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 jumping into the software, let's have a quick overview of what needs to be done first.

A game is a complex project, and is really 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 do 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 art, so that the universe and personality of characters are well-defined. Another big part is writing dialogues. If your story needs it, you may have to gather documentation on its theme.

Game mechanics

In the point-and-click case, the main mechanics are already 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 as in Monkey Island?
  • Is it an exploration and puzzle game without any inventory, like in the Myst and Riven series?
  • Can the player lose and must restart at the beginning if they make a mistake, or will they simply be stuck in a scene?
  • Is the story linear, or can the player reach several endings depending their actions?

In our mini-game, our panda character 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 loses and has 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 eventually delete it because it doesn't fit in the whole game. The storyboard phase helps avoiding such waste 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 splitting 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 to pictures for creating 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 have a musician in charge of this part in the project.

For our mini-game, we'll use 3 kinds of audio resources:

  • Background music: it can be more or less long. We will take Chinese-style simple music that lasts enough, but we’ll still make it loop. We could have several pieces of background music which could depend on the scene, but let’s keep it simple. It will be in Ogg Vorbis format.
  • Event feedback sounds: the most important action will be to pick up the bamboo stick and give it. It could be a good idea to have sounds at least for that. But others could be interesting for example when things appears. In fact, any change in the scene could have a sound. They will be WAV files.
  • Speech: there could be plenty of files saved in SPX format in an audio directory, possibly one directory for each language available.

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