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Trapper Zoid


My brief experimentation with prototyping a new game idea in Flash didn't quite get off the ground. I realised pretty early on that I'm way too new with the whole Flash thing to do anything creative within the few hours I had. I spend most of that time fighting against the interface and trying to figure out how to get SVG into Flash (the short version: make and edit SVG in Inkscape, port across to Illustrator, then port across to Flash. Ugly, but it works). I still haven't got the hang of Adobe's vector editing process, mainly because I spend the first fifteen minutes swearing at their bizarre node editing tools before giving up and going back to Inkscape. Now the Easter weekend is over I don't have as much time for game development.

I've now had second thoughts about prototyping game ideas during the final throes of my PhD write-up. While I do want to keep up some dev work as a break from pure PhD stuff, I don't think I've got the creativity right now to do anything impressive. Plus I really need to get to grips with Flash and/or Python before I can do anything; I'm too new at both languages, but I'm limiting my development this year to those two so I can get to know them better.

I'm also a bit worried that I haven't learnt enough of both of these languages given where I currently am in my education-slash-career. I'm going to be finishing up my Ph.D. in the next two or three months (hopefully!), and I'm not 100% sure on what I'll be doing next. There's still a bit of me that wants to do indie game development as a career, but a larger part of me knows I probably can't get that off the ground for a while and I'll need to do something else for a bit. But it's still a concept I'm not prepared to close off in my not-so-distant future.

My gut feeling is that if I were to go down the indie path, I should be focusing on something like Flash for web development, or alternatively something like Python with C extensions for a slightly more standard yet rapid development. Or maybe both. But to get a feel of which is best, I need more experience with actual game development with both of them.

Hence I'm thinking it might be a nice side project while I'm finishing up my PhD to do the standard game development cycle of simple games in both languages, in a attempt to get up to speed with the basics. Maybe start with the Space Invaders type game I was making before my laptop had those problems last year, and complete it up to a reasonable level in both Flash and Python with one of the game libraries out there (PyGame and the like). Then see where to go after that - maybe porting across some of my SDL/OpenGL based game libraries I've already written to Python, or more animation practice in Flash; that kind of thing.

Of course, whatever I end up doing will take a while as this is definitely down in my priority list as I'm writing up my thesis dissertation. Although I'm hoping to take a month or two off once I'm done for a bit of a holiday (and to regain a bit of sanity), and maybe I can do a bit more then.

Procrastination over for now; back to writing. Hopefully more game stuff later in the week or on the weekend.
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