The First Flop

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What did I try to do

I tried to make a game within a week. After a week, it’s not close to done. The one level it has is not even completely finished. The basic mechanics are there. If I were to add an exit to the level I could call it “finished”. It would still need actual assets and polish in order for me to not be embarrassed by it.

What I learned

I became slightly more proficient with Xenko and Blender. Time spent figuring out my tools cut large chunks out of precious development time. Simple character animations (that still bring shame) took two days and they still look like garbage. Towards the end, I realized they were taking up too much time so they began to suffer even more in quality. I’d think to myself: Why am I trying to finish this or make it look good when it’s never going to be something finalized. I went through a few iterations of the character model before just sticking with the one that I did. Spoiler: It still sucks.

I am currently learning markdown and Hugo in order to document this comedic journey of blunders.

I’m going to have to work faster and more efficiently if I want to get around to including music and sound effects. I didn’t even have time to consider it. Fortunately, with each of these failures I’m building up not only my skill set, but also filling my toolbox with reusable code.

Designwise

The game I created started off in my head as a difficult platformer which forces you to make a tactical choice of when you want to attack. This would just end up looking like having to memorize what happens and when you have enough time to attack.

The game is a typical sideview 2.5d platformer. The difference is you can jump in mid air whenever you have your weapon in hand. When you jump, the weapon is dropped and stays in the air. When you pick it up, the weapon comes to you - this enables you to infinite jump as long as you can chain it together. When you choose to attack, the windup is about a second during which your character is completely stationary; you don’t fall if you’re in the air. While you’re holding the weapon, your horizontal movement is slowed and if you jump with the weapon in hand the weapon is dropped.

I think the character movement feels ok. It’s very responsive, I don’t think it’s floaty or clunky. The mechanic where you pick up the weapon seems ok, but as I messed around with it more; it felt very artificial. I’m just making the player push needless buttons in a somewhat difficult pattern that needs to be ingrained in muscle memory. I think the game would be better if the player was allowed to hold the weapon indefinitely, not allowed to drop it, and allowed to jump as much as he wants.

Xenko

I like the engine. It has some issues and almost no documentation. Trying to figure out how to do things (especially since I suck at programming) can sometimes drain a lot of time. It recently got worse with the loss of Xenko’s Q&A board. A lot of potential helpful information just vanished. Not even Google cache can save me now.

The editor is not that great. The more time I spent on the project the more I found myself trying to avoid the editor. Although, there were some things that I could not figure out and had to use the editor for. For example, I couldn’t figure out how to change the color of an emissive map for a particle system that I created in code. I had to create a prefab in the editor and use this.

Conclusion

Work more efficiently. Stop sucking.

I’d like to be able to create sound, music, and even attempt marketing if I ever get around to creating something that I think someone would enjoy playing.

If I have a viable prototype, I may decide to spend more time on it. I think as I get better, I will want to spend much less than a week making something like this. Looking at it, it doesn’t seem to be worth more than a day or two of work. I’m just really slow.

Post-conclusion

Need to get better at writing blog posts too.

The ‘game’

https://gutterlab.itch.io/burden