key and wandering along a top-down route avoiding long grass, you'd have to run and jump around on blocks and stuff. Monsters and trainers would walk around like platformer enemies do, and touching them would take you to a battle scene like in a typical RPG. The wandering monsters wouldn't be randomised, and they'd have set species, so rather than just hoping for the Random Number God to favour you with a rare monster when wandering around in long grass, you'd find the rare ones by perhaps finding hidden passages, or simply exploring at length, or things like that. It seems much more rewarding that way to me.
I like this idea, because as much as I adore the top-down view, whenever I find myself wanting to have quick, simple fun with a game, I find myself playing a platformer, simply because there's a joy from the movement itself that I can't get from top-down wandering.
I imagine that the side-scrolling bits would be fairly generic; I'm not exactly going for innovation. It certainly wouldn't be challenging either; there might not be any way to die in the platformer bits. Or maybe there would be. I'm not sure.
It'd be more about the fun of free movement than about precision jumping, though. There wouldn't necessarily be *obstacles* or anything, just like walking between two towns in Pokemon doesn't involve puzzle-solving or tricky manoeuvres or anything.

The battling itself would probably be 2 vs 2, like Pokemon double battles. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps. I've worked out many details, but they're tedious technical things that people might actually be interested in, but which I'm not really interested in writing about. o_O
I might use the silly Programon elemental types I came up with recently though; these things: ∞ Fig Hunter ∞

I THINK that I might make it so that monsters go through various stages of evolution... The stages would be the same as the Miasmon ones; Essent, Transient, Prime and Paragon.
Similar to the other Beast Signer (and Digimon things, which is where this came from), each monster might have its own 'growth tree', where it could evolve into divergent forms based on certain criteria (power form, magic form, etc). Each family would be different; there'd be no set Template that they'd all follow, and they wouldn't be based on elements or anything either. Some monsters might have entirely linear trees, some may never reach Paragon stage, some essents might be able to become half a dozen different prime forms, depending on how you treated them. It'd depend on the monster!
Some monsters might even share forms with entirely different families, like Embark (fiery dog Essent from Miasmon) having 'Wolflare' (fiery wolf) as its main prime form, but Gruul (Essent) might have Wolflare amongst its prime forms too (though it'd probably take special circumstances to get there, and you'd usually get Gruul's 'normal' grey werewolf-like prime form instead). That's all very much a maybe, but I liked how that kind of thing was possible with Digimon (in certain games, anyway).

The way you'd acquire new monsters would use ideas from Miasmon and Alora Fane.
Rather than catching wild ones, you'd have to clone level 1 Essents and start from scratch with each one. To be able to clone a monster, you'd need its 'card'. You could buy these cards from a shop (this would allow me to use microtransactions for them in future), OR you could get one by defeating every instance of a certain monster species in the World (which I'll describe in a minute) that you find it in. You might be able to find these cards in treasure chests or get them as rewards and stuff like that, too.
Interestingly - perhaps annoyingly - you'd also need the right card before any monster could evolve.
Evolution wouldn't happen automatically. Instead, once the monster reached the right level, it'd, I don't know, start glowing or something, and there'd be a message on its status screen saying it was ready for evolution. From the menu, you could select some EVOLVE option, which would take you to the monster's growth tree, showing the potential forms it met the criteria to evolve into. You could choose one! Or you could train it more to unlock other forms before evolving (maybe it couldn't get any experience at this point, though?). You'd need the card for the evolution though; common forms' cards would be easy to find or cheap to buy, so it wouldn't be too much of an issue, but this would solve the problem of people training things that had no evolved forms added to the game yet, and getting frustrated when they didn't evolve, or something. Adding new monsters would work a lot easier with this cards system.

Oh, and the setting would probably be similar to Beast Signer Alpha's, in that it'd involve going into a virtual world and battling with monsters that are essentially bugs in the code, but there probably wouldn't be a single plot with characters and stuff. You'd probably start the game at the Hub; there'd be no remnant colony bit.
You'd make a custom character, choosing between the two sexes, and one of five races: pale, tanned and black humans, wolf-headed anthros, and reptilian anthros. (Mainly they'd share one of two bodies, but their heads and skin colour would differ between the races.)
You'd be able to equip clothing (probably a top, pants, and a hat), which would affect your appearance in battle and in the field (of course).

Gameplay would involve travelling to various different self-contained WORLDS.
Each World would have its own areas, monsters, and story; they wouldn't be connected to other worlds or anything, and you could only get to worlds from the Hub. This would easily allow me to add new Worlds each week, without worrying about some overarching Plot thing, or adding things that could break other things.
They'd be sort of like the episodes of a TV series in that their plots would be set up and resolved within a short amount of time. They'd be short stories, more like single side quest kinds of things rather than GRAND EPICS that span many hours and involve saving the world.

The main things that delay the progress of my games are the need to *design* things, like details of the plot, or monsters, or things like that. So I have some potentially appealing ideas that could both help me with that, and which could involve players a whole lot more!

One of them is something I've talked about several times over the years, in regards to Beast Signer, Miasmon, and other things: a Design A Beast contest!
I'd have one each week, where artists could submit drawings of their original monster designs, and other players could vote on what they thought was the best one. The winner each week would be added to the game (I'd make the graphics for it using their concept drawing as a base for the design), and the in-game Bestiary would credit them for its creation.
It'd save me the pain of designing everything myself (though I would design SOME monsters), and would make it so that players could make a real impact on the project!

I know that not everyone is an artist, though, so it could be frustrating for people who want to contribute but can't draw.
So I have another idea!
Since the Worlds would be self-contained and would have their own short plots, that'd mean a lot of plots. I doubt I'd be able to come up with a new, interesting one on a weekly basis, so I could run Write An Episode contests!
These would allow people to write a short story which could then be made into a World. They'd not be able to build the areas themselves or anything, but they could describe them, and the characters that would be involved, and things like that, and I'd use their short story or script to build the World myself. I'd probably make adaptations here and there, and wouldn't be using scripts written by 13-year-olds verbatim or anything like that (so you can stop worrying about the game being really terrible!1), but I'd use their idea as a base (unless the writing was really good, anyway). And since there'd be voting and everything, I'd be using the most popular ideas, which would hopefully appeal to a lot of people.
To get an idea of the expected length of a story, think of things like an episode of a long-running series like Star Trek or Stargate SG-1 or Doctor Who or things like that. Long enough for stuff to happen, but NOT something like a full-length RPG such as Final Fantasy.

I may or may not make some 'official NPCs' who could be optionally implemented into players' stories so they didn't have to work with nothing. And of course I'd write some Worlds myself!

This whole game idea appeals to me because I could probably get it up and running in a month or two. It'd generate money through advertising, and eventually I could add microtransactions too (the game is designed in such a way that you could buy things like outfits or new, rare monster cards using real money if I ever decided to add that).
I don't have to wait to Finish a game, nor do I have to deal with sponsors or anything.

It's a plan I've had many times before, but now, I think, is the time to finally start it. It seems the most sensible route at this point for various reasons I could talk about at great length but won't.

I'll probably make a separate site for it, rather than just making it a part of Fig Hunter. But I've not decided yet. We'll see.

Sigh! If I'd gone this way with Miasmon, I bet I would have had it out within a month! The reason it took so long was the designing of monsters, and rewriting the plot over and over again. Without those two problems, a game like this would hopefully be swift indeed!
5 years ago

Thoughts about Miasmon, etc

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Miasmon Plans
First of all: I'm currently working on Timid Cervid, and everything I'm going to say here is just thinking, wondering, pondering and so forth, rather than any intention to change my current project.

With that said, I've been thinking more about Miasmon over these last few weeks, especially since I've been playing Pokemon Black 2 on and off. I was hoping that game would inspire me to finish Miasmon, but unfortunately it didn't.

I've been planning to do three chapters of Miasmon, telling one story between them, but I'm so unexcited about the characters and setting that that thought seems so mind-numbing. I'm not saying I'm giving it up or anything (I DO want to finish it), but I wonder whether I could use the game mechanics I've built for something else.

I started thinking about making a game that I'd release bit by bit to this site, as I make it, rather than waiting to release it all at once. I've been wanting to do this for aaaages, but I've never known exactly what game to do that with. A monster-catching one would work well, because I could add a new monster each week or something like that.
But hmm, no, Miasmon didn't seem right for that, I thought, BUT I could use some of its code to redo Beast Signer, which would have mechanics (which I came up with a while ago) designed around this whole updates-whenever sort of plan... That might work better.

But that's a whole new project and not something I'm passionate about; it seems interesting, but not enough to spend ages on it.

Another silly thought came to mind, though... The idea of doing a purely comical monster catching game, with really *silly* monsters and elements and 'gym leader' people and stuff like that, and an absurd plot and setting and stuff.
Perhaps that'd be more *entertaining* to make... and might be more appealing to play too, maybe, perhaps. I'm not sure.

I imagined having silly monster types like... instead of 'Fire' or 'Water' or 'Flying' or whatever, they might be 'Chocolate' or 'Appliance' (egg whisks, toasters, etc), or things like that; rather specific and, well, *silly*.
Just starting with a point like that opens up so many paths of opportunity! The silly designs that could arise from combining two already silly types (Fairy/Slime, Animal/Appliance, Corpse/Chocolate, Architecture/Erotic, or whatever), and the eccentric character designs that could train them... Silly moves come to mind too, and, well, it all just writes itself, really!

It's very much a *raw* and unrefined idea, but I'm writing about it here mainly because I haven't really got anywhere else to write about my games.

Anyway, again I say that I'm working on Timid Cervid right now, and that won't change! Not that I've actually done any work on that in the last week, since I finally got my new computer and have spent a lot of time trying to set things up, copy over files, etc; it took longer than it should have because I needed to buy some transfer cable and wait for it to arrive and so on and so forth.

It'd be lovely to finish *any* game soon... but I do like the idea of having a game that I could release in bits and pieces, so then people wouldn't have to wait ages. Normally I get to the point where the engine is a playable game within a couple of weeks, then I spend months and months working on story and content and it gets hard to keep going and... WELL. Anyway!

I'll get back to Timid Cervid, but while I'm working on it, I will also develop ideas for both a Beast Signer game and a silly monster catching game, to see which one I feel best about! Then maybe - in a few weeks or months - I'll consider starting work on it. Maybe.

Or maybe I'll completely forget all about it. MAYBE I'LL NEVER FINISH ANYTHING.