Happy New Year


There were a lot of firsts for me this year first website (of my own), first game and first competition. In this post I'm looking back over my first year of game development and what I've learned and some of my goals for the coming year.

I started making games last April (so I guess technically I haven't been game developing for a full year but whatever). It started as a way to help me get up to speed with JavaScript. I was following a weekly HTML5 newsletter and it linked to Thomas Palef's (lessmilk) game a week challenge. Following some of his tutorials I started to become familiar with Phaser.js and it's been my framework of choice ever since.

What my games taught me

1. Tri (play)

Basically expanded on the Phaser "Tanks" demo. Used simple geometric shapes and a star background I made following a GIMP tutorial. This also set the basis for player character sprites, simple enemy artificial intelligence and fun with particles. Pretty simple, but I enjoyed it a lot and it made me want to try making more games.

2. Gravity Kills (play)

My first platformer, where you switch gravity instead of jumping. I learned how to use Tiled and some basic map design, how to use bitmap fonts to improve performance. Learned a little more about the physics system. I got some positive feedback on this one after posting and spent way too much time afterward tweaking it. I also learned that you will typically find your game easier to beat then others will. Most players never beat the last few levels, in the end I split them off into an "Impossible Levels" ending for players that managed to get through them.

3. Reflektor(play)

I kind of burned out a bit on the "Gravity Kills" this game was released almost 3 months after. I had just watched star wars and thought a game of reflecting blaster shots would be fun. In an early prototype I had included the lightsaber sounds just for fun. I learned how to turn drawn objects into sprites.

4. PRISM(play)

This was my entry for Ludum Dare 30. I learned how to create a game in 48hrs. I won't say too much about this since I cover most of it in my Ludum Dare 30 - Postmortem but I will say this was a huge challenge and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment from it. Also, having lots of people give feedback was a great way to learn what I was doing wrong and where I could improve. My ratings for my first Ludum Dare were:

5. The Well(play)

I learned how to do a Zelda style screen transition, how to use localstorage to save game data, how to use filters to create a torch like lighting effect and learned a little procedural generation using binary space partitioning. I also worked a lot harder on the art side. Having just come off Ludum Dare where my worst category was Graphics I was determined to work in improving that.

6. RPS(play)

This was my first game for #1GAM the theme was luck. Really more of an experiment to see if adding achievments and trophies and other unlockables could be used to make a boring game interesting, or atleast interesting enough that someone would want to see what happens next...lol.

7. When Snowmen Attack(play)

My entry for Ludum Dare 31. I did a postmortem for this one too if you're interested. I really wanted to improve on my graphics this time around and I managed to but in the end I spent too much time on graphics and not enough on other areas, most notably gameplay. Despite my ratings being better for graphics than in my first Ludum Dare my ratings in the other categories were not as good. I'm still happy with how I did but what I learned was that I can't sacrifice gameplay to focus on my weekest area. My rating for LD31 were:

I also learned how to do a timelapse and how to live stream my coding, although I didn't do any live streaming during the competition because I didn't want to be distracted by it.

So What's Next

Well, in 2015 I hope to keep doing Ludum Dare and OneGameAMonth maybe even do some other competitions. I'd like to do some live coding and more social media stuff. Definitely want to do more with this blog now that I have it up and running. And of course improve on my graphics and do more music, so lots of stuff to work on all around...lol. I've found I really enjoy game development (more than I thought I would) and hope to keep doing it for a long time. So good luck to all my fellow game devs! See you in 2015 :)