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A journey into game development

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It's finished!

well, not exactly. But I reached my first milestone!

It's not pretty but it's playable and technically, it's a game . There's also a menu screen and a "Game Over" screen which I won't even show because it's just text at the moment and really isn't worthy of a screenshot.
But the game has scoring, asteroids flying towards the player, some particle effects, background sounds and simple collision detection. And I'm amazed at what's doable in a couple of days

There is still a lot of things on my TODO list and I will keep coming back and improve. Right now, I'm thinking of where to go next...




Let's get going

Well after attending this year's GDC, watching a lot of interesting talks and panels and meeting all those motivated people, I decided to finally stop playing games and start coding something that actually gets finished. I'm using this block to document my journey and try to give tips so you guys are not doing the same mistakes I do

So without further ado, let's get going.

I really got inspired by the Indie Gaming Scene, especially the XBox Live Indie Scene in particular so I decided to refresh my XNA skills and create a small game from start to finish. With about 20 different game ideas on my notebook I discarded all the over ambitious ones and the ones were I need a lot of artistic skills and was left with ... nothing

Hmm, ok so maybe my own game ideas are not fit for a small first game to get my feet wet, so I kept thinking and finally came up with the idea of a simple space shooter (think X-Out or Katakis). Space Ships are easy to model and getting a first version ready to iterate on shouldn't take more that a couple of days.

So now that I have the basic game idea, let's get back to the problem of motivation. For me, the main problem is getting motivated to start coding after a long work day, so I took an advice I got at GDC (I think it was Andy Schatz who mentioned this) :

Define your tasks such that each task can easily be done on a day or in a couple of hours. So when you start out coding, designing, modeling etc. you already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing is more depressing than designing and coding your big Game Enigine for a month without getting nearer to the finishing line. Break down big tasks into smaller ones. Finishing a task quickly is really rewarding and keeps you going. For example, this is my current task list for the game :

* Sound Effects
* Music
* Remodel Ship
* Remodel Rockets
* Colission Detection between shots and player/enemy
* Make enemies shoot
* Title Screen
* Score/Lives/Energy Whatever Overlay

All these tasks are easy to do and once they work in the game, you can iterate on those areas and polish them.



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