Gongbat (Devlog 007) – Bond, James Bond
Following the ever-lasting development of Gongbat and his perilous journey, enters yet another update post. In this edition, I will continue to plot major goals in the future design, storytelling, engine, and release of the long awaited game.
Release Date? What’s That?
Being a die-hard perfectionist, I will seemingly never be perfectly content with the work I put out. Finding flaws in my projects (released or not) has become a bit of a hobby as of late. Whether it be a gritty, gruesome task such as engine overhauls (which I will extrapolate upon below), weak plot lines for a game that really just likes to focus on fun and explosive game-play, or a displeasure with low-resolution artwork made three years back, I am always left wanting more out of what I make. Taking an already massive solo project (tiny in the scope of commercial titles, but still!) such as Gongbat, and dreaming up what cinematic level experience it could shape up to be has been the driving force behind sucking my time up like a 90s Dirt Devil.
Others might not get the whole reality of a perfectionist curse. Falling deep into madness with one’s almost four-year-long project- cooking in the mind’s oven to say the least- it’s vital to know when to call it quits, and I guess that I never can. Here’s hoping that Gongbat can manage to whisk by a bit quicker than other titles lost in limbo dev-time such as Owlboy (*which did manage completion and is a stellar example of what the turning clocks can reap after growth).
Classic Heroic Stereotypes, Even Howard the Duck’s Got ‘Em
The storyline to appear in Gongbat’s new and improved official release has finally taken complete form. Not every sequence/level has been planned out extensively, yet the major events, characters, motives, and exchanges have all been finalized. And I’m not going to gloat, but it’s definitely high (if not the gold) on the long list of stories I’ve written. With the help of books “Save the Cat,” by Blake Snyder, and “Dialogue,” by Robert McKee (both of which I cannot recommend enough to any writer), I have been seriously reconsidering almost everything I knew about how stories and film character exchanges are handled, acted, etc. Creative expression may always be king in my eyes and those of many artisans alike, alas there is and will always be a tried-true formulaic approach, that works almost every time.
Before I talk anyone’s ear off, Gongbat fits a particular “golden fleece” adventure-fantasy tale genre. It will feature lots of comedic and science fiction elements, as well as underlying plots that eventually intertwine into one. The A story grasps pretty much everything that occurs in the original: it is the main conflict between protagonist and antagonist (Gongbat and Hark, respectively). The B story follows what Blake Snyder categorizes as a “buddy love” plot line. This follows the rivalry between two of the main protagonist characters, which hits bumps early on yet contrasts that of the climatic A story very well. As conflict in the A story rises, the rivals Knix and Gongbat find ways to put aside their differences, and vice versa.
Co-existing with these major plots are also two extraneous break-away narratives. The C story will encompass an internal conflict and the motivations behind what has set everything in motion, peppering foreshadowing and flashback tropes into the dish. This lot is no R rated thriller, but in the vain of Disney’s “Zootopia”-style mystery/suspense. And finally the additional D story will lay groundwork for the less dynamic characters, and savor those of you looking for some kind of exterior moral lesson outside of Gongbat’s undeniable character flaws and solutions. It’s all very juicy narrative goodness.
They Call Me Leorge Gucas (Screenplay News)
A halt on flowering the screenplay has been made to gift myself some time of research. I have been reading lots of different sources in fine tuning my writing skills, and using plot devices such as the “Story Board,” which lets me lay out every scene happening in the cinematic overview of the story line. I can move cards around and keep or trash them at will until I retain the finest story possible for my little indie gem. More information is around the bend, spoiler-y and not!
Enjoy another quick sample of Gongbat’s screenplay (v0.08):
They continue flying for a bit and stop above nearby
Zephor’s food truck, he being an entrepreneurial spirit who
cooks vegan mystic treats. Dressed in a chef hat, his
species is a rare blue Wazoon. There is a scented aura of
steamy mossballs and coconut dipped calcium, a trademark of
only Zephor. He is found happily serving customers at his
window- his truck an abandoned, beat-up vehicle wisked away
from nearby Sil Scrap.
Oh man, those roasted mossballs
smell so good. Give me a minute!
Comet hops down from Gongbat’s feet and enters the line.
Is that you, Gongo?
CHARACTER: Gongbat; EMOTION CUE: Surprised (!)
Gongbat spins around to greet Iker, a thin Aderus Bat
dressed in a jacket and glasses. He is a brilliant mystic
who is head of technology and research in the Den.
Well then, you’re a sight for poor
Likewise! It’s been ages.
What brings you?
Well, long story short-
Inventing the Inverted Flying Wheel
Anyone interested in the tech-side of things, Gongbat will be undergoing a massive engine change. Since moving over to the much faster, workflow-oriented GameMaker: Studio 2 IDE, the decision to re-haul most of the code has been made. No talking me out of this one. Nail is already in the coffin. Say goodbye to any nearby release date anyone has been crossing their fingers for (this might hint at a certain Kousati expansion receding into nether-regions, as well). Just keep in mind that the finished product I am looking to achieve should knock your socks off, so make sure you come prepared.
Fear not, there are plans to attempt a crowdfunding campaign (in order to set aside enough yen in order for console launches, marketing, and all the like), and that means lots of early access demo versions and insider digest on the current status of the game. Video updates, live streams, tutorials, and booth events (yes, live Gongbat demos!) should all become more active if things run successfully. The goal is to be able to work on these dream projects of mine full-time, and it may soon be possible thanks to my fans. There should be more news on this in a later devlog.
As far as actual programming goes, the new engine will feature completely neoteric systems and components, while retaining a lot of what has been seen before in a fresh style and resolution. The code found in past versions of the game (especially the current playable build found on GameJolt at the moment) is so horrifically entangled yet also strung all over the place, it almost needed to be done to make sure future performance issues/headaches would not even be a concern.
Being a completely self-taught game developer, all of my weird senseless coding methodologies have plagued project after project. It’s hard to believe they even run half of the time. Finished with this novice code-style, I have finally started following various programming ideologies and organizational methods. The main change would be following object-oriented design- SOLID– to a T, recommended by a friend at the local CCGD (Coal Creek Game Developers). This means that every script in the game will be so clean and well-commented, that even your grandma could read and hack it.
More exciting news will be on its way shortly. There has actually been so much in the works, in fact, that it couldn’t bear being squeezed into one single post. Keep on the lookout for another update- next time will be looking into future plans for launch! As always, muchas gracias for reading my long, anecdotal devlogs. Even if I just imagine somebody is there, it’s keeping me much more accountable, like a “Get Sh*t Done” button pinned to my forehead. Sayonara!
Your friendly neighborhood game developer,
1.) Howard the Duck / IMDb, Universal Pictures, Lucasfilm, 1986, www.imdb.com/title/tt0091225/?ref_=nv_sr_1