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The Dev Journal

The Dev Journal: How I brought new life to an already wasted creation

Posted by , in Diary 19 December 2013 - - - - - - · 1,318 views
bringing, new, ideas, to, the and 6 more...
Chapter 5 - Adding ingredients I loved to the cauldron.

The first game I got into was not actually a PC game, but rather the oldies my dad put on a CD-ROM for me to play with. The CD-ROM was packed with emulators and old copies of obsoleted abandonwares, such as The Incredible Machines, The Oregon Trail, Peanuts: Math and Numbers, Jumpstart First Grade and Second Grade.

These games are what placed me on a track to gaming. But what exactly happened that made me jumped on a bandwagon on a road to game development? The answer is none other than Blizzard's WarCraft III: The Reign of Chaos.

Prior to that, I started playing my first PC game, Sid Meier's Civilization III. It taught me the basics of turn-based strategy, the history of mankind, how to change the tides by strategically placing units, towns, and colonies at the right spots, and how to engage in trading with others. Everything else is just, meh, I'm not really into that stuff.

Then moving on from Civ III, I started playing RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 for PC, and SimCity 4. These games taught me how to achieve the achieveable and get rewards for it by working with what I got in hand. That's open-ended for you. To me, it's more like building/simulation, where you interact with something, and get a reaction from it.

Now, with the strategy and building in hand, mashing the ingredients up, and we get WarCraft III: RoC. Here's where the magic comes around. As I'm playing real-time strategy games, I started to understand the meaning of formulating a plan from the start. What actions should I need to do in order to do something in the future? What do I need to build in order to survive? This course of action is what led me to like playing real-time strategy games, and also placed a seed in my mind.


Now, the magic is activating. The seed has grown in onto me, and I feel like I wanted to put in my passion for playing real-time strategy games into my creation. A dead creation, so to say.

Here's what I came up with while I'm starting to lose faith in mankind for not being able to provide useful feedback from my last experiment. I'll copy/paste them below:

1. Any ideas are sufficient, regardless of it being mediocre, lame, or awesome.
2. I have an RTS planned out. I only have this demo, along with the source code provided, completed. The goal is to make it as a game, according to test-driven development rules that were set before the beginning stages of programming.
3. Timeframe: 8 months or more. As much work I can get from my schedule while in the police force. Highly unlikely that I get at least 2 hours or more of work from this.

When I ask for ideas, I meant for people to think up of anything, any game themes, or any run-on sentences, such as "Once upon a time...", or "Look, there's something over there!", etc.

Rumaging through what I have in mind, a pixel-based RTS game, with no prior training in game A.I., and have conscription on my schedule, which cuts down so many hours of man-work on this hobby. I like to play building and simulating games, so I have "Buildings" and "Simulation" on my mind.

And then, boom! An idea came through to me, all by itself.

I now introduce to you a new game, in the next chapter.


Chapter 6 - Pixavive Survival, Alpha version.

That's it, the game finally has an actual structure as a game, however small and feature-lacking it may be.

The first version, with the notice shown here, didn't have what I called it a "game." It didn't have a title, no options, no tutorials, or anything else other than the "core" of the game. What is the "core"?, you may ask. A game core is a minimalistic game, consists of nothing but the game. If you clicked on the link given above, download the ZIP file, extract the JAR file, and execute it, you will see what it means as a "game core." Programs like these are easily labeled as "demo," but I think differently. A "demo" is technically a program that "demonstrates" a technique others have made during the course of development.

Now, what's so special about this "first version" I have here? It's easy! For the first time, I have given life to a worthless application. I have given it something it can hold dearly on to, and that itself gives motivation and determination for the developer (which is me, of course!) to continue writing code for it. By writing more code to an already dead project, but with new vigor, that dead project is no longer dead. I've revived it!

That's it, the significance is that.

From here on out, I'll talk more about the technical details about this "game," and touch upon the shortcomings of this "game's" evolution.


To be continued...


The First Journey: I hate this so much...

Posted by , in Diary 01 December 2013 - - - - - - · 1,469 views
the, first
Chapter 1 - The Introduction I Disliked About.

This is the first part of the many infinite journal entries I'll be doing in the future. This is a diary, without written dates or manuscripts about identities in which they are not relevant to what I'm about to do and write, that only keeps log of my production and developments of game projects I had done since I graduated from college. How long I'll be doing this is not important, but it is what I'll be doing when I'm on my computer, and doing nothing but typing, typing, and more typing.

Many people are doing blogs to remind them of their past, their experiences, and their knowledge. That's a good thing, and I'm following along. Some day, I'll be able to explain to my superiors that I created this journal just for them to view/read, and probably leave out the details that follows during my interviews and such. This way, I can easily get a raise, surprise my bosses, get more money to pay off future expenses, etc. Oh, a man can dream, right?

This is the first entry, and the start of many frustrating moments where I just don't have the time to write this down or something. But I don't have anything else to do other than to waste my time, so why not start doing this? It's a thought worth pondering, I guess...

So, where should I start?

There was a time that I was working on an Android college project, but I felt like the whole project is forced upon me to complete. At the end, I do not like the way how it turns out, nor do I miss the project and its good times. There's probably none of it.

That leads me to think, what else can I start off? Oh I know, my current game development project, the so-called "Demo" game.

But before venturing into the realms of my Demo project, I must insist to you, that I write entries of this diary after I had completed a milestone. Note that milestones I had given to myself are, in reality, just simple goals that can be easily met if motivated long enough. If I don't reach the next milestone, I probably wouldn't be writing an entry here, would I? There's no point in remembering all the hardships and pain I have to endure when I'm stuck in a loop somewhere.

For future references, I can tell you that all my projects are hosted first-handedly at The Helper Forums. (Link here.) This is the place where I began my journey a long time ago, and it's now a part of me. If you wanted to look at my past projects, you may follow the link given above, and browse around, until you find me. You should be able to find all of my projects under my profile name, if there's nothing changed at the time of this piece being written down.

Now, let's delve ourselves in the road of my journey...


Chapter 2 - My Current Game Project, The Demo.

Posted Image

Yeah, that's it. My project's first ever game logo. I love it. I may be going to hell for this, but who cares?

The very first development started off in a different direction. I'll be honest with you, I don't even know what I'm doing at the time. The demo consists of nothing but nothing. I'll quote what I said down below, so you don't have to leave the page just to read my old submissions.

First submission of the "Demo" game.

I would like to share something with you guys, so I can get some feedback on what directions I should go.

Here is a Java program consisting of a white box in a black background. You control a light pink square by left clicking to select it, and right clicking to move. A green square follows you where ever you go.

It's bland, it's not really much. But it's a concept I'm experimenting with during the little free time on my hands.

And here's what it looks like when you start the game:

Posted Image

At the time, I was playing around with how to select the unit by left-clicking using the mouse, and moving the unit by right-clicking using the mouse.

Posted Image

That's the gist of the demo. Practicing what I know is definitely fun to do, especially the logic behind all of this. Now the main problem I have yet to face lingers when I did this, and you readers probably already knew about this. Graphics. I couldn't for the life of me get to use good-looking artworks for the demo. The best I can do is to use pixel manipulation techniques to (lamely) achieve what I wanted to do. I don't know how, and reading some graphics books won't help you delve into this problem and work the solution out.

Maybe I should start asking people how to do this better in the future... Good plan, I suppose. Now comes my review of this demo, since you really don't think I'm just here showing off my demo just for nothing, right?

The flaws of this demo is that this "demo" is merely an application. An useless, bland, empty application that has no uses. To a newbie programmer, they probably don't even know what this demo is for really, even after all the introduction that said about this demo's purpose of life. The only action you're able to see is the green enemy unit chasing you forever until you quit the application. And while the enemy is chasing you, you couldn't bring yourself to stay attentive to the application, after all, this "demo" isn't really a "game."

And now, here's where the meaning of this journey becomes important to you readers. Do you now realize what problems my demo is having? It turns out that there are a lot of problems that I can easily explain it to you:
  • No motive to continue "playing" the demo.
  • No meaningful actions that give off incentives to keep the player glued to the screen.
  • No rewards. How can you win when the enemy unit is chasing you constantly with no consequences?
  • No story. Who is the enemy? Why is the enemy chasing you? What is with the non-working border surrounding both of the units?
  • No scenarios. What is the game plot? If there's no game plot, can a "user" make up one?
  • No feedback. No one wants to comment about a useless "application" that does nothing. Try giving some inputs yourself, I welcome anything from you.
And that's how, instead of receiving feedback about the demo and what else I can add to it, I get comments about my programming taste. It's just sad.

But one thing that led to another, I started to give new life to this demo. I can start telling you all about this exciting story, but I need to know if you can answer or complete these questions before moving on.
  • Can you come up with just one simple feedback, based on the first revision of this "demo" I have shown you?
  • If you were in my shoes, would you rather scrap this project and start over?
Post your answers in the comments below, and I'll gladly read them, even if you post your animadversions of me, my diary, and/or this demo.


To be continued...