One day I was looking around on GameJolt and saw a Fireside article by a developer called @jacklehamster, entitled: “That time I chose to leave my gamedev passion on the side of the road; A story about my love and hate relationship with game programming.” It’s about his romance with game programming: his sections are entitled, “It was love at first sight,” “The younger years,” “The breakup,” “Missing my first love,” “An unstoppable passion,” “Fear of commitment,” and “The way I see it.” Maybe this article touched on me because I was still fresh from a breakup I did not want to happen, and any inkling of romance could make me miss it terribly. But for whatever reason, this article (a very good one I encourage everyone to read) seemed to inspire a lot of thought in me, particularly about his need for game development to be a career, and his slight aversion to leave game development as “just a hobby.”
I slacked off for a week writing a blog, so this post actually represents two weeks of work. However, I can say that if there seems to be a lot done, it’s not just because there is two weeks of work involved. By the second week, I realized I was on the home stretch and did a lot of work. This will be the last blog post I forsee for CBI.
Last week ended on a bum note, with a game that did not seem to be any fun, begging the question, “Why continue?” I continued anyway, and I’m glad I did. Unfortunately, though, this week ends on a bum note as well.
By the end of this week, my game finally had a working prototype. All the systems that I felt were needed were in place. The game “AI” was completed. I was finally able to play my game and see what it was like…
… It sucks.
One thing I’ve learned in the process of developing my game is that there will be features that I am just not looking forward to adding because I know they will be more complicated than anything else I had added up to that point. However, these are the features that my game absolutely must have. By requiring that I work on my game every night, I force myself to confront these challenges and discover that I can in fact surmount them. And when I do, my game becomes so much better.
I think I was being somewhat optimistic when stating that I would have a prototype working by this week. I do have a tendency for optimism that I find hard to check. I am nowhere near a working prototype, but this does not bother me. I have managed to keep to a more important goal: working on my game every night for at least an hour, even if this does not involve any coding. For now, I would much rather develop the habit of working on my game than worry about where I am in its development. My strategy for motivating myself to keep working has been to think of one task I believe I could accomplish by the end of the night, be it adding a new feature or resolving some bug, then make it a goal to complete that task. These little goals keep me from being swamped by what is likely to be the biggest game project I have attempted to date, and what I believe could be a good game that challenges my programming abilities and, even better, is completely mine from concept to completion (and hopefully it will be fun too).
Mark Alexander started a series of blog posts a few months ago that I have read religiously every week. In his blog, he describes how he is making a game in GameMaker: Studio from start to finish, providing me valuable insight in not only tips, tricks, and techniques in game design and programming, but also the process of how to make a game. I have been itching to make a game ever since August when I started using GameMaker, and I have always planned to get back into design once I earned my bachelor’s degree; I even paid for the full version and the HTML5 export module, and published the first game I ever made on GameJolt. The semester is now over, and it’s time to make use of my investment. And like Mark Alexander, I will be documenting my process in a series of blogs.