Making my first game – Part 4: Finishing thoughts

To sum up, the whole process was a great success for me and I managed to create a fully functional, extendable demo game in almost fourty days, while working only in the evenings.

The good

The art I managed to produce was quite consistent so the graphics didn’t hurt the eyes that much. Character sprite sheets I purchased were also fitting for my style and the end effect, while not very impressive or flashy, did its job well enough (at a total cost of 5$). The gameplay was smooth and interactions felt impactful. As many of my testers said, the experience felt as “a real game and not an amateur demo”, and I hope they were not just being kind. The game was difficult but fair, with a learning curve of about 20 minutes from starting to finishing the six available rooms.

The bad

The game menu is lacking, both artistically and functionally. However I did want to stick to my schedule and it was done as a placeholder which I was never meant to finish. There are just two trap types, with a third trap not implemented. Initially I planned a vertical trapdoor, through which the player or the enemy could fall. However my spritesheets had no jumping/falling options available, so I gave up on that. The ending is also anticlimactic:) Initially I planned on using a knight sprite for a boss battle, however this would require a different AI script to be developed which could add a few more days to the process, as not only would I have to create a unique set of mechanics for the boss, but I would also have to implement some dodging mechanics for the player (and for this I also did not have animations available).

Last but not least, I did not add a Credits menu to the game, as I totally forgot about it at the time, and I did not publish the game. The credits for the project are:
Code and art: myself
Character art: bought from gamedevmarket
Sound FX: Freesound
Music: Incompetech

Game may be downloaded here, and the full walkthrough by me is available below, for those who do not want to bother with unzipping.

Going forward

While other people were testing the game and providing me with feedback, I was contemplating the future. Should I continue fleshing out this game or should I return to structured learning? I still felt I had much to learn. Fortunately, I quickly made up my mind when a course for an RPG game was published on Udemy. I jumped back into learning, and it was a good decision too…

My youngest son became very active with age and my free time for development shrunk dramatically. At the same time my regular translation business was booming with activity. I started to feel very constrained in my learning endeavors and it gave way to lots of frustration. Happily, with time I accepted these limitations and made two decisions:

  • Accept the lower amount of time as a fact of life. Concentrate on work and family.
  • Constantly learn. Do not stop doing interesting, diverse tutorials, watching interviews and developer talks, reading dev articles.

Following this path, from April 2017 to December 2018 I managed to:

  • Finish the very in depth RPG course from Udemy.
  • Fully adapt the code of the RPG course to my own needs and my own vision of the project.
  • Finish a course on Pixel art (to practice this form of art a bit) and learn basic Blender to be able to add my own simple models.
  • Complete various small-scale courses (turn based board game, city sim game) for specific mechanics implementation.
  • Finish a longer course on 3D game making (physics based games, on rails shooter, tower defense).
  • Learn WordPress and implement my own blog.

Plans for 2019

Going into 2019, my spare time perspectives are still not looking good, however I am at ease. I understand that I need to take small but consistent steps in the right direction. I have my blog and I started a written daily journal to keep me motivated. This year I have the following plans:

  • Take two courses on C# and Unity to feel even more comfortable with coding. I want to be able to jump right back into my own game when my youngest son becomes more independent.
  • Create more blog content, especially tutorial/wiki/list articles which can help me arrange my knowledge in an orderly fashion.
  • Create pixel art/3D assets, for practice and to share on my blog for the readers to use.

I hope that I manage to fulfill my plans, as this year shapes up to be very intensive. There are many family events planned, my daughter will start school and my youngest son will start his kindergarten.

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