Opposite to my plans, I didn’t continue my game development projects the last five months. Instead, my gamedev ambitions almost completely ceased during the course of last year. So with this blog post I want to give some insight on what has been going on and what I’m planning to do this year regarding my gamedev ambitions.
The initial momentum of 2013
After a pretty succesful 2012 with my game development projects, I was quite motivated to contribute to the OneGameAMonth idea. I was convinced that trying to make a game a month would not only amplify my game development skills but also keep me motivated to keep on making games throughout the year.
Started with gamedev today, but haven’t written a single line of code yet. I just made some basic sprites and a mockup of the main screen of the game. The trees will grow by themselves and you can construct tree-buildings that will have an impact on the three resources. These resources will influence the growth of the trees.
Sounds confusing? Yeah, I’m still not sure about the main game mechanics. But the game will look similar to that mockup.
Quite late, but just within the 96 hrs grace period, I finished my March entry for OneGameAMonth. This game is a very simple roguelike without real graphics.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward. Just click on an arrow on the top of the screen to progress, click the monster to fight, or click the brown treasure to open. You can only advance if a room is cleared and there are empty rooms on your way.
There are four colors to find which also serve as your stats. Yellow improves maximum health, blue regeneration, red is for damage and green prevents some damage.
I’ve finished my second game for OneGameAMonth and this time even one day before the month ends ;). This game is sort of an arena bullet hell shooter. My initial plan with it was to make a game where the automatic shooting of bullets matches with the rythm of the music (as the theme suggestion in February was “music”). In the current state, this feature is rather a minimal electronic beat. So you can get the basic idea but it isn’t as nice as I’ve planned.
Another thing I didn’t implement is control with a gamepad. This would probably make such kind of game much more fun to play, so I will eventually add that feature later. Other things I can imagine to add are:
Increase the rate of bullets appearing with the escalation in a level (by collecting dark green blocks)
Add more sound effects and guitar made sound effects instead of the bfxr ones
Add a two player mode
Increase screen resolution to full HD for console like play on the TV
Add some particle like effects
More variations in enemies and their bullet types and directions
As you can see, there are still a lot of things to improve. Nevertheless I’m pretty happy with how the game came out. The development time was rather short (about 8 hours at all) as I recycled my game Watercolor Wheel Evolution that I’ve made for Ludum Dare with my 3 year old daughter (Just noticed the old game’s name is still displayed as the window title).
I even kept the evolution mechanism for the level progression, so if you come to playing more than one level you will eventually notice slight differences in player and enemy behaviour due to strange evolution effects.
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.
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.
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: