One of the best things I’ve done as a novice game dev is get involved in game jams. Itch.io’s Finally Finish Something Jam motivated me to finish the alpha of my largest Twine project to date, Wreath of Roses, and submit it for feedback. After that was done I took a short break to focus on short stories, and just as I was wondering what my next project should be, I remembered that March is NaNoRenO.
I’ve blogged about NaNoWriMo before. It’s a month-long challenge to complete a novel draft, which has been running for years and engaged thousands of writers. NaNoRenO takes its inspiration from there, but is a rather more modest affair. The challenge is to create a visual novel or story-driven game, in one month. While some people can work alone to create all the writing, code and art for their game, most people prefer to work in teams and focus on their strengths.
As a writer and programmer, I lack the skills to manage either the art or music aspects of game development, which has so far slowed down my indie dev ambitions. What a beginner needs most is experience and a reputation, and NaNoRenO is a stellar opportunity to grow both of these things. All that’s required is the skill to start and the courage to engage. Of course, it’s the latter I was most concerned about, but there’s nothing to it but to pull it off like a bandaid. And so I found myself a dev team to join for the month.
Our project has a progress thread on Lemma Soft forums, where the NaNoRenO buzz is centered. BookSLEEPer doesn’t have a neat genre fit (new adult? magical realism? not exactly straight fantasy) but it’s a concept I never would have come up with on my own, and just the kind of creative challenge that I need to get started. Plus, the deadlines. I love deadlines. They get the blood racing and are sure to keep me young, a matter of some concern since I just learned that Buffy the Vampire Slayer has turned twenty.
With a team of eight (including myself) the game is set to feature a common route and four romance routes, each based around a book in which the plot takes place. Alcor is the producer (as well as taking on basically every other role), with writers Zelan and Allegra C. Hughes helping with the production. The other writers are myself and Miya, and additional artists are Choi, Kaoru and Jen Lusky.
Writing is always an exciting adventure and this month is no exception. Collaboration isn’t easy when you have eight people in different time zones, and everyone has a day job. Still I have started on the best possible terms, and I honestly can’t wait to see what comes out of it, by the end of this month. Which is as it should be. That’s why I started writing to begin with, actually. What you end up with is always somehow bigger than all the hours of work that you put into it.