JAM: A Devblog Series – MS Paint Jam 2k17 (Part 1)

Hey guys, WriterMonkey here. Some of you might not know this, but I’m actually an independent game developer on top of talking over video games and begging people to watch me talk over video games. I have released one title, a little card game called OfficeDungeon (also available as a print-and-play version here, if you’re curious and don’t want to spend more than a dollar), and it has been moderately successful. Not bad for flying by the seat of my pants.

After that, though, various things have ended up in development hell. A couple tabletop RPGs, an expansion/revision for OfficeDungeon, a couple board games. It’s been difficult for me to work on these things, and there is literally only one thing that’s been missing from my projects.

A deadline.

When I was still in the earliest of alphas with OfficeDungeon, I did something crazy: I signed up for a booth at a convention. Not a big convention, but big enough. I did this three whole months before the convention. At that point, my game was just pencil on note cards but the gamble paid off: I made a bunch of friends (including this motley crew), I released my game, made a little profit.

I guess my point is I need to do something crazy and drastic if I’m going to be a game developer and actually finish a project. So, here we are.

As of this writing, I have one month and 46 minutes to make a video game. By myself. Making my own graphics. And I have to do it in MS Paint.

Yeah, that's a real thing that's happening.

So, let’s get down to brass tacks. I’ve never made a video game before in my life. I’m not an artist. Lord knows I have never done a game jam! So, why?

Why not?

Seriously! Why the hell not? The best things I have ever done have never been planned or thought through completely, I just did it. So I’m just going to do it!

Here is the plan for the game:

  • it will be an RPG dungeon crawl
  • it will have a story without dialog
  • the basic premise will be based around order vs. chaos
  • I will have a basic, playable build by September 6, 2017 for download
  • weekly updated builds after that.

Now, the engine I picked out is RPG Maker (haters to the left, because I don’t know how to program). It looks like the big thing that people hate about games made in it is the fact that a vast majority use the basic assets that come with the program. Fair, I would be sick of all my games looking the exact same as well! But I can’t use any graphics made outside MS Paint! So, I will need:

  • Tilesets – these are what the levels are built out of
  • Characters – the “people”
  • Enemies – …well, enemies
  • A window skin – what text boxes/menus are made out of
  • A title screen
  • A Game Over screen
  • Any sort of background images I might need

…yeah, that’s a lot. And, since I’m not an artist and all I can work with is MS Paint, it isn’t going to be pretty.

Say hello to the main character! No bullshit.

So, why did you read all this? Because I’m going to be checking in every few days talking about my work on this project and putting up demos for you guys to play! If you’ve ever wanted to see what it’s like to work on a game, even one as simple as this, here is your chance. I’m looking forward to your feedback and support!

-WriterMonkey