Update: What I've Been Up To, as of June 24, 2022
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Greetings everyone! It's about that time again; time for another bimonthly Update Post. What have I been up to since April? Read on to find out.
KikiBanana.com and the Kiki Banana Web-Comic
The Kiki Banana website, while still not open to the public just yet, has had substantial work put into it since first getting it set up. Lots of designing and graphics and such have been made and applied to the site, and it's looking pretty good.
Now it just needs some content... Speaking of...
So, where's the comic?
In my last post I said I was committed to this web-comic project, deciding to utilize sequential art to make manifest the world of this silly treasure huntress character of mine and putting all other projects off to make room in my schedule to make it happen.
It may seem like I'm building up to a disappointing revelation that I've since changed course or have reneged on my previously established commitment. Rest assured, that's only half true.
I have indeed altered my trajectory somewhat. A Kiki Banana comic is still happening, but it won't be the primary focus of my creative efforts. It's currently been demoted to secondary focus, and here's why:
A Surprise Inspiration Appears!!
During the middle of May, as I was continuing to work on getting the website ready for the inevitable comic, I was struck with something... an inspiration the likes of which I can't rightly say I've ever experienced. It may sound kinda stupid, or obvious in hindsight, but this is what it was:
It suddenly dawned on me out of the blue that there is a middle-ground between making super simple video games and big huge complex ones.
If you've been following me and my work here for a while now, you'll know that I've expressed immense interest in making games, even showing off a little of what I've managed to make thus far. However, one reason why I haven't actually, y'know, made one yet is because I find myself teetering between being too bored and uninterested in making something really simple (like a short 2D pixel art platformer or something basic with one simple mechanic) or making something really complex (like a large open-world RPG or ambitious 3D platformer).
I could make something very simple with what I've learned over the past four or five years studying Unreal Engine and dabbling in 3D graphics and whatnot, but the idea of making something so easy just to say I technically made a game does not appeal to me in the least bit. Where's the challenge? Where's the payoff of a sense of accomplishment after it's made?
On the extreme other end of the spectrum, I know for a fact I couldn't make the kinds of games I have all these ideas for. For example, my Shadows of Wiccumshire game concept, as it stands at the moment, would require a full-on team of developers to produce with its large, detailed open world with lots of environmental storytelling, robust and dynamic status mechanic (ranging from physical ailments like colds and hunger to psychological ones like infatuation and mania, all affecting what you the Player can do), and deep story with tons of characters to keep track of... waaaay more than one inexperienced independent developer could possibly even begin to dream of! And that's just one of these game concepts. There's more.
So, for the longest time, I've been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to game design - either I make a tiny game that doesn't interest me or attempt a colossal game that I know I could never accomplish on my own; both of which would inevitably end in some form of disappointment. In other words, do I make Pong and feel empty on the inside or loose my mind trying to make The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my own? What do I do!?
This is where my inspiration comes in. For whatever reason, it took me this long to realize that there is indeed a happy medium between these two extremes; games that aren't so mechanically simple as to be inane (like Pong), and not so aesthetically simple as to be boring to look at (...again, like Pong).
The kind of game I was thinking was a basic 3D platformer that had more linear level design (not unlike Super Mario 3D World), but the levels could be strung together non-linearly via a top-down explorable overworld. Or, a 3D adventure game utilizing fixed camera perspectives, like a modernized version of old PS1 games with pre-rendered backdrops like Final Fantasy 7-8-9, Chrono Cross, or Resident Evil. To sum up my thinking, I could take the basic design philosophies of certain 2D games and translate them into 3D... if that makes any sense. It makes sense in my head, which is all that matters, really. All you need to know is that I finally have a clear vision of what I want in a game that excites me, because it's big enough to be interesting and challenging to design, but simple enough that I believe I could actually produce it.
That Desire / Belief ratio is very important in generating motivation. This is something I've learned from my studying the Laws of Success (which I detailed in the previous post). In Your Wish is Your Command, Kevin Trudeau calls it the "Sweet Spot", where high Desire meets high Belief. This is the optimal mindset you want to have in embarking on a journey to manifest a desire. Any want with high Desire but low Belief is a pipe dream, and a want with low Desire but high Belief just isn't interesting enough to even attempt. For me, this type of video game I just outlined is both high Desire and high Belief.
It hits the Sweet Spot like nothing ever has. That's the primary reason why I decided to reconsider my previously established commitment to the comic project in the first place.
Really and truly, I only chose the comic project because a comic would be the easiest and most likely medium to actualize. It was high in Belief, but only moderately high in Desire. Now that's not to say I don't want to do it, far from it... I just want to do this game more.
So... Does this mean there's a video game in the works, then?
You could say that, yes.
While I haven't locked down a specific game project just yet, I'm almost certain what will be locked down is a Kiki Banana one. I've had an idea for a Kiki Banana game since mid to late 2017, working title being "The Voyage of Kiki Banana" which would have Kiki adventuring across many wacky seas (like a desert sea, a forest sea, an underwater sea, you get the idea) to amass enough wealth to bail out her gambling-addicted grandma from the nefarious Nimrod banking dynasty's debtors' prison.
Originally the game was going to be primarily a 2D platformer with levels strung together via an overworld a la Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, with a haggling mechanic like that of Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land. Now, applying this new vision I have of games I could feasibly produce, it would be a 3D platformer instead, with not-so-high poly models comparable to those of the Wii era or so, stylized to look good from a fair distance (seeing as the game would have a more fixed, non-free-roam camera system).
The Voyage of Kiki Banana would still be a big game, even considering the tweaks to the concept to make it more feasible to produce, so I'll be focusing my efforts primarily on a Tech Demo of sorts... possibly.
Another possibility that I've thought of within the last few days as of this post is creating a smaller version of what would be The Voyage, but make a full, albeit small, game out of some of the basic mechanics The Voyage would have. That way, it would be a complete, yet bite-sized experience rather than merely a taste of something larger that may or may not come. I'd have to come up with a concept for a smaller game, but that shouldn't be a problem. You could say this smaller game would be a tech demo in disguise, so in the event that the larger game its based off of doesn't pan out for whatever reason, it still stands as its own thing, so nobody's disappointed.
Where does the comic fit in to all of this?
Like I mentioned previously, the comic is still a thing, and it will be made, although it'll take a little longer than I thought before, obviously. I still need to sort out how exactly I'm going to go about it. I do plan to have both a web-comic freely available on the website that simply tells short little jokes and gags, and a more substantial print comic that tells longer-form stories. How exactly I'm going to go about juggling those two, what to prioritize, etc. is still to be determined. But take solace in knowing that the comic is coming, just not as soon as I had thought.
As something of a consolatory gift for switching projects on a whim like I have, here's an example of what you can expect from the web-comic:
This particular strip sums up the style of humor I'm going for pretty succinctly; goofy and absurd. Y'know, like a cartoon. Remember those?
So anyway, that's what's up at the moment - Kiki comic not coming as soon as expected, but is coming, as well as a Kiki game of some variety being in the works.
For those of you who have no interest in this silly pirate thing I'm working on, I apologize that The Blog-Shacalypse has kinda become the Kiki-Bananacalypse at this point. Perhaps I should relegate all Kiki stuff to her own website and actually start talking about other stuff, and not just exclusively updates. I need to do more with this blog, this website. I actually have a lot to say about stuff, Creativity and whatnot. I know I should stop talking about talking about stuff and just, well, talk about stuff. I should do that. Yeah.
Anyway, thanks for reading, if you did, I appreciate you giving a shit about my doings. Until next time, peace be and take care!