Making a Catholic Computer game

Hi All,

I had a few replies to a couple of posts I made in the Threads: Catholic Christian Video Game Ideas and Catholic Video Games, so I decided to start this thread on Making a Catholic Computer game - i.e. actually making one, as opposed to talking about how to make one.

To explain a bit more, I have a merged the two posts I made below:

I have always been interested in making a Catholic computer (video) game. However the various attempts to do this (or to make a Christian game in general) have often been quite boring.

I think it would be best to go in one of three ways. 1. Either make an ‘out and out’ Catholic themed game for Catholics, with no pretensions of trying to teach anybody anything they don’t already know. 2. Make a game that is Catholic by virtue of its context e.g. an historical game set in the Middle Ages in Europe would naturally have a large Catholic element, or a vampire type game (e.g. Castlevania) could (and often does) make reference to Christianity in general, and Catholicism specifically. 3. Have a game that deals with moral and spiritual themes, but does not make any pretensions to being for any one religion/religious group. In this sort of game I do think you would need to allow for the player to really choose evil, in order for the choice to be good to be meaningful.

I have an idea for a game mostly in the second category. It would be a basic platforming game based loosely on the experience/historical situation of the Desert Fathers/Mothers (if people know who they were).

I am thinking of something quite basic, and just as a fun distraction. So if people would like to contribute, get involved, know more details etc. please reply to this thread.

In Christ,

Chris Morgan

I think that’s a great idea. :slight_smile:

Sounds good! :slight_smile: Anytime you want, you can let us know the details and how we can contribute, here in this thread.

Hi Stephe1987,

Thanks for your support. Feel free to let me know if you can/would like to contribute in anyway, either here in the thread or by PM.

I started this thread in response to a few replies I got to a couple of post I made, so I am hoping there can be a group consensus (when a group gets started) on all decisions made, but my initial idea would be:

An exploration themed platform game, using the motif of the experience/situation of the Desert Fathers/Mothers. I have been thinking it would be called something like “Eremias: The Way of the Desert”. The basic storyline I have in my head, is that it is set after the Emperor Constantine legalises Christianity, and lots of people start becoming Christians. As a result of which other people start to go and live in the desert, as it has become all too easy to be a Christian. This was the actual historical situation. I thought the player could play a fictional girl who goes to the desert to find her brother who left to become a hermit. She does this becasue her father is dying and would like to see him again.

The game would focus on exploring the landscape, possibly avoiding dangers, and possibly collecting things. Hopefully it can be as basic as possible (so it is easier to make it) without being boring - but I at least am not envisiging anything complicated.

What do you think?

God bless,

Chris.

Hi Paul1up,

You must have replied whilst I was writitng the last post! Please do let me know what you think of the basic storyline I have just posted.

I am not a programmer, but I have used GameMaker in the past. I currently have the Lite (i.e. free) version of GameMaker 8.1. Paul1up I know you said you can program, if you would like to program the game you could, and choose any programming language you wanted, but otherwise I think it would be good to stick to using GameMaker and its ‘Drag & Drop’ functions. I can provide the basic engine i.e I will take from the platform game examples given with GameMaker (I will of course give appropriate credit). However if people wish to program instead, they can.

Alongside the basic engine we need general game design/ers, graphics: 2D sprites and tilesets, level design, and playtesting.

Graphically I am thinking about a pixel-art retro kind of look.

What do people think?

God bless,

Chris.

Hello Chris,
I think the story is a good idea, and can fit very well with an exploration game, with all of its ‘trials of the desert’. I also think it is better to use Game Maker than to program an engine from scratch, so that anyone can download and work with Game Maker Lite. I also like the retro pixel-art look, which is both easy and fun to do. Only thing to decide with that is the resolution of the game world and the color palette before beginning work on the tiles and sprites. Perhaps you can post links to some games that feature a specific art style that you have in mind?

I will be glad to be a playtester. Anyone know if gamemaker files can by run on a Mac or UNIX system?

Chris, what are your goals in making this game?

Sounds cool! :thumbsup: I actually had in mind my own Catholic videogame (which would likely be based on a novel series I hope to write one day) but it would be more along the lines of the complexity of Skyrim. That being said, I have a long way to go.

Paul1up: Resolution and palette – what would you suggest?

I have worked with a limited palette in the past, though this was mostly due to wanting to make things easy. I would prefer to use a limited palette on this project, to make things easier, and to encourage contribution. I would also like to use a generic palette. Something that can be used for multiple projects.

So Palette: limited + generic = ?

I did a search on the internet and found this: wayofthepixel.net/pixelation/index.php?topic=4306.0 Though this person does not seem to actually list the colours (they are in a pic though)

I realise there are all sorts of technical specifications for ‘retro’ game palettes & resolutions e.g. this specific range of colours and that specific resolution (16, 24, 32 bit) depending on whether its emulating Nintendo, or Sega, or Commodore 64. I just did not want to get that technical.

I quite like the idea of using just black and white, but I’m more than happy to be guided on this. I suppose I’m thinking of a more retro feel, kind of faux retro, rather than actually being retro…

Okay, I’m waffling now, probably because I have no idea of what I’m talking about. Paul1up, could you say a little bit more about palette and resolution?

**InJesusItrust **– Thanks for offering to play-test, I know that there is a Mac version of Game Maker. Don’t know if files compiled on a PC will work on a Mac though, though I suppose they might work on Unix – anybody else know?

**Baelor **– my goals are to have fun, to make something that people enjoy playing, to make something that is appreciated by Catholics (and others). What does everybody else think?

**Neildown **– sound like and interesting project, but if you are talking Skyrim, then this game will probably be at almost the completely opposite end of the spectrum. Hoping for simplicity.

God bless to all,

Chris.

Here is another link:

8bitcity.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/pixel-art-rpg-sprites.html

Which might give an example of the sort of palette/resolution I would tend towards.

God bless,

Chris.

EDIT - Actually maybe this is more helpful: create-games.com/article.asp?id=2215

I like the idea of this.

I’d add than in addition to collecting things she finds in the desert or where ever, the player might also have her sell such items to caravans, or ‘shops’ in towns or settlements she might go to.

Thus the player can buy food and necessary items for her trips into the desert, get new info on the location of her brother, defend her against wild animals or raiders, and also hear or read about the Church fathers of the time, perhaps something said about one of the Church’s teachings, as well as the defenses of those said fathers used against certain heretics of the day as well.

my goals are to have fun, to make something that people enjoy playing, to make something that is appreciated by Catholics (and others). What does everybody else think?

That sounds fine. I would just make sure that your game has a strong enough plot.

Have you played Journey by thatgamecompany? It seems like it may be relevant to your game given the setting and genre.

Next few days are going to be very busy for many of us, I know I personally won’t be able to get much done till late Tuesday or Wednesday. I’ll use the time for brainstorming. :slight_smile:
Personally, I love the palette from the Way of the Pixel link. Only 16 colors, but with clever use of dithering it can produce rich looking art. With black-and-white, the only games that I can think of that were in true black-and-white are Hero and Hero Core by Daniel Remar (remar.se/daniel/herocore.php). Maybe everyone can try making some mock-ups in various sizes and using various palettes? As for resolution, we can use the 256 x 192 or 256 x 224 as suggested by the Daily Click article, but for a good retro style, I would say use no more than 320x240. Also, I have a Mac, so (I’m assuming) I can take any Game Maker project files and generate a Mac build.
Another thing to consider is sound and music. I’ve got zero experience in this field so if anyone out there wants to help out? There’s plenty of software out there like LabChirp (labbed.net/software.php?id=labchirp).
Also, there is the matter of the player’s move-set. What will be all the actions that the player can do? Run and/or walk? Jump (and how high)? Duck? Crawl? Cling to ledges? Climb up or slide down walls? Attack? Interact with people/objects? Knowing what the player can and can’t do will go a long way in level design.
And now: homework time! Here’s a bunch of exploration-themed platformer games. I suggest everyone try them out at least and note what they like and what they don’t like about them, see what works and what doesn’t, and maybe get some inspiration. I believe that barring the music in some cases, just about all of these games were each made by just one person, often using tools like Game Maker.
Treasure Adventure Game: gog.com/gamecard/treasure_adventure_game (also, from here you can download the design sketches for a behind-the-scenes look at the game’s development process)
Knytt, Knytt Stories, and Within a Deep Forest: nifflas.ni2.se/
Treasure Hunter Man: db.tigsource.com/games/treasure-hunter-man
Endeavor: db.tigsource.com/games/endeavor
Ikachan: db.tigsource.com/games/ikachan
Painajainen: db.tigsource.com/games/painajainen
An Untitled Story: db.tigsource.com/games/an-untitled-story
Seiklus: db.tigsource.com/games/seiklus
Kaipuu: db.tigsource.com/games/kaipuu

I think this would be the best option for an RPG. An RPG with appealing characters who struggle with choices and then choose as though life has purpose and there is meaning beyond self pleasure and self importance. It would be a bonus if the designs and player mannerisms were based on JRPG / Manga conventions. :slight_smile: Choices would have to be subtle though and not contrived. Making a story like that would be difficult. It would have to appeal to the modern audience and seem to go with many of their virtues, but at the end or at key pivotal points the characters should make unpopular yet morally correct choices. Some background depictions of positive behaviours could also occur, or perhaps the game itself has nothing to do with morality but the backstory is set in a universe where people try to do what’s morally right as opposed to only what is currently popular or only what makes them feel good.

But making a game about the Church or Church themes and then especially vampires I think perpetuates the old Vampire vs Catholic Church stereotype. Since vampires do not exist, who knows, maybe what the Church stands for also does not exist - you don’t want that type of reasoning entering the picture.

Happy Easter!

Just a quick reply to say this is fantastic - things really seem to be starting moving. I have started a design document to record things. What format of of written document is most accessible to people?

Also we need a website/file storage for sharing resources - what do people recommend? Please none of those ones where they make you wait before downloading.

I will reply back more fully, hopefully tonight, but right now I am going to tea at my fiancee’s house. For those of you not from England, the word ‘tea’ can mean the evening meal! :stuck_out_tongue:

Alleluia, Alleluia give thanks to the Risen Lord,

Excellent input everybody,

God bless you all.

Okay, time for a more in depth post.

I have resurrected my old Google site, and uploaded the (miniscule) design document. The link is: docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxjaHJpc21vcmdhbnN0dWZmfGd4OjY3Zjg0NjhhOGM5MTMyNGE. Please can people let me know if they are able to view it. I will update it periodically - unless anybody else would like the job? :D:p

If people agree all the resources can be uploaded to the site, and then will be available to all who contribute.Overall I would like this project to be open access, or copyright free, or whatever its called. Like God’s love - freely received so freely given. But what does everybody else think?

ZhaneAugustine. Some interesting ideas. I think however they would make the game a lot more complicated to make, even on GameMaker. My programming experience really is minimal. Although if somebody else is willing to take on the full job of programming? Otherwise I suggest we could have subsequent versions/iterations of the game, with more features. We could finish creating the basic iteration and then improve on them. Unless anybody objects, I will call these iterations Generations. This will allow us to use the word *version *for mid generation work. The current game is therefore Generation 1. I propose that Generation 1 does not include buying or selling. I don’t even know what role collecting things will play - I suggested it originally, really just thinking of a way to increase the players points. I like idea of the player collecting passages from the Bible, or from the sayings of the desert Fathers/Mothers, but it might be complicated creating a function in the game where these were accessible. Maybe they could just appear once and then thats it? Otherwise are they other things the player could collect for points? What do people think?

**Baelor **Yes plot is important. With the current plot (please see previous posts and/or design document) I was hoping to give the player a straightforward reason for playing through the game, without asking too much, or needing to give too much. I had heard of the Journey before (and have just gone to the website and watched the 2 videos) and its just the kind of thing I’m thinking of, except really really really really really really (etc etc) simpler. But definately the same spirit… Also I think the character design from the journey could inspire the character design of Eremias.

I have had to split this post in half (due to word usage) see below for the rest…

And now for the rest…

Paul1up thanks for all the info! I have played Hero Core before - that could definately be a style to emulate, as I could see how it would make graphical design much more straightforward, as well as give it a strong look. I have inlcuded a link to a picture of some B&W stuff I have done: 7723917548575783480-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/chrismorganstuff/Home/GENERIC_ANIME_SPRITE_STRIP3.bmp?attachauth=ANoY7cpnmRFd2IMbfVc0DwASh8HCWJEgBiEpYZWWm-a353tcYjxXM0L-mCF-7PCVBZXdyjGT8knfeS1oRQtL3CwaIE_Xmuhc535KUAIUsfZr7SiRheWdwZvXbzz90AzRlgIwHmA3tvAA7twUURpz2bnOpUya8G1NQzhpfIiUGpiZMZcR8-E-di6l1O_vIgCnZ-oqzcUeUV5S3DKsmEjOmGI7wtIW9-lf34TZpS-7b6x5SonrRUFEH-s%3D&attredirects=0. I realise Hero Core, is a different look to this. However if people would like colour, thats what we will have. As you have said Paul1up, people can make mock-ups in various sizes & palettes, and the we can all decide?

The resolution 256x224 sounds good, I like the idea of using 320x240 even more as I like round numbers (its a character quirk). I was originally planning to make the game to one of these resolutions, but then double the port to screen resolution in GameMaker, as I find this gives a nice ‘blocky’ retro look - but again, what do people think?

What about the actual sprite resolution? 16x16 and 16x24 and 16x32 (basically multiples of 8)? I used to make sprites in multiples of 10, but I suppose multiples of 8 are what all the retor kids are doing nowadays…

Music/sound wise - I thought we could leave off music for the moment. For sound however I thought sfxr: drpetter.se/project_sfxr.html ?

Regarding player move set, I thought for Gen1 it could be walk (run/walk would be the same) and jump. We could even leave out duck at this stage? Furthermore, in this generation, interaction could be signified by something happening on screen, as opposed to having a seperate sprite.

Thanks Paul1up for the list of exploration games. I have played Knytt, and Knytt stories - both amazing. Not played witihn a deep forest though. Tried to play Treasure Adventure Game twice now, but it keeps locking on me - though it does look good. Played Treasure Hunter man before though and enjoyed this. Not played the others, but I will give some of them a go.

**Tenofovir **When I was thinking of option number 3 (see 1st post of thread) I was thinking that some people talk about making Christian games that give the person no real choice of choosing good, in that ‘good’ is actually the only option they can choose. In our faith (for example) If we have no choice but to love God, then that makes us robots, and God’s love an illusion. True love is dangerous precisely becasue it is free. I think option number 3 games need to be like that. As for vampires not existing, maybe they don’t and maybe they do, but the reality of our world is that many people already think that what the Church stands for does not exist, so not wanting this kind of reasoning to enter the picture is a moot point. I don’t think we are going to attract people back to the Church by being afraid of this fact. Hope this does not sound like I am getting at you - I’m not. I appreciate you getting involved in the discussion!

It could work and it also might not hard to know. What developer would make it? What engin would be used to make it?

Hello, and a belated Happy Easter! :slight_smile:

I think it would be ideal for the project files to be open to all and for the whole development process to be transparent. Designing each version as a separate generation is also a great idea.
For collecting things, you can incorporate that into this or the next version, just so that the mechanics are in place? It’s your call on this.
And your black-and-white artwork is amazing! I tried making a b&w mockup but it came out looking horrible, plus I forgot to save it :frowning: I don’t think we need to emulate Hero Core’s style, you have your own unique style and I think it would be best to go with that. As for color, the way that you’ve done your sprites already allows them to be colored easily, if you so choose, but it would be best to keep one copy of the black-and-white spritesheet.
I think tiles for the levels (I assume that’s the easiest way to begin building a map?) can be 16x16 and characters can be any of the sizes you mentioned. If you ever intend to implement ducking and crawling, then I suggest 16x24 or 16x32 for the main character, so levels can be designed with areas that the player will need to crawl through.
Music and sound effects aren’t that important at this stage, but we can put in a simple ‘jump’ and perhaps ‘landing on the ground’ sound effect for Generation 1. Also for Generation 1, basic walking and jumping are enough.
Now, I’ve downloaded Game Maker Lite and I’ve got my own homework to do seeing how it works so I can be on the same page as you when discussing the project. :slight_smile:

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