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Reynard – Road To Early Access

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A fellow user on Reddit asked us a couple of questions about us, inspiration and the development process of Reynard. So I’ve decided to write a more general article… Let’s call it “Reynard – Road To Early Access.”

TL;DR;

We used Unity3D and the C# language. We were inspired by the wish of making our own video game and were influenced by games as Final Fantasy, Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Warcraft 3 TD maps and Binding Of Isaac. Technically we started developing Reynard on 6th of October 2017 – that’s the date of my first “pet project” commit on git. Project was originally called “Into The Fray”. We’ve been working on a couple of games earlier, but we never developed anything this “big”. Our advice for aspiring game developers would be: “Start small, set smaller milestones and finish what you’ve started”.

Game engine we used

We developed Reynard in Unity3D engine using C# language. The engine itself is fantastic, but when we started we wrestled with pixel perfect camera, tile extrusion and so on. Maybe if we picked an alternative such as Godot we’d avoid these problems, but then again we were familiar with Unity3D and in the end, it has tons of learning material and a very well equipped asset store.

I also kind of cheered for Unity3D, because there are many employers and project which use it. I wanted to know that even if our games fail, I’ll learn something useful, something that will help me on my developer path in the future.

Inspiration for making video games and Reynard

I will write this from my perspective and I’ll ask Boštjan to add his points of view.

Inner struggles

I had a wish of creating my own video game since I was a kid. But… You know… It is different when you daydream about something and when you decide “I’m gonna do it, or die trying”. Since I didn’t and don’t (yet) have kids and I saved some money that would keep me “alive” for several of months, I decided… I’m gonna do it! I’m gonna pitch an idea to my old school mates.
That’s how it started. For the “test of collaboration” game, we’ve created our first simple mobile game Math Panda. After Math Panda we’ve decided that we’ll try to create a game inspired by Kingdom called Pariah: Anton. In the middle of making Pariah, I gave a proposal for creating one “sprint” match 3 clone – Space Cyclops.
The reason for a sprint was behind me being stuck in the development process and not seeing an exit, I just really had to do something else before I lost my motivation… it was probably too ambitious a project for me back then. So when we finished Space Cyclops we went back on Pariah… and soon I again started working on some other pet projects. The next pet project’s prototype name was called “Into The Fray” which later turned into “Reynard”.

Influences

Reynard has been influenced by many games we played growing up.
When I was a kid my parents bought me my first gaming console, the SNES. The game that came with it was none other than Super Mario World. I immediately fell in love with it. But then you beat your first game and you need something more. Luckily I got Final Fantasy Mystic Quest from my half-brother’s cousin. I couldn’t understand the game because it was in German. But you know, back then I just went with it… even though the game is presented as a “starter RPG” for the European market, I loved it. I really liked its top-down perspective and the art! There was this huge manual that I couldn’t understand but the art in it was amazing and the cover image was epic!
So time goes by… I get a PC and it has the ability to run console emulators… which opens an opportunity to play all other games that I didn’t even know exist for SNES. First I went for Final Fantasy games… Played them all. But then I remembered about the cool looking top-down game my school mate once brought with him to school which we played in a class room (it was a special day in school and not a thing we did every day :D). The things that stuck with me were: no waiting for turns like in Final Fantasy games, cool story and pixel art. The game was none other than The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
The next game of inspiration was Warcraft 3. Blizzard hit the jackpot with the level editor. You could download thousands of player-made maps and you could play them with your friends! That’s what we did… we played tons of tower defense in Warcraft 3 😀
And Boštjan… He is an Isaac maniac (770+ hours played :D) and we both love its rogulike elements.

Development and larger hurdles

The first commit was on 6th of October 2017… but it was just a prototype… Back then I was working on Pariah. I still dream about finishing that game. Well, anyway… Pariah started to get more complicated, and in my free time I started working on a top-down game. I just wanted to do something else from time to time. Eventually we had a meeting with the team and we decided to switch to another project and start working on a roguelite top down game. We thought that it would be more fun and easier to make… Fun? Sure! Easier!? Not really 😀

Some of the hurdles were:

  • Not being synced with the team – in the first half of development, I was the only one working on Reynard fulltime. Luckily, Boštjan committed to the project when I needed him the most. Believe me that having someone to discuss matters with is very powerful and keeps you motivated.
  • Many times we had a working system but sometimes I just didn’t think it was flexible or good enough so I redesigned some of them completely from the ground up even though they were doing their job just fine. I guess the reason behind this was that we never really had a clear picture of what we were building and that I tried to program systems that we’d reuse in future games.
  • Not having an artist. Learning to draw pixel art was fun but it took a lot of time that I could spend on programming.
  • Unity importing small assets every save (importing lasts around 10 minutes). Still looking for the root cause of this problem.

If you’re interested you can read some of our devlogs which you can check out here.

Our advice for aspiring game developers

“Start small, set smaller milestones and finish what you’ve started”.

Future

We’re gonna add more content to Reynard and polish it. At the moment I’m working on different merchants, area of effect spells and so on. We’re also starting the process of steam submission.

So if you like what you’ve read and you’re interested what Reynard is all about,  you can check it out here:

 

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