This is part 2 of a series of blog posts about making 1 game a month during 2018. You can find part 1 here.
So January comes and I had decided I would try and make 1 game a month. Now I needed to decide what would be the first game.
For the first game, I had to do something simple enough that I could still finish in one month, using a platform I had never used before. One Game a Month has an optional topic, and the one for January was Rebirth, so I started thinking about how I could turn that into a game.
Caterpillars eat in huge amounts, then they go into their cocoon and are “reborn” as a butterfly. Why not make this into a game?
And that was just what I did.
The Caterpillar initial idea was a worm like game, where you controll a caterpillar, eating leaves until it becomes a butterfly, which then would lay some eggs, a new caterpillar would be born and you keep playing this loop until maybe you hit a wall or something. The idea was that there would be different types of leaves, and those would affect the colours and patterns on the butterfly’s wings. At this point I still had to come up with a proper gameplay idea, and scope the game, as it seemed too big to finish in a month, specially if I was going to be doing it in a platform I was completely unfamiliar with.
For about half of January I did nothing relatting to the game, other than trying to think of a way for it to work as a game, and how to slim it down to something I could release before January 31st.
About a week before the end of the month I started working on the game, and had a defined idea of what the game would be. I knew the gameplay was not revolutionary, but what I cared about regarding this game, was to achieve a playable game using Unity, and to make something in 3D, which I had never done before either.
The game ended up being a stripped down version of the initial idea, I got rid of the leaves affecting the wing colours, and had to settle for getting a free butterfly asset from Unity’s asset store. The gameplay was, the caterpiller goes around eating leaves, green leaves take you closer to becoming a butterfly, red leaves take you further away from it. You have a limited amount of time to become a butterfly, if you run out of time, the game is over. Once you eat enough leaves, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
I decided not to add any gameplay to when the character is a butterfly. It just flies around in an animation for a few seconds and then becomes a caterpillar again. When this happens, the player is given some more time on top of the remaining time from the previous round, and has to go for some leaves again.
The score is the number of “loops” that the caterpiller goes through (from catterpiler to butterfly and back).
I managed to make original music and sounds for the game, before the month ended.
Because I can’t make 3D models, I had to get a free assets for the butterfly, the rocks and the leaves. By looking at how the rocks and leaves were made, I also learned how shaders and normal maps work.
In the end, I had the game ready to release for Windows, Mac and Linux before January ended.
At this point I started thinking it was feasible to actually make 1 game a month for a year, and I decided that I should probably go for it.
You can get the game for free on itch.io
[To be continued…]