Don’t really know how to start this kind of thing, so ill just dive right in.
I caught the game making bug some 2 years ago, when i was dreaming about some awesome games that “someone” should make and seemingly out of nowhere i said to myself “why don’t I just make a game?”. Quick google search later, turns out there are whole bunch of free tools that enable anyone to just start making games with almost no barrier to entry. Encouraged by this, i had to decide on which tool i should use to make my game. Bunch of articles suggested Game Maker studio by YoYo games because of its newbie friendliness without sacrificing the ability to make fully featured (2D thou) games.
So i just dove in, searched on YouTube for most popular game maker tutorials, which are made by Shaun Spalding and just went along with him. In no time i could make very primitive game prototypes. I was so ecstatic because i had almost zero programming knowledge and yet i could MAKE things that weren’t there before.
With little programming/design knowledge and experience, i obviously thought i was going to make the best video game anyone had ever seen, everyone was gonna praise me for my creativity and skills and bla bla bla …..yea, that didn’t happen. I first hand experienced two biggest hurdles for first time game developers – overambition and feature creep. So for next bunch of projects i had to scale back both of these, with every game idea being slightly more manageable and doable. So lets quickly go through all of my failed game ideas and how far i made it:
The first idea i had was a metroidvania game with a huge map with interesting of enemies and locations etc.. I was and still am a sucker for metroidvania games so it was logical that i tried my hand at this genre. But i didn’t want to just create generic metroidvania game, i wanted to add something of my own. The thing that got me exited was the the gimmick of rhythm and general music theme.
Certainly too ambitious for me at the time an probably even now. Still a learning experience.
After i figured that building massive metroidvania game on my own as the first project was not feasible, i decided to go more retro. A 2d platforming game in vein of old NES Darkwing Duck. On the surface it seems like simple game that shouldn’t be too complicated, but as always feature creep claims another victim. The abilities of playable characters and scope and complexity of the levels ballooned way too high for me to handle.
This game was the game in which i tried to implement online multiplayer(not successfully). Still this game was at somewhat playable state, so again, one step closer to game that i can complete.
Time Traveling Cat Game:
Next game that i tried to tackle was even smaller in scope, with levels the size of maybe 2 or 3 screens. This time the roadblock to fully realize this game was the complexity if the underlying system that i wanted to implement. The thought was that the cat (that’s you as a player) would witness the death of her owner and with the newfound knowledge of how it was gonna happen, you could prevent it by interacting with the world. Simple in principle, but gets really complicated when you want more than one solution and the solutions to be interconnected.
With this game i tried to add dynamic lighting and day/night cycle. I think it is a neat idea for a game, and i might return to it.
Apocalypse Fort Defense:
With the last game i reduced the scope to 2 to 3 screen wide multiple levels, so this time i made the whole game to be a single level. Now i actually could feel i could manage the whole game. Only difficult part was the implementation of many different enemy types and their AI. While other games are fully on the back burner, this one is still somewhat on my mind and i definitely plan to finish it.
With this game i dabbled with shaders, which in game maker are implemented with OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) which is also based on C++, so it was whole another beast.
So, next post will be about the actual game that i am making right now. I hope i will continue making these diaries and hopefully someone will read them and get something out of them.