GameDev 2019: 2019 Recap
Looking back at 201905.02.2020 - 12:50
This is a blog post looking back at the year. What things went well, what went not so well? What are the things I struggled with and is there something to learn from my mistakes for the future?
Always my favorite thing about every project is getting started. A clean slate, no dependencies, creating the initial code structure of the project. Everything added is a major improvement and progress is really fast.
This is one of the first screen shots at a point where the game was able to load a map, but not much more. I had my map editor before I started this project and this was a rather simple test map, but this is how the game looked for a while. At the end of the first month the most fundamental mechanics (towers, entities, projectiles) were in the game. Over the next weeks I added animated entities, debuffs, the minimap, sounds and the wooden design for the user interface, which had a few iterations since then, but is still in a wooden theme.
Progress slowed down a bit in the spring and there were a bunch of other things I wanted to work on, so I decided to take a break over the easter time. During the break I worked on some improvements to this website that were starting to bother me when creating a blog post every week. I also experimented a bit with the paypal API and made the basic structure of a shop website. And finally I created my "smart" raspberry pi surveillance camera, which was able to detect moving animals and other things and made some nice images.
Getting back to work on the game after the break I was really motivated and made some of my favorite things during that time, most notable the new water rendering, which I still love and the rogue like game mode, which has since become the main focus of the game.
The summer went fairly well. Progress wasn't super fast, but at a very consistent rate for a while. The biggest struggle was the construction noise, when they started to build multiple houses right next door on what used to be a protected area until they changed it. The noise started at 7am and was just as loud inside the house as outside when trying to work on the front porch. The main thing I worked on over the summer was polishing different parts of the game and implementing a lot of minor features. I created the main menu functionality, like starting a game with different maps and settings and a better multiplayer lobby. I also made the island map with the new water rendering and the tropical island theme is still my favorite. Towards the end of the summer I overhauled my text rendering and made it a lot faster than the freetype based version I was using before. Also in about september Blender 2.8 was released or at least I tried it at that point and it had some improvements in the collada exporter so with that I rewrote my animated model code, skipped some of my more ambitious plans from my previous version and made it a lot better and easier to use.
Progress was getting a lot more inconsistent during the fall. There were some weeks and days with a decent amount of progress, but there were also some days were I didn't get much done at all. The ongoing construction noise was getting to me, I had a few minor colds and additionally the type of work was shifting towards more tedious and repeating tasks, which I tend to struggle with. The main thing I was dreading was adding all the content to the game. While I love creating a few towers with unique looks and abilities, creating 50+ towers in a row is really difficult for me. Looking back at it, I think I should have taken a break at the beginning of fall, similar to my break in the spring where I didn't work on the game at all for some time and then get back into it with renewed motivation. But I kept working and made more improvements to make it as easy as possible to add more content. Also at the beginning of october, after a short break for ludum dare, I added the ability to add distant terrain to the editor and made a new desert map with small hills in the background.
Other things that got done during the fall were a completely overhauled network protocol, slow motion and more ui refinements. And finally, shortly before christmas I started to add more towers, but I only managed to add a few before getting stuck and christmas came around and I took a break.
Start of 2020
I took some time off over christmas and new years. Unfortunately I got sick after that and it took me a while to get back into things again. I also thought about a few things during that time and questioned a few big game design decisions and I still don't know how I feel about some of them. Towards the end of january I finally started with this blogpost and it took me a while to write this. Additionally I worked on a few other things while writing this like some long overdue bugfixes for my messenger and helping my sister with the creation of her website. I am hoping to get back to work on my game now and start the final push towards the release.
I also want to start using twitter this year to share smaller updates while I am working on them, so follow me there: https://twitter.com/PingPoli
by Christian - 05.02.2020 - 12:50