Greetings and Salutations!
Oh hey there.
Glad you could stop by. Welcome to the first ever developer blog entry for War Ender. I'm humbled that you would take the time to come read my ramblings. I suppose with that in mind, I shouldn't waste your time. Let's begin with a short bit about myself. The name is Lance Talbert, and I first got into making video games at the age of thirteen. Of course, before that, I had been playing video games for as long as I can remember, beginning with games like Super Mario and Crash Bandicoot. As I got older I would be introduced to games like Pokemon, Doom, Heroes of Might and Magic, and of course my favorite game series, Super Smash Bros. On Christmas 2008 (if my math is right), I had received a book that claimed it could teach me how to make video games. When my mom gave it to me, she said "if you're gonna play video games all the time you might as well learn how to make them too." Turns out that was some pretty good advice.
It started with simple games, of course. Guessing games, clones of Pong and Asteroids, and all those other textbook examples many game developers in training have made. Once I got through the book, I had a desire to create my own game ideas. Unfortunately, thirteen year old me hadn't quite grasped how some aspects work. A friend of mine told me about a program called Game Maker that made game development simpler. So without hesitation I downloaded it and gave it a spin. Using that program helped me figure out some of the things I wasn't quite understanding using just code, and really pushed my knowledge of how to make games. For the next few years, I would create my own games using Game Maker.
Not only did I work on games on my own in my spare time, I would even join game jams to put my skills to the test (they were all terrible, but I learned!), as well as collaborate with friends and even complete strangers. After a while, I would move on to Unity and, with the same friends from before as well as on my own when I have nothing else to do, I would work on other, larger games. To this day, I've been using Unity to bring ideas to life. In fact, War Ender is being made in Unity!
Okay, okay, I think that's enough about yours truly. Let's talk about War Ender! Where did it come from? How has it been developed? What inspired the game's creation? Did Lance really try making a game about a violent square? Well, let's tackle these one at a time, starting with where it came from. The truth is, War Ender started development in October of 2016, but back then it wasn't called War Ender, and I wasn't even working on it "full time" at all. (at least as "full time" as I can put in development with my day job in the way.) A few months prior a friend and I had come off a particularly rough development of a game that didn't really go anywhere. We had decided to put it away for the time being and focus on other, smaller things. After taking a break from active game development, I decided it would be nice to make something simple. Every project I had worked on up until this point had gradually been bigger, grander, and more complex than the last, and I thought going back to something basic would do me good. I didn't actually expect to give War Ender the life it currently has.
I would only work on it now and then. We're talking maybe once a week or every other week for maybe an hour, tops. Like I said, I wasn't really creating it with any grand vision in mind. I was busy with other projects and had even just recently proposed! So I had all that wedding planning to look forward to. My at-the-time fiance and I had to do said wedding planning in five months at that! (But it was SO worth it.) Shortly after Katy (the lovely wifey) and I got back from our honeymoon, I had learned of an upcoming festival that was accepting applications for booths to demo one's game. So I thought "well, I have this silly little game about a violent square here. I'll try entering with that."
To make a long story short, I didn't make it in, but I had a blast working on what was originally called Action Square. In the time that I had worked on the game to enter it into this festival, I kind of fell in love with the game. I had dreamed up this cheesy story that could surround the game and these unique mechanics that I could put in and even thought of what the game's first boss could look like. I kept chuckling at some of the ideas that I had running around in my head, and it got to the point where I said to myself "there's something here that I should explore." So around the end of June, what I was calling Action Square at the time went into full time development.
A lot has happened since that time. Obviously, the Action Square name was dropped in favor of War Ender, and the main character is no longer this red, violent square, although I kept calling the main character Red. The game's mechanics are essentially set in stone, with the only expected major changes to come in the form of new enemies and gameplay objects. Now, what about War Ender's inspirations? I had decided early on to make something simple, and I thought a platforming shooter would be a good way to go. Were there any games that inspired me as I developed? The answer is "yeah, duh."
There's been plenty of inspirations but I'd have to say the biggest ones have been the Doom series (especially Doom 2016) and Mega Man. You can probably see the Mega Man influence clear as day. They're effectively in the same genre. There's platforming and your character shoots at enemies. Unlike Mega Man, Red doesn't get any new abilities for defeating bosses. I did toy around with the idea of Red gaining new items or power ups early on but scrapped it after a short while. I felt it kept breaking the flow of the game. So I decided that if Red does get any better, it will be a late game thing. Doom's influence can be seen in War Ender in that it's a fast moving game and there's a bit of a cheesy tone to it. Yes, the characters within the world are taking things quite seriously (Red even more so), but when you stop and think about what's going on, it is kind of ridiculous. And to me, that's fine! Doesn't mean the game is dumb for it. In fact, if done correctly, it can be quite the opposite! When making the music of the game, I was also heavily inspired by Doom 2016's soundtrack.
So ultimately, what is War Ender? Simply, It's a fast paced action platformer with an admittedly cheesy but fun story. You, the player, will face various types of enemies and obstacles that you must overcome, with each new item adding that much more depth to the game making you have to adapt to a number of different scenarios. In one place, you could be faced with basic enemies that simply walk forward and a single, stationary turret sitting on top of a floating platform. In another, you might be faced with homing rockets coming at you from different sides while simultaneously having to deal with enemies lobbing grenades at you from one side of the screen and marching robots coming at you from another, all while a laser is moving back and forth on the floor where you're standing. War Ender is not afraid to smack you around a bit, but of course it's not so hard that it feels impossible. Above all else, I want to make sure War Ender is never frustrating. As it stands, I believe the game is in that place where it can be difficult but never frustrating.
Well, that is a lot of words! I should probably wrap up this introductory blog. If you've read all this, then thank you so much! If you skimmed it, then thank you so much as well! If you took one look at it and went somewhere else, then I hope I can keep your attention another day. But thanks for at least looking! I'm planning on doing these once every other week, so do check back now and again for new blog posts. I'll also add more screenshots, music tracks, and eventually a demo onto this site as they become available. And of course, you can always follow me on Twitter to get the latest developments and maybe a decent joke. My Titter handle is @prof_smash. With all that said, I bid you farewell!
Stay cool like me!