One day last week I went back to High for the first time in a while. The day went really well as I was able to code completely from scratch without having to hunt through forums to get a footing on where to go and without getting frustrated. This felt great and is proof enough that Burg Zerg Arcade has made me a much better programmer. The result was a combo system for the multitask elements (see image below) which works pretty well so far and a bit of an overhaul of how I was previously handling scoring.
The pink text keeps track of the bonus score and adds it once the combo is over. Not the best solution visually but really happy code wise so far
However because of my time spent attempting to improve as a programmer, going back to High is pretty tricky as it currently stands; I was pretty crap a few months ago and my code reflects this (comments are few and far between, debugging shonky and scripts poorly organised). So now I’m at a bit of a crossroads – do I just continue with the project as I did the other day, or start fresh? I’m leaning towards the latter currently but worry that in doing so I will lose the progress the game has made to this point.
I reckon I’ll consult the Old Gods and the New and get back to you on that one. For now though I’m really happy and excited that I can see my progress.
Liz Programmer Level Up
Just a short update to show off some more progress: improvements to the HUD and addition of a main menu.
The main menu is essentially a prototype in itself but I wanted to see what would be possible in terms of re-using assets and getting the base functionality going. Turned out pretty well.
Also demonstrating a few improvements I’ve made to the HUD; adding a flicker when low and empty, as well as improving the re-fuel flicker. Pretty happy with the results.
The Metric lyric (Dreams so Real is the song, hey why not listen while you read this?) which is my title for today is now my new programming mantra. In that sense it means: you’ll figure it out eventually, just don’t give up until you do. With this on my mind I had a pretty good day today:
- Watched a few BergZergArcade videos and learnt a few new coding tips (I’ve mentioned them before but they are still super awesome)
- Stumbled across customising the unity editor which was fun and definitely something I’ll be looking into in greater detail (particularly when it comes to the mammoth task of level design)
- Pretty much completed the fuel tank GUI adding indicators for refilling, low levels and empty
- Thought up a few more details to add a bit more polish (got a little bummed when I found out that something I want to do comes standard in pro. Nevertheless I carried on)
- Updated my design and tech docs
- As always, documented my ‘game idea of the day’
So that’s about it for today: only a short update. Because I like pictures, I leave you with a screenshot of my editor from today.
This past month has been a bit up and down, mostly because I have made very little progress on High, nor have I really attempted to do so. I feel the Anchorman quote sums this up pretty well. That doesn’t however mean that I haven’t been working on it; I had a pretty crappy day programming wise which started a programming dry spell but I have dabbled in the design side of things.
I’m at the point where I’m not sure I want to continue with High but know I will regret it. I have a tonne of ideas that I want to make a reality (as much as a reality as a video game can be I suppose) but need to keep in mind that I won’t be able to do everything all at once or even at all.
I’ve gained this new-found perspective as a result of a talk by Epona Shweer (creator of indiebits.com among other things) at Sydney’s iFest yesterday. She spoke specifically of the benefits of self-publishing but what I took out of it was that you aren’t gonna be able to everything on your first try (some things even at all) but not to let this discourage you.
The whole event has actually resparked my desire to make games in seeing the work of my fellow devs (by the way check out Time of Ages) who have been or are currently in the same situation as me. Next year I want to showcase something of my own.
In my High absence I’ve been working on a few different things:
- I’m writing a gamebook as a prototype for a larger idea I’ve had. It’s still super early stages and likely rife with spelling and grammar mistakes so read it at your own peril here
- Working on a core design doc for an adventure game (watching the Double Fine Adventure updates seems to have given me the bug)
- Writing and contributing more to indiesandwich.com
- Something which is still secret for now…
I vow to continue working on High alongside these new and exciting projects and will try not to beat myself up so much.
Just a quick note to demonstrate some more progress I’ve made with the HUD, in particular the fuel gauge. I’m really happy with how it turned out: it depletes perfectly, indicates when refilled and being used, and the pickups are working great. I’ve also added the fuel functionality in code which means that you can now only accelerate when the fuel is above 0. A small bit of progress which I think brings a nice level of polish (evident in the always satisfying exclaims of “oh cool!” when outsiders catch a glimpse).
Here are the fuel pickups at the moment. I’m not quite convinced so I may rework them if I get the time/urge. I would like to add a bobbing sort of animation as well or even a particle effect to make them look less weird just floating in mid air.