Without programs like RPGMaker and Gamemaker, I probably would never have been able to get into game development. However, those programs don’t allow newcomers (like me 4 years ago) to design complex games with all the bells and whistles. Luckily, there are groups like the talented Otrera team who are trying their hand at helping new game developers and designers get into the field.
“Otrera is software. It is a web system meant to create original games.” Said Jonathan Bethune, the creator of Otrera. There is a lot to this new system that a lot of other software like Gamemaker and RPGMaker just can’t provide. For example, the software looks into tweaking the background systems of a program; it doesn’t even have to be a video game. Otrera was built for designers to create games ranging from full-blown role-playing adventures to simple table-tops.
The basic setup of Otrera is available on their website, it definitely made looking into the rules and constructs of an idea really simple. There are three main parts to the system; however, in the demo I could only choose to create an engine. From my understanding of what the setup was allowing me to create, it gave me a framework that I am allowed to fill with items. I could use the items to establish how the game was going to be affected based on how the different parts of the framework would interact with each other. It was simple and to the point, and it ended with a chart that explained all of the objects and their relations and parentings, which helped.
With a system like this, it definitely highlights a huge problem that Jonathan Bethune was able to explain: game development has turned about how we create games, not about what goes into them. With how development is a major pillar of game design, there is no standard language or format in the field. Because Otrera was organized in the way it was presented, it was easy to see that a centralized formatting system that can only make things easier.
Otrera is software that allows creators to let their minds go free. It doesn’t worry the user about what they can and can’t do, it just allows them to create. Not only does it allow people to make things, but it organizes that creation into something explainable and understandable. By understanding the idea, this makes it easier to finish the game or present it.
Thankfully, for anyone interested in supporting Otrera, they will be releasing a Kickstarter in a few weeks. You can also evaluate Otrera for free on their website at otreragames.com. Getting into games doesn’t have to be difficult, and Otrera is definitely shaping up to be one of the best tools for helping new designers orient themselves.