Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Case of Tuesdays

I was wondering a lots about stuff, and discussions from IRC have led me to actually bother writing an article, here on the blog, apologies on the slower content, but things in the community are a bit slow for my interest.

So I've been spending much time working on Troll Song, mostly working around the interface fixing and adding snippets for easier implementing of future actions. Thus I came up with a small list of things to do on the game you make AFTER actually making/working on a complete game. And by complete I mean a game that has been rendered under the shower of several polish, that when someone shows you the first version of it, you say "wow, it was bad back then".

Anyhow, when you've bothered working your ways around your first actual game, you learn to do things, but as most of them are a first, you end up doing several mistakes. What I've noticed whilst working on Troll Song, is that I'm transfering skills/snippets and knowledge from previous efforts/projects, thus improving my current workflow and result. Practise makes perfect, and it's no lie, it extends to game design.

So the promised list follows:

1) Do re-use stuff that can actually be re-used. Like that pretty cool Savegame UI, don't go porting the same characters for crying out loud, think generalization and masking. What feature of your previous game can be transfered and adopted by your new project? Then port it properly. Copy-paste won't work 100%, you'll either discover mistakes/omissions, or you'll realize it can be improved in certain ways, thus you'll enhance it. This is the utter realization, that you've evolved from the time you created that thing till today. And you should get yourself a tea for that, it's a good accomplishment.

2) Split your work, give it extensibility. Always, and I mean always don't create considering this is the final version of your creation (regardless whether it's a code, a background, a character, an animation, a story element/plot). It's not. I've seen spectacular backgrounds get replaced by even more spectacular ones, and other backgrounds completely redrawn cause they couldn't work that way. You need to project into the future and replicate the same result hastily without much effort, even if the idea of you re-doing this, puts you down. And it probably does.

3) Spot patterns and use them to your advantage. This is huge but do treadlightly, otherwise you'll end up having the same animation for 12.000 things. Basically translating from gibber to english, if you see an animation proving to be practically the same for some other situation, without breaking the uniqueness factor, go ahead, be courageous and use it elsewhere. If you see a code behavior being repeated make a global method/function out of it, and be a man of yourself.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who has been re-using and extending the same Barn Runner game template for ten years, I think there's a lot of wisdom in this post. Anyone thinking about doing a game series or just a set of similar games should take notes. :-)


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