Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games - all things gamerelated

This weblog is the digital playground for Anders Højsted. I'm a philosopher, indie gamedeveloper, writer & all-round renaissance man.

Rapid Prototyping & Try/Fail screenshot

Game DesignPosted by Anders Højsted Fri, April 16, 2010 14:27

I'm working on a small game in GameMaker called "Try/Fail".

It's a small non-commercial art game about a philosophical/existential issue. I won't reveal to much about the content of the game; you'll have ample opportunity to play it yourself when it's released.

(...and art shouldn't be explained; - it should be experienced and interpreted. Interpretation is an important part of this game).

Instead I want to talk about game development.

From all I've learned that best way to make games is to do rapid prototyping. Most games have some sort of essential experimental feature - usually an rules-mechanic or a game-mechanic - and it's important to test ASAP it you can make it work and if it's fun.

So step one is to define that feature, build it and test it. To do so rapidly, you can make a bare bones prototype with placeholder content and one the minimal amount of interaction implemented.

The essential feature in Try/Fail is that the avatar changes as you progress in the game. This is really, really simple and should be easy to make.

I'm tried to make a prototype a while back, but soon hit a wall of incompetence. No matter how I did it, the avatar wouldn't change. I posted on the GameMaker forums and got a reply. Except it didn't work. So I started doing something else instead (<- this is in some way that story of my life). Not being able to make it work made me mad and made me feel incompetent.

A while back I got annoyed by the lack of progress that I looked at it again. As you can see at the gamemaker-thread, Sythus writes "if value = 2 instance_change(object2,1) ". I then write "if score = 2 instance_change(object_avatar_1,object_avatar_2 )". This <b>isn't</b> the same; the order of the object is reversed, so the initial object is second and the second object is first.

Anybody who have done programming knows how important to do it absolutely correctly. The advantage of computers is that they do exactly what we tell them to do; the disadvantage of computers is that they do exactly what we tell them to do.

So I fixed the code and made it work. The prototype is now functional, except for some minor adjustments.

Here's a screenshot of the first (and only) level in the game:

Riveting, ain't it?

The turquise block in the center is the avatar; the "1" is a to show that it's the first avatar in a succession of avatars (1->2->3). The black blocks are solid; the burgundy blocks can be dug away. It will (hopefully) makes sense to you when you play it.

All of the art is placeholder art and all the audio in the game is audio clips that I gotten from the web. I have an work-ethos of doing everything myself, so I'll have to re-record all the sounds (except the recording of classical music; can't do that). Audio is a very important part of this game.

And I'll have to do the graphics.

But the next step is to test the game on unsuspecting victims; girlfriend, friends, family, other gamedevelopers....can they make sense of the interaction?

The picture probably goes to prove one of my points in my earlier post: if you "release" your game too early to the public, people will feel disappointed about it. In this case because of the graphics. I wanted to post it for people to see an prototype and later to be able to compare with a screenshot of the game with the full graphics to see the progress.

More to come....


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