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Creating Point and Click Games with Escoria

Our project planning

So you plan to make a point-and-click game with Godot and Escoria, but before to jump into the software, let's have a quick overview of what needs to be done before. 

A game is a complex project, and really is time consuming. Work in team as much as possible, even if you want to make a small indie game, so you can delegate tasks needing specific skills to each members of the team: artwork, coding, and game design. As we already have explained, Escoria eases the coding part a lot, so here we will focus on the artwork and game design.

As you guessed, working in team requires some project planning, and even if you plan to do everything on your own, it's a good idea to spend time doing a correct preparation. You will gain time in the long run (and prepare yourself for a long run!), a good preparation will also help a lot to create a good game.

It's outside the scope of this manual to speak in detail about game conception, but here are the typical steps you should consider:

A script

A Point & Click Game heavily relies on a good story, so you need a script. For our mini-game, here it is, reduced to a small pitch:

"Once upon a time a panda tribe lived peacefully in the valley.
But one day, men choose to build a threatening factory there.
The tribe gathered around the Venerable panda who revealed the way to protect the valley.
They have to bring back the three blue bamboo sticks to summon the Great Panda's spirit."

A script can be completed with characters descriptions and concept arts, so that the universe and personallity of characters are well defined. Another big part is to write dialogues. If your story needs it, you may have to document yourself on its theme.

A game mechanic

In the point-and-click case, the main mechanics already are defined (click in the scene, collect and combine objects to make the story progress), but you should consider what mechanics are specific to your game:

  • Will you collect objects like in Monkey Island?
  • Is it an exploration and enigma game without any inventory, like in the Myst and Riven series?
  • Can the player lose and must restart at the begining if they made a mistake, or will they simply be stuck in a scene?
  • Is the story linear, or can the player reach several ends depending their actions?

In our mini-game, our character, the panda, will simply collect bamboos to offer them to the Great Panda’s spirit. The story is linear, but if the Great Panda’s Spirit is angry, the player lose and hase to restart.

A storyboard

For artists, as well as for game designers, it's a good idea to prepare a storyboard, a sketched version of the final artworks so you can have a first overview of the finished game and you can correct it early on. It's always sad to spend hours or days on a scene and finally delete it because it doesn't fit in the whole game. The storyboard phase helps avoiding such wastes of time.

Here is the quick storyboard we made to prepare the introduction scene of our mini-game, the one you will re-create in the next section "First Quick Game with Escoria".

Escoria prepare your work

In this introduction scene, the main character is not shown (you see the scene at first person, so you don't have to create the main character for your first game).

To progress in the story, the player will have to:

  1. talk to the Venerable panda (M for Master on the photo) who asks the player to collect a bamboo
  2. collect a bad (1) or a good (2) bamboo
  3. talk again to the Venerable panda which summons the Great Panda's spirit (G for God in the photo)
  4. give the bamboo to the the Great Panda's spirit, who will be happy with the good bamboo and the player wins, or angry with the bad bamboo and the player loses.

This really quick storyboard allowed us to start spliting our scene in small logical parts (future items):

  1. the Venerable panda (M)
  2. the Great Panda's spirit (G)
  3. One good bamboo and one bad bamboo (1 & 2)
  4. An inventory (I)
  5. A background

We refined this first list into smaller parts later, but the storyboard gave us a good starting point. For a longer game, you will need at least one storyboard thumbnail per scene, and probably several per scene, with detailed informations on what is happening.

Sounds and Music

The audio part of movies and games are often underestimated, but sounds are equally important than pictures to create a mood and an immersive feeling for your game. So it's a good idea to plan them from start, start searching for effects, or to have a musician in charge of this part in the project.

For our mini-game, will use 3 kinds of audio ressources :

  • background music : it can be more or less long. We will take chinese style simple music that last enough, but we’ll still make it loop. We could have several background music which could depends on the scene, but let’s keep it simple. It will be in ogg.
  • event feedback sounds : most important action will be to pick_up the bamboo stick and to give it. It could be a good idea to have sounds at least for that. But others could be intersting for example when things appears. In fact, any changes in the scene could have a sound. They will be wave files.
  • speech : there could be plenty of files saved in spx format in an audio directory eventually one directory for each available language.

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