Start your Game Engine!

Opening a game engine for the first time.

Now that I have surrendered to the idea that pursuing this game making idea is not entirely out of left field and not another O Shiny! moment… What happens next?

Well, something called RPG Paper Maker fell across my YouTube channel.  Just enough engine for a rank beginner like me. Someone who doesn’t even know what a “side scroller” is.  I was intrigued by the idea that there are “cozy” type games.  As opposed to a “first-person shooter”, which I do know. Tried it. No good at it.  

I’ve watched friends play and that has been fascinating enough for me. Kind of watching a movie that I have no interest in.  I even walked into a new job and there was the husband playing World of Warcraft. I knew I was going to be at home there because his wife was in the other room doing the same thing!  

I only said I don’t play video games. 

Oh wait. That’s not even true!

As I have gone down the video game investigation hole I have learned that I do indeed play video games.  My favorite game is Monument Valley but I don’t think of it as a “video game”. I think of it as puzzle. Which I like.  

Monument valley screen shot pink tower on yellow ground

And Bejeweled. Another game I like.  

Mahjong?  Solitaire?  Sudoku? Are these also video games since I play them on the computer. Or are they computer games.  

I used to like to try playing Asteroids when that was available.  

Those games put me into a state that is very much what live drawing does.  Solving a problem with what I have in front of me.  Seeing patterns of shape and color to acquire form. That’s me sitting in my local coffee shop sketching the customers in line.  Or me recording my order number before the order comes.  Monument Valley?  Organizing the shapes that record customers.  Bejeweled?  Composing the scene on my table at speed and getting the order number right. 

From the sketchbook to the screen

So, RPG Paper Maker.

It’s a drag and drop introduction to building a video game.  I can see how the elements of the game go together and learn what the names  of all the parts are.  And, having watched some of the videos of what can be made with this system, I am now intrigued.

It’s not all pixels, for one thing.  There’s one game that is only hand drawn settings. And really bizarre game play.  There are fighting games and journey games.  And there was one that tried to tell a story.  None of these ideas are new to me.  What is new is the format. 

While I as usual, downloaded a few RPG game making programs, Paper Maker is the one I opened.  

And then closed.  I’m the person who does not read directions before trying to put something together.  So… I gave in, read the directions, built a map, and discovered another connection. Another thread.  

Actually the thread is a very, very old one. It’s Ariandne’s thread. The fabled one that led her out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.  

Following the Thread

My fascination with labyrinths is not new.  I don’t remember when it started but it was after I moved to San Francisco. Near the residential hotel where I worked is Grace Cathedral, known for it’s Chartres Labyrinth on the floor. Never went there.  However,I became interested in the idea of the nature of the path after walking a couple of them and having a hard time of it.  Kept wanting to just step over the line and get on with it.  What was that about?

Somewhere around the beginning of my nursing I had noticed a visual relationship between the Chartres Labyrinth and the brain in front view. What if that labyrinth pattern is a map of the brain?  It would give the walking of it new meaning, something more “scientific” . 

I worked with special needs kids and learned a lot, casually, about activating the brain through movement. Especially cross-body movements to help integrate the right and left sides.  Is this what the Ancients understood?  

All this to say…

My first world map is to be a labyrinth.  Appropriate for a thread connection, eh?  So, more about me and labyrinths next time.  Back to following directions. 

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