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I felt a great sense of accomplishment making this game on my own, though I know there is an oceans worth of improvement to be had still, it’s a big milestone for me so I thought I’d share the journey with you all in this post.
My whole career as a game developer has been spent on the visual side of things, which can sometimes be frustrating for me. In my formative years as a developer I often struggled with programmers on any number of levels. Getting something as basic as prototyping the first draft of player movement in the game was an extremely laborious task [we were using a game-maker like tool as well!].
Though, I’m not totally oblivious to coding. I code all my own websites [intuition, Mikengreg, this site…] but that’s more script than anything and when it comes to games I rarely touched more than a config file in plain text or XML scripts.
So a few years ago, during the days of Dinowaurs, I ventured out to try and learn a bit about coding games. At first I started using ActionScript 2.0 with the help of a book or two and I made some solid progress, but I never felt like I “got it”. I think I made some particle systems and a few other toys, but no games.
After awhile I bought a few books on ActionScript 3.0 and dove into the terrifying world of Object Oriented Programming [OOP]. It was a completely new way to set things up compared to 2.0 though it felt more organized. Like there was a more strict set of rules that I’d need to follow that might allow me to uncover the underlying structure of this “magical coding stuff” better.
For the next couple years, and up until just recently, I would find a free night or weekend and try certain things out. Most of the time it was a simple project to learn how input works with the keyboard. Other times it was a grandiose plan to overhaul my portfolio or create a “platforming garden” where I would be able to test and tweak platforming characters. These would always fail miserably because I was in way over my head, but they were wholly necessary to the learning process. After I failed or came up against a brick wall I would often stop studying/coding for months at a time. The frustration was immense and I didn’t really have a community to advise me during. That was fine though. I certainly had plenty to do with my other projects and the break was nice since I would get a little obsessive about figuring out a certain problem.
So this sort of on/off parabola continued until about a month or two ago. I was in a programming phase and I took to going back to the early chapters of the Moock book. I realized I didn’t truly understand the core concepts of many different devices in OOP and I needed to get back to basics. It was here that I learned how powerful functions actually can be and what arrays actually do. I continued to read and re-read these same chapters until I completely understood the building blocks of AS3.0 and it was then that I decided I could pull of an actual game.
Using only circles and frictionless physics I was able to make a full game that I’m pretty happy with. It’s not a game that is supposed to say anything in particular nor is it a game that I think is incredibly gripping or fun for me, but I feel like the concept is sound and the execution decent for my first game. There are many things I would like to alter if I had the powers of an expert coder [motion blur] but those simply won’t be happening for this game.
I hope some of you get a kick out of it and I’m considering posting the awful source here since it might be a good opportunity for some more experienced developers to give me some tips on how to better code something and so on. Though that could get overwhelming as the whole thing is a 100% mess; I’m sure. It’s all in one file! o_O
Oh! And post your highest level in the comments if you want. I don’t have high-scores or anything so this’ll have to do.