Game Dev Journey pt. 2

There will be an enormous chrono-gap between post 1 and 2. Why is that? Because I’ve tried to get back on the horse. Yes, I’m now attempting to make games once more! And instead of writing about everything that happened between the two, I’m just gonna jump to now because its more interesting to me.

Since I started writing this blog, I have been writing down different ideas about what I could blog about. I now have an enormous list of exciting ideas and topics to blabber on about! But, when I first made this blog I decided to myself that I would do this blog as a way to get away from academics, as a little sanctuary for myself to heal from being in a master’s program (I graduated last Friday, yay!). I notice myself doing a lot more talking than doing here though. It stands out especially because I had set myself to the task of actually moving towards making a game when I created this blog. Basically, I told myself in making this blog that there should be less talking and more doing. Or at least some doing to go along with the talking!

So what pushed me over the edge though?

I recently got the alpha versions for icononoclasts. It has been out for a few years, but I never tried it, and I also got the alpha for Overland, and that just came out. I have been pumped to see what the next thing was going to be from Adam Saltsman (checkpoints podcast had him on). I was a little surprised though that the alpha came with a $20 price tag, but I guess that is just the way things are tending towards these days in the indie industry? What do I know?

Anyway, I played them and I won’t comment too much on them because too much talking, but I was really inspired. The enormous detail and care that has been put into the iconoclasts game is quite touching. I also just like the whole process of creating and releasing games, alphas, the teamwork, even the marketing aspects are now much more interesting. Tom Happ got me thinking about all that actually, and I am paying attention to how the Overland team does their thing. iconoclasts is also a metroidvania, and Overland is set in the post-apocalypse. Those are two things that are like catnip to a cat for me.

ico1

I found the “secret” room in iconoclasts

I must have hit some sort of critical mass though to get making again. I finally got myself to actually open up Game Maker again last night. Before I did that though, I wanted to find the absolute right tutorial to get me going. Shaun Spalding’s was a bit too high of a learning curve for me. He seems to have a knack with coding and I remember there were parts that I could follow by just copying from his videos, and they would work, but I wouldn’t know why they worked. On a fundamental level, I wasn’t getting coding logic. I sorta get variables now because I did like two hours of beginner’s python at codeacademy.com about a month ago. But when I was first following Shaun, variables were like mumbo jumbo to me. Of course, the codeacademy thing didn’t last too long either because it soon felt like it had a serious owl problem. It got really hard, out of nowhere. My main issue I think is that I’m basically illiterate when it comes to computer logic.

1. Code some stuff  2. Code the rest of the fucking game

So which tutorial have a I chosen? I’ve settled on Tom Francis’ beginner’s tutorial. I chose this one because he said he sucks at coding, and I can obviously relate to that. He did start right off with coding though, but I could actually get it. I started yesterday on the first episode, and around 11:30pm I finished the third one. Man, #3 was a doozy! There was a part in the video that still confuses me though at 20 min. or so, where he just creates a variable out of nowhere to solve an issue that I wasn’t sure even existed. Then he added stuff to that kung fu variable move and that confused me even more. But, I tried to stick with it and by the end it kinda made sense. There could have been like a 2.5 video that could explain on that instance/collision stuff. I can’t complain though because its free, right? Beggers can’t be choosers.

I’m going to keep plugging away, but at the end of the third video, he wanted us to play around with all the stuff we’ve learned. For homework, you could say. I suppose that with all that we have learned now, we could do a lot. We could make new enemies appear, or make ourselves die somehow, or whatever, but I still don’t have enough confidence in what I learned to be able to play with it. I feel like I can’t even hold the paintbrush properly in my hand, so how can I use it creatively? There’s the damn owl again! I need more practice on these fundamentals before I can mess around. Yet, because he gave me this homework, I feel it would be disingenuous to jump into episode #4 without fiddling around with it a bit. Hmmm…, fine! I guess I will give it a go and play with a few things…

***time elapses***

Okay, I’m back, I’ve modified the game he had us make and I made a before and after video. I have very little idea about recording stuff, so everything about this is horrible quality, not excluding the game. You gotta start somewhere though! Just don’t laugh to hard. and if you really want to see what’s going on, you’ll probably have to make the video larger because I don’t know how to use OBS.

 

Before: The game is just rather simple. He had us make it so that when we shot the enemy it would spawn a new one somewhere in the room. Fair enough. But his homework was for us to get into the code and use what we have learned to modify it in our way. I’ve forced myself to do just that as evidenced in the video below.

After: I duplicated the line that says creates another instance of the enemy and pasted it directly below it, so when one dies, two appear instead of just one. I actually tried to make it appear as bigger than the previous one, but it created another player character instead. I don’t know why, but it gave me an idea to mess with the player. I copied a bunch of the enemy code and put it into the player code and modified it so rather when the player collides with the enemy the player grows in scale, and the enemy is destroyed and respawns two more like when they get shot with bullets. The player also gets destroyed if it gets large enough, and two more players spawn in a random spot. All that combined, chaos ensues.

Now I won’t feel too guilty to go to episode 4 of the tutorial! I will have to get to it later because I have to get ready for work!

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