My high school computer science class was taught by a man named Mr Lew, and he was a genius.
As the final project each semester, every student (and a partner) were to make a computer game. Academically speaking, the reason why this was a great idea is obvious — games contain so many aspects of computer science that you can’t really make one without showing everything you’ve learned in the class. Plus it was something everyone could get excited about.
At least it was something the nerds in the class could get excited about (this was pre-PlayStation, so computer gaming hadn’t really blown up yet).
Most people made little sports games based around some kind of parser interface:
What play do you want to run:
1 Play 1
2 Play 2
3 Play 3
4 Play 4
Enter your choice:
Which made sense — we hadn’t done really any graphics programming, so ASCII was the best we had. At first, of course, I entertained the thought of making an RPG, like Zork. In years past, I’d made a small one for my calculator which enjoyed a fairly wide circulation around the school — but I wanted to do something bigger.
But I pushed that aside and decided to go with Space Invaders (in ASCII), instead. It’d be more impressive, and therefore more likely to land me an A.
The second year I took the class, though, we learned graphics programming — so I decided the time had come to make my RPG masterpiece. My opus.
I’d start simple, I thought, and just work towards something like Adventure (only with stats, more enemies, an inventory, and a huge world and story). Of course, as anyone who has ever tried to make an RPG has fond, this proved to be much more work than I first thought.
So about three days before it was due I dropped the whole thing and coded up a quick graphical version of Pong, which did pretty well.
But still, the idea of an RPG nagged at me. In college I continued to try to make RPGs with my friends, and of course these projects always fell through because they were too much work. There was an FF3-looking one, a few MUDs, and probably some I don’t even remember.
RPGs are hard.
I wonder what it is about RPGs, though, that makes them so tempting. Maybe it was just that I happened to be playing a lot of JRPGs at that point… I dunno.
I imagine, though that others have had this experience. I read all the time about people and their first heartbreak game, and usually it’s an RPG.
If any of you have tried to create a video game on your own… was it an RPG? If not, what was it?