January Progress Update

January 13, 2013

So I’ve noticed on /r/OneGameAMonth quite a few people have been posting progress updates so I figured I should get on that. I’m not going to give any video updates as I a) find 25 minutes of some guy talking about code incredibly boring and b) my game doesn’t have very exciting gameplay or graphics to show off unlike others.

When I first decided to seriously do this I created a GitHub repo for ideas I had. I had loads of ideas when I first read about 1GAM, then completely forgot them over Christmas. I came up with an idea for an RTS type game, got really super excited about doing it, then decided that actually I should probably start with something simpler if I want to get anything finished. So I spent most of the next two days looking online for ideas, coming up completely empty. I was thinking a puzzle game like Bejewelled or Frozen Bubble, but those are very clichéd, and I wanted to do something different. Then I saw a video of Magical Drop, and thought yes, that’s it!

I wanted to make it a bit different though, for lack of a better word “cuter”. The gameplay of Magic Drop is quite fast paced, and I don’t really get the Japanese girl with three eyes. I decided I would have to draw graphics myself, I’ve attempted to sideload assets I found in a project without much luch before. Luckily I found some great tutorials for creating game art in Inkscape and came up with this:

Ok, so idea check, graphics check, next task actually building it. I decided rather than procastinating and learning a new tool, I should just use what I know. So I decided to use the simplest tools possible: HTML + Javascript. I didn’t even use any of these fancy HTML5 canvas things, I just used Zepto (a lightweight jQuery clone), DOM manipulation and a few CSS3 animations. It worked pretty well, and even runs on my phone nicely (although the CSS needs some tweaking to better adapt to the screen size). For the first mockup I just did everything inline, then refactored it later to put everything in classes. This seemed to work pretty well although I think refactoring took even longer then writing the original code…

I’m quite impressed with what I’ve got so far, although I’m a bit worried that I may not have time to finish it. January has been a bit manic, and even though I started early (sshh), I’m not sure I’m going to get a chance to do everything I wanted to do. I don’t need to do much more in order to get it to be a playable game rather than a tech-demo, but I had grand ideas for this. Maybe I’ll revisit it later.

So far I have spent around four whole days on it. I found the easiest way to keep motivated and undistracted was to come up with a plan at the beginning of each day of what I was going to get done. Nothing complicated, just a few bullet points, however it worked out pretty well. As I said before the main issue has been a lack of time to actually work on it. Next weekend I’m going to be spending a lot of time in airports, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a few hours then to knuckle down on it.

Ok fine… Here is a video: