One Game A Month, January Game and February Plans

Finally I found some time to write a blogpost about my participation in One Game A Month. To start with, One Game A Month is quite an open (rulewise) experience point based community motivator for game devs to make one game a month (as you probably guessed by the name).

I started quite early in January, as I had a vacation and some spare time for gamedev. But after one and a half week my enthusiam slowed down a lot as my spare time faded away pretty quickly. So all my initial plans to make a really interesting first game got crippled real soon. I was inspired by the theme and tileset suggestion made on the One Game A Month page and wanted to make a game with portculis including game mechanics based on Conway’s Game of Life. It should have been sort of a puzzle/action clicking game where you prevent a fire from spreading in a fortress by throwing buckets of water at it. Additionally you can open the portcullis by hitting a lever with a stone (if there is no fire around) which will add a lot of extinguishing water once in the game’s level.

First try at the level design. tiles are in place.
First try at the level design. tiles are in place.

Barely in time I managed to implement these basic mechanics (you can find the game here) but I couldn’t fulfil my plans to make multiple levels, nice graphical effects like steam appearing if you add water to the fire, and sound effects. Especially not having the time to add multiple levels bothered me a lot cause I wasted quite some time implementing a routine to load levels from an xml file at the start of the month.

This is how the final game looks like.
This is how the final game looks like.

To conclude my January attempts: Am I happy with my game prototype? Not that much. It does work as planned but isn’t that much fun to play and doesn’t look as good as I would have liked it to.

Have I learned something? Yeah definitely. And I guess this is the most important part about that One Game A Month challenge. I could improve my skills in storing level design in a file and load it into the game. Also I made some additional experience about how much effort different things need to get implemented and how much time I can spare in a month for gamedev.

For doing my second game in February I am comparably late to start. Again I am inspired by the suggested theme – music – but already know that I won’t finish my initial plan and idea. But nevertheless I am going to make a small game in February (mostly by converting an old one). So this is what I’m at:

  • Take my Ludum Dare game “Watercolor Wheel Evolution” to convert it
  • Record some handmade guitar music and sound effects
  • Change all the graphics to fancy colored rectangles
  • Try out to implement game control with a gamepad
  • Make it into an topdown arena shooter with autofire on and rather stupid auto-firing enemies

Even this is probably to much to acomplish. I will keep you updated what will come out of this.

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