Monday 1 January 2018

Improvement over 2017

This is going to be a more "blog"-like video than usual, so I hope you lot don't mind too much.

I think I can recognize that my skills have come a long way over the course of this past year, even if they're still very far from perfect. This time last year I was working on a spin-off game to a strange audio show named Spiderman in the Rhineland, which I technically co-host with other a friend of mine known as Magos on YouTube.

It was a fairly simple walking simulator style thing where the player would hold the up arrow key for about two minutes while they passed some poorly drawn pixel art backdrops. The backdrops weren't particularly great, though creating them was very helpful towards developing my ability to draw pixel art.

It's actually quite funny, you could see the backdrops improving as you played through the levels due to how awful I was at the beginning. Apart from that though, it was a bit rubbish and I never really completed it.

After that, I made a few short platformer-style walking simulators. They were... something, and I'd be lying if I wasn't a bit embarrassed about just how pretentious they were trying to be. Let's just move on.

In about April, I made the first game that I'm actually kind of happy with. It was called Super Displacement, and originally intended to be a kind of re-make of a game I made back in 2016 named Don't Be Still. Ultimately, I changed a lot and it's barely even related to Don't Be Still at this point.

For those of you who haven't played it, Super Displacement is an arcade-style shooter wherein you move at high speeds and shoot some squares. The idea is that if you touch the walls you'll lose, and the enemies - rather than dealing damage - will bounce you around quite vigorously to try to throw you into a wall.

It's pretty fun to play, even though looking back on it there are a few things which I just didn't think to include or tweak in particular ways. It's a little bit rough around the edges, but I'm happy with it.

Next, I participated in my first Ludum Dare, which was Ludum Dare 38. My submission was called "Polar Protector", since the crux of the game was to defend literal poles running through the planet from enemy alien creatures. There were some fairly glaring design flaws- such as it being very difficult to determine whether the enemies were actually attacking the poles. They would usually just stand still and the HP bar at the top would slowly begin to tick down. Not great for visual clarity.

But it held up well enough and I got 77th place in the "Fun" category, so I count that one as a win.

Soon afterwards, I got the idea to work on the game post-jam, so I added a new mechanic wherein the player would decide how the enemies got stronger. A lot of you will probably recognize how that turned out. It didn't really work in Polar Protector, but it's working pretty nicely in my current project, Mass O' Kyzt.

Anyway, I did start working on Mass O' Kyzt shortly after Polar Protector. It's been a very slow yet educational experience starting a project with relatively little knowledge and intuition regarding design, art or anything else that a game developer really should know. So far, I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out. My game is almost like a real game- a fairly second-rate game, but it doesn't look like somebody's first project. Which is good, because this is definitely not my first project.

I'm not going to do a step-by-step through my other projects since this has dragged on long enough and I think you get the idea- I started out pretty bad, and now I'm only a little bit bad. Hooray!

Thanks for watching and stay tuned for more videos which are probably less "blog"-y than this one, since I like to present useful ideas to my audience, not just talk about myself. Talking about myself is fun though, so I can't promise anything.

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