Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Ring of Fire - Game Maker

And so, tomorrow will mark the end of my semester. It's been a tough journey, and it's not even over yet! I still have to somehow complete my final Flash project which is due tomorrow. Today was my final class for Game Design Theory and Culture and the one in which we all had to present our final project. I put a ton of work into my game, poured my heart and soul into it and... was unfortunately unable to finish it to my satisfaction.

If nothing else, from this project I learned that in the real world of development, you can't always put every thing you want into a game in order to meet the deadline. Think back on all of the games you've ever played, particularly those that fell short of your expectations. Was there ever a game that seemed like it had one REALLY good feature, that a lot of work went into, but the rest of the game was complete crap? Or perhaps a game that was visually stunning and the first hour or two is fun, but the rest of the game is copy/paste repeats only included to soak up time? These are the games I'm talking about. Games that, given Blizzard's development cycle (And not even then in some cases... ::cough::DiabloIII::cough::), could really shine and be amazing, but because of the demands of the industry, it just isn't possible.

So, even though my game may have been a failure in some respects, painfully so despite the fact I poured 20 hours or so working on it over the past two months, I cannot consider it a complete failure for the lessons I have learned along the way. Going forward, I will be keeping this in mind with all games I make. At home, programming at my leisure and keeping up with a development schedule I have lots of control over, I can afford to take time, focus on areas that may or may not be important, and release the game when ever I feel like it. I mean, 8-Bit Dimension is still in development hell (though I will be picking it back up after Christmas.) In the future, when I am working on projects that go beyond the realm of "hobby" I will have to weigh these factors and make sure I deliver a game that honors the expectations of my customers in addition to the work of the developers.

Regardless of how good or bad I think the game I made is, as promised, I will include a download link for all of you to try it. Although there are many shortcomings in this short game, the biggest was being unable to fully implement the battle system in time for my presentation. If I had literally 2 more hours to work on it I am positive I could have finished coding everything that needed to be done into an at least semi-playable state. I may go back and work on this some more in my free time to create a "Full Version" of the game, or I might just take the assets I used in making this game and program it outside of Game Maker. I'm still undecided at this point, but I'll let this project sit on the back burner until a time that I'm ready to give it more of my attention.

Please, feel free to let me know what you think. Much of the game is in an unfinished state, and there were many aspects I had to grossly simplify in order to get them to work on time for the final presentation. The download for the .exe can be found here.

That's all I have for now! Have a Merry Christmas everyone, be safe, and I look forward to sharing some very exciting news with you in the following weeks.

Something that completely escaped my mind when I posted this yesterday was to include the controls for my miniature game, so for those of you who may not have played it yet, here they are:

Arrow Keys: Move the Character.
Enter: Interact with People/Objects; Confirm
Backspace: Cancel
Spacebar: Open Menu

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