Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Results of MiniLD20: A little introspection

Warning: This blog post has a lot of introspection and very little technical things, you can skip it if you're just interested in how games are made by other people.

As strange as it sounds I actually made a game.
Well.. it can barely be called a game and I'm not proud of it in the slightest.
I have to admit the theme kind of screwed me over since I'm no good with abstract themes, but still I probably could've done better.
The "game" was a small non animated tank with a drill on it going through a series of letters that spelled "GREED" and they disappeared when it touched them. I didn't even add particle effects. After destroying all of them a big "you win" creen appeared and that's it.
It was complete and utter piece of shit that would probably make this world better if it never existed.
So... why I am blogging about it?
Well... Once I made and submitted it it occured to me that it actually works as a poof of concept for my engine. I didn't have any problems making it. The coding party took only a few minutes and while I did it in an hour, most of that time was spent chatting on Ludumdare IRC channel and watching youtube videos.
So... what does "proof of concept" mean to me? Well, I realized how easy is to add new mechanics in my engine, and I saw how all those time made my engine better and better!
Then why didn't I made more games on it?
The problem is with me getting caught in the details, and not being able to complete a project on my own. I have lots of Ideas for new gameplay mechanics and I can apply them quickly but that's about it for me. I love developing new stuff more than I like polishing it and working with it for longer periods of time. I also invent new mechanics without thinking of how they can be used in the actual game, rather than just a toy to play around with.
For example: after spending some hours programming after I've released my miniLD20 piece of crap (AKA "game" ) I made a small prototype where you controlled a kind of protozoar with to tails.
Here's a screenie:

And that was about it.
I really can't think of any interesting gameplay for it, I'm only good in adding new feature/mechanic and then letting it go without using it again.

Another new mechanic I added was kind of a gravity field, it's kind of a coming back to roots thing as I've done that already before on my old version of the engine (while it was still called El_Poho). But then I've lost my will to use it.

So... why can't I continue working on something and then eventually turn it into a game?
I have a few theories.
The main one is that I need leadership. I've noticed that when I work in teams during classes I make a very bad leader, and a very bad follower, however being the right hand mand of the leader is the perfect spot for me: I get my share of power so I can expand my creativity,but the leader is always directing my actions so I don't get sidetracked so easily. Any other position for me ends up badly. I love to be where the action is and I love challenges but it's hard for me to know what to do next.

Second reason is that I want to do new innovative stuff. But as soon as I implement the hardest part of it it stops looking so innovative for me and I get bored with it. And since I work alone on my project there's noone telling me "you need to finish doing this game/project". Although I shouldn't, I rely heavily on outside influence when I see other people stop caring about what I do I stop as well, and fall into procrastination.

There's probably a few other reaasons to my lack of finished projects but This post is already long as it is.
Sorry for making you read about myself but sometimes I need to vent my anxieties somewhere.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

MiniLD Commitement

Here's the log of the chat I had with the awesome people of Ludumdare IRC channel:

02:03 Spliter        ok, I'm gonna try to do something this time
02:04 Spliter        if I don't have anything at the end of miniLD I'll ....uh... what's a good compromise that's   harsh but isn't oo harsh like quitting game deving?
02:06 thedaian    hmmmm
02:06 thedaian    hard to say, really
02:06 mrfun         you have to watch the hannah montana the movie
02:06 Spliter        D:
02:07 thedaian     or any of the twilight movies
02:07 Spliter        I said something that's less harsh than quitting game dev, not something worse than going to hell!
02:07 Spliter        ok
02:07 thedaian     and then write a blog post about it with a detailed review
02:08 Spliter        It's decided, if I don't have nothing to show for after the end of miniLD I'll have to watch Hannah Montana the movie and then watch all of the released twilight movies!
02:08 TenjouUtena     You have to make your next game in Brainfuck or something.
02:08 Spliter        and then write a blog post about it
02:08 Spliter        and you're all my witnesses!
02:08 iFire            I spent like 20 minutes on circles and arrows >.<
02:08 Spliter         If I don't do none of those things you'll call me weiner-butt for the rest of my life
02:09 iFire            some people don't work under pressure
02:09 thedaian     banned from channel until the full LD!
02:09 Spliter        D:
02:09 Spliter        when is it again?
02:10 mrfun         but will you video blog about each movie dressed as a lead character?
02:10 Spliter        mrfun: no camera, and no money for corsdressing
02:10 Spliter        oh wait
02:10 Spliter        I have a camera
02:10 thedaian     mid or late august i think
02:10 Spliter        it's shitty as shit but it works
02:11 thedaian     no need to dress as a character from the movie, and no need to video blog, but some pictures of you with the movies would be good
02:11 Spliter        ok
02:11 Spliter        I'm commited then!
02:12 thedaian     make a blog post documenting this would be good
02:12 Spliter        ok!
02:12 thedaian     so there's some more proof

tldr version:
I decided to do something in this miniLD and watch Hannah Montana and all Twilight movies if I don't, I'll also have to blog about the experience and post pictures.

So yeah, I'm commited for this miniLD or I shall suffer the consequences. This blog post is the proof, the participants of the chat are the witnesses.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The joy of prototyping

One of the biggest problems I face when doing tools for my game is the sheer size of it all and my general lack of experience doing usefull things (as oposed to screwing around).
The biggest challenge I'm facing right now is making a level editor that be called a 2D version of Valve Hammer Editor.

Yes. I'm that stupid to try making a huge editor on my own with barely any prior experience. How did it go? Well... I failed miserably before I even begun. The sheer number of features I want in my editor is daunting. Implementing them on their own is already quite a task, not to mention integrating them all into one big editor where every piece has to cooperate with the rest.