#1 Let’s deliver some packages

Welcome to the first devlog for my new game “Package Party”!

In these devlogs I will report on my progress, but also mix in some tutorial-like information and explain my ideas and thought process. Hopefully, it is fun to read and gives you an idea what to expect from this game!

(To prevent a wall of text in each devlog, I'll often randomly put an image of my current level/progress between paragraphs. Also, I am writing these devlogs a little "out of sync" with the project, because I only started writing them a few weeks into the project. The devlogs will often explain how I did something ... and then a few devlogs later I'll explain why that was a bad choice and I decided to do something else. Hopefully it's interesting to read and maybe you can learn from my mistakes.)


Why are you writing these devlogs?

Several reasons:

  • My main craft is actually writing, so I like to write.
  • Writing it down helps structure my thoughts, give me new ideas or optimize game mechanics. More often than not, when I sit down to write an explanation as to why I’m doing something, I realize what I’m doing is wrong. (There’s stacks of papers besides my laptop with “old” versions of algorithms, which were never finished, because I realized halfway that I could write a better version.)
  • I’m using the Godot Engine, which has a noticeable lack of available tutorials/in-depth information. I’ve learned many tips and tricks about the engine (mostly through trial and error and – er – frustration), which I want to share.
  • Most importantly: I want to involve my players! I’ve learned nothing is more valuable than many different eyes on your game and lots of feedback.


So, what is this game about?

“Package Party” is a couch co-op game for everyone. It mixes 3D platformer, with puzzles and lots of physics-based action.

Essentially, this game is about delivering packages. Each level, deliveries will appear regularly, and you have to fulfill them. Grab the package at the right location, travel some distance, and drop it at the proper destination.

However ... as the game goes on, more and more obstacles are presented. Maybe there's no way to get to your destination, unless you skillfully throw your package to another player. Maybe a package consists of multiple components, and you need to assemble these throughout the city. Or the quickest way to get somewhere is by using the truck ... but it's out of gas, so you need to ask someone else on your team to fill the gas tank first.

I have a huge list of level ideas and mechanics that will be introduced over the course of the game. Hopefully, all of these make the game more challenging but also more fun!


What do you mean, “for everyone”?

The game is designed in such a way that you don’t need to have a great understanding of games, or great skill with the controller, to pick up the game and have a fun play session. Every level, new mechanics are organically introduced, which gradually build on top of each other.

The game is played using a controller and supports 1-4 players.

During first playtesting, I quickly realized that it was hard to play with a keyboard. As I'm developing, I will keep looking into ways to make this work, because most people just don't have that many controllers. It would be great if you could play the game with 1-2 people on the keyboard, and perhaps another 1-2 on controllers.

For now, it’s a desktop game, which means it will come out on Windows, Mac and Linux.  (I’m looking into console support, but that’s a black hole for now, with little information or certainty.)


Why “Godot Engine”?

I have tried many game engines over the years. (Unity, Unreal, Love2D, Phaser, a very short period with GameMaker, the list goes on.)

Each engine has its own flaws and strengths, which means I’m ultimately just looking for one thing: is it fun to make this game? Do I want to make the game with this engine?

And Godot is just a fun engine. I really like its philosophy, structure, and workflow. (Well, 95% of it. No engine is perfect.)

On top of that, I was a co-writer of one of the first books on Godot (Sam’s Teach Yourself in 24 Hours: Godot 3.0). Admittedly, I was one of the smaller names, which means my name isn’t even on the cover :p Nevertheless, I have experience with Godot, I know it well, it’s just the right choice.

Godot’s performance, stability and documentation is certainly not ideal. But I expect this game to be quite small, and the engine has big improvements slated over the coming 6-12 months, so I’m pretty confident. (You’ll probably hear me whine about Godot’s performance regularly in these devlogs. Be prepared. But if you’re interested in Godot, I’ll also share many valuable tips about performance, so there’s always a plus side.)


What’s the plan?

Look, after 10 years of making games, I know that the hardest thing about developing is actually finishing games. So I’m going to keep this simple. No “stretch goals”, no outlandish promises, just the following:

  • A desktop game. Couch co-op, playable with controller, 1-4 players. (No online multiplayer, unless the universe is generous and gives me some more time, money and deep network knowledge.)
  • A low-poly, flat shaded, cartoony 3D style. (Because Godot doesn’t allow much complex 3D stuff, and because it fits the theme and mechanics of this game best.)
  • A campaign of at least 20 levels, spread over a handful of worlds. (Levels will be about 5 minutes long, on average. You can earn up to 3 stars and find a bonus easter egg in each level.)
  • Physics-based package-delivering fun for the whole family! (I’m not good at marketing or slogans.)

Sure, there are some areas where I’m thinking about extensions. For example, if we’re delivering packages, it makes more sense to let the players earn money instead of points for each delivery. That money could then be spend in the campaign window on upgrades or something. But I’ll only create these if I feel they are absolutely necessary for the game experience, otherwise they’ll just bloat the game.

I expect this game to take 6 months to develop, and the final price will be between 10-20 euros. But these are wild guesses at the start of a project, so don’t write these dates into your agendas! (… if people still use those things)

During the development, at least when the game has some content (let’s say 3-5 working levels), I’ll put the game into “early access”. For a much lower price, you can already download the game, test it, give feedback (or just tell me what you want to see in the game).

That’s it for the first devlog! See you at part 2.

Get Package Party

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