As if I need more interests or hobbies to compete with my time, I’m making a videogame. A proper, real actually playable game. I recently threw together a text-adventure using the Twine engine, but obviously text games have limits. I want to make something mechanical and ‘gamey’.
I’m taking up this weird challenge party because I obviously really enjoy and appreciate games and want to contribute in some way, partly because it’s been a long time since I feel I have applied my brain to learning a new skill (Up until a month ago, I had zero knowledge of game development or coding), but mainly just because I think it will be fun. Here goes nothing. How hard can it be?
Really fucking hard, it turns out. BUT! I know why. I’ve done what I always seem to and set my heights stupidly high. Bolstered by my confidence of following and actually understanding dozens of online tutorials, I set about making a Mario-beating 2D side scrolling puzzle game which involved stealth, gravity boots and a proper obey-the-laws-of-physics movement. Within about an hour of putting the building blocks of this thing together, it becomes apparent that I have almost definitely bitten off more than I can chew at this time.
I mean, I managed to get movement working, and even a gravity switch, but I just didn’t quite know what to do with my new toys just yet. It worked, but wasn’t fun…
I was a bit deflated. However, in the absence of any other good ideas, I kept going. Then something incredible happened. I’d read about it before in a number of development blogs, and always really wondered if it were true. Can accidents in your code actually lead to interesting and, more importantly, fun game mechanics?
Apparently so. So, in trying to correctly write code for bullets travelling in a straight line (which I’ve done a dozen times before), after 6+ hours in front of a screen, I accidentally make it so that the bullets will home in on the cursor.
What the hell is this!? Why aren’t they going in a straig..Oh, wait. This is actually quite fun! This would be a great idea for a game…
When life hands you lemons, make them follow your mouse pointer. I have a game idea. One I feel I can finish and make fun with the small amount of experience I have. RADIATA is a game about guiding a small ball of light around a level, avoiding obstacles, and your own cursor.
Within about an hour of work, I managed to knock together a pretty serviceable FYS (Functional Yet Shit) version of the basic premise.
And within about another 30 minutes of tinkering, its now something with a rudimentary difficulty curve (stationary unchanging levels mean you could pretty much go round in circles indefinitely. Now, blocks spawn in random locations each second. Still some kinks to work out, but hey!) and a slightly nicer look (if you can ignore the fact that the Player object looks a bit like a sperm).
Now I’m excited.