Monday, January 9, 2017

[January Memory Dump]

This month was far from a good gamedev month. The holidays combined moving to a new place put a big strain on my free time.

Originally I wanted to have the powerups and bosses implemented by January. Powerups are semi-finished. The functions that control them are there complete and I am now happy with how they look. I just need to add few more powerups to the list of 6 I have now and maybe add an extra effect when they are picked up (especially the powerdowns, they could make the ball/paddle glitchy). The bosses on the other hand, only exist on paper right now and are not even complete there. I still need to sit down and think how to implement them into the existing framework. Then I need to think of how to make them fun; they need to use the same basic mechanic to be destroyed, but need to be different enough to make reaching them rewarding.

I hope I can finish those two soon. After that all I need is some small tweaks, an intro screen and that's it, the game would be complete (outside of sound, that I will probably need some help with anyway). Normally, there would be plenty of polish happening at the end of the project, but I have spent a lot of time making sure that each feature feels good to play as I was implementing it. I think that might save me from the limbo of the final 5% of the game being extra polish. From what I read this is where most gamedevs start experiencing burnout. Fingers crossed I can avoid it!

My urge to finish it is even greater after reading a devlog of another newbie coder - Alex Wiltshire of rockpapershotgun fame. He managed to finish his first game in a week - a timescale that puts my efforts to shame...

So, I now I really want to finish this game (damn, I still need to find a good title for it) and start another one. This breakout clone would be a part of a bigger narrative, that goes through different arcade-y/8bit genres to tell one big overarching story. It is a lofty goal for around 5 games culminating in a small RPG that will use the expanded version of the system I designed for the (yet to be released) Pico-zine #5.

Because I feel that this would be the biggest and the most complex game of the lot, I decided to start experimenting with some stuff for it early. I got Pyxel Edit from the recent Humble Bundle, so I started learning pixelart with Pico-8 restrictions in that program. I started by developing a somewhat post apocalyptic tileset:

The one on the left is my first attempt - a bit of Zelda inspired look. This evolved into the one on the right - a more bleak representation that fits with the idea of the game more. So far I have used over 40 tiles to create that. I will need to be careful about the amount of tiles I use, as there are only 128 8x8 tiles available if I don't use the shared memory. 

Anyway, just wanted to share the lats month's progress here. If you want to stay more up-to-date, I post a lot of smaller updates on Twitter. Now, back to those bosses...

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