Game Dev Journey pt. 1

logo

I made this logo for the blog. Because there was a space that says “logo”. Its supposed to be a coffee mug with coffee in it. When I put it in the logo space, I realized it looked, hmm, somewhat lacking. So, my digital art skills might need a bit of work apparently. If you are wondering about the dog. That’s Scrappy. He’s my homie. I cropped the following picture of him at the park to make this.

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But anyhow, I’m not entirely devoid of artistic skill. I just haven’t made the leap to creating art on a computer. I’m used to messy, smudgy, dirty, greasy art. For me its a very tactile kinesthetic experience. At one point in my life I wanted to be an artist and as long as I can recall, I made art. That is, until adulthood and life happened. My skills are now but an empty husk of what they once were. Sad face.

pastelk

See, a portrait of my wifey made with oil pastels (my favorite medium) by yours truly.

Now, like any person who aspires to game design. I have a few ideas that I would like to be able to try out. Game ideas. I know, I know… game ideas are a dime a dozen and really its whether or not you can actually make a game and release it that matters. Or at least everybody on Gamasutra.com would have you believe. I mean, I believe it too. But, I can’t help but make ideas up as I meander about the Earth.

Anyway though, you don’t really need to have amazing digital art skills – right?- to make a game these days. You can have the “grey box” thing, instead of a player, jumping around. So if I was just making a platformer, like something on the level of Metroid (my ultimate childhood favorite game) you just need to get some sort of game dev program, like game maker, or Unity, and you’re on your way, right? The bar is much lower for anybody who wants to get into games, its the 21st cennnnturrrrrrrry!

I actually did that, – gee! is it a couple years ago now? With mildly better art than a grey box. It was a simple prototype platformer I made on Game Maker for Mac, tentatively called “Power Girl” because because. I watched this guy, Shaun Spalding’s tutorials about how to make a game. He’s a nice guy with a few games of his own. I believe he now works for Yo-Yo Games, the maker of .. umm Game Maker. Here’s a link to his youtube channel. But, he goes into coding to make sure that things are working the way they are supposed to and giving you all sorts of control over the game that you wouldn’t otherwise have if you just did the drag and drop stuff.

I had taken notes of all the stuff that I learned from him over the course of watching his videos. All the code. It was hard work! I have never coded in my life and honestly a lot of it went over my head. I learned how to make a basic platformer, got a bit busy with life for a month and came back to it realizing that I had forgotten everything. I tried again. I got a little better of a prototype for my game and… again, life happened and it went all down the tubes again.  For the life of me, I cannot remember anything when it comes to coding! And, it just didn’t have the right feel that I wanted. I wanted something like the Metroid character control feel. And then I thought about how gravity and running, stopping, jumping worked in the original Super Mario Bros. and realized how utterly amazing it was. It crushed my desire to make a game for awhile because apparently I’m a lousy perfectionist? If the game didn’t feel right, I didn’t want to move on. At all. Any advice for me about this anybody?

I deleted all my progress and all the assets, like a salty bastard apparently  (I just tried to look for them and they are all gone). I have a few sketchy things in a drawing pad left as a testament of my… attempt.

It was a rip-off of Metroid, but I had some twists in mind for the game. I was going to play on the conventions of Metroid and video games in general, flip lots of stuff around while adding some new mechanics. Oh man it would have been a work of genius. *snicker* Of course, I couldn’t even get the right jump feel, nor could I remember a lick of code, or get my head around computer logic without any background in it whatsoever.

That picture with the code is of course incomprehensible to me right now. I will say that Axiom Verge (which was absolutely amazing) did not have the control feel I wanted to put into my game. If I were to have made this game, I would have stopped and worked on the jump and gravity feel and not have gone on to make anything else until I was done. Apparently I’m weird like that.  The same goes for now.. and I still don’t know how to do it. I did watch a great video about a month ago about Super Mario Bros. jump feel which made me smile because just in the aspect of jumping/running/grav,it really is a work of genius. I also cry on the inside from being all jelly.

Later, at one point I tried to mod Metroid by downloading some program from the interwebs (Metroid Database Website), but hell if I knew how to use it. And I didn’t know how to create new mechanics or if it were possible.

So that’s really it as far as this game. I have a document with my ideas somewhere still about the game, but that’s really where it died. Poor Power Girl. :*(

 

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