@oriongu, it truly has been a joy to watch how this project and your learning have progressed together. I greatly appreciate how people share their journeys with others. I think it’s very inspiring, so thanks for sharing it with us!
As for possible next steps you could take. In today’s world, making a commercialized game is a MASSIVE undertaking. There’s a reason game studios end up with hundreds of people working on a game.
That said, people often forget that indie games are often truly very enjoyable experiences…both for the game developer, as well as the people playing it.
If I could offer one simple idea…no matter what you do with it, build a community around it. Build a fan-base for the content, and a community of people who are interested in its development. Not too dissimilar from what you’ve done here already. In my experience with Babylon, one of the most life-giving and encouraging things we’ve done is to help foster this wonderful community. Seriously, this community has given us ideas, inspiration, passion, perseverance. Everything we’ve needed to continue our own journey.
Now for the specifics of where this game could go? I’d turn it around on you and ask, what is something you’re personally truly passionate about. Is it all about the learning? Is it about the idea of possibly making some money with this? Is it about doing something in collaboration with other people? What is your main goal that you’d personally like to get out of the next phase.
I’ll tell you an idea that @jelster and I have played around with for the past couple years as he was in the process of bringing his book to life.
Imagine a game that was completely open source…so anyone could add new features to the game. The ruleset of the game (the core game logic) existed in the repo. How characters move, how inventory might work, how the point system works, etc.
The content of the game however could be something completely different. Imagine a second repo where people could upload their own assets or game entities…or taking that further…what if a person could upload their own “encounter”…a single file that the core game consumes and then offers to the player.
In this hypothetical world where the game is somewhat separate from the content, you could foster two different creative areas…1, the game itself, 2 the content of the game.
In this hypothetical world, the content would effectively be generated by a community. So you’d maybe start with a basic character and then the game reads the community directory of assets and creates adventures or encounters for your character. Play the game the first time and your character has to fight zombie ice cream cones. Spin up the game a week later and now your character has to barter with cheating scandalous mutant Hot Sauce bottles.
Ok random, I know, but the uber idea is this, you create an open source game framework, and then build it to be modular from a content standpoint. Allow anyone to add their own content (within a specific framework of following the game rules) and create a public github repo that allows anyone to add their own custom content to the game…not just for themselves, but for everyone! Live! So the game is constantly pulling content from this public repo.
Crazy idea, I know. The only piece of advice would be to make sure you moderate the community repo so that no offensive content comes in.
Anyways…hope that gives you something to chew on and think about.