Pandora: devlog #1

Welcome to the first blog in a (hopefully) long series of posts about my progress in developing “Pandora“, an action adventure game. In this post I will mainly talk about my vision for the project: how the game should look like, what features I want to include and what won’t definitely make it into the final product.

Defining a reasonable size and scope is important for every project. Obviously I want my game to be good. But there is a very limited amount of time and money I can spend on it so I have to be realistic- there is no way I can make a complex action RPG into which you can sink hundreds of hours. On the other hand I don’t want to make a game that you easily complete in 30 minutes and forget by the next day.

Ideally the game should take about 4-6 hours to finish for the average gamer. I think that is a reasonable length for an indie game and something I think is realistic. It basically boils down to making 20-30 minutes of playable content every month. I assume I will be able to work on this project for about an hour a day on average, so that equals to 30 hours a month. Should be enough to create 30 minutes of actual content, but we will see.

Now lets look at main features. The final game should have these things:

  • A solid story with a likeable main character
  • Character progression
    • both story-wise and gameplay wise (new skills)
  • Unique setting
  • Easy to play, hard to master
  • Fun to play!
  • Achievements

Then there are a couple of things that definitely won’t be included:

  • No multiplayer. Difficult development and testing. Does not really fit my vision for the game.
  • No VR support. Requires expensive hardware, does not fit the game genre.
  • No voiceovers. Can’t do them myself, expensive to buy.
  • No support for non-PC platforms. I want to focus purely on PC – no mobile or consoles.

There are other things not mentioned here but this is still way too early to consider many of those. Finally the last thing to mention is economics.

I said in the previous post that I’m not doing this for money and thats true, but I still would like to at least break even. This means that I will have to sell enough copies of the game to make about 600 euro. Since Steam takes 30% cut and I will have to pay taxes the final amount I need to earn is almost twice as much: 1000 Euro. Ugh.

What is the fair price for a game that offers 4-6 hours of content? That depends on a lot of factors but looking at other games on Steam I think something around 5 euro is fine. That means selling at least 200 copies of the game! Quite a bit, but it is what it is.

The next devlog will show the very first prototype of the game. I plan to post it in a week or two. I have started blackboxing (“prototyping using placeholder assets”) to figure out the basic mechanics, camera and controls. So far I’m pretty satisfied with the direction it’s taking, so stay tuned!

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