Pre-Sprint 4 Planning: I Really Hate the Seahawks

Pre-Sprint 4: I Hate the Seahawks I’m from Seattle. I love the footballing Seattle Seahawks. I’m from Seattle. I hate the footballing Seattle Seahawks. Ugh. Anyway. Sprint Goals Public Relations. It is far too early to start any sort of PR campaign – for example, there literally is no game to advertise yet. I’m also an indie dev, so calling it “PR” feels really slimy. Still, I think I’m at the stage where I can begin sharing some of the things I’m working on, even if it’s dumb bugs that we can all laugh at Better code. All my code is throwaway – this is on purpose! I even added a state in VSTS called “Makeshift” purely to track the features that are *technically* coded but are actually hardcoded. I want to avoid too much rework and refactoring, but I’m at the stage where I need to sincerely clean things up More art. I’ve finally taken a stab at creating pixel art. It’s not the best, but given that I have zero experience in this I can’t help but feel a little bit happy with what I can make. I want to continue. Heads down, fingers moving. November is a big month. I’m going to make the most of it.

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Pre-Sprint 3: Retrospective

I’ll probably mix the format of this up from time to time, especially as I’m still firmly in the “pre-game” of sprint planning. So, let’s do this thing! Overview Sprint went well. Did a little bit of everything, from coding to design to art to my business itself. As I’ve said twice already these “pre-sprints” are going to be weird and disjointed, but that’s ok because it’s still progress. Change Log Coding + Made scaling crisper + Added portrait to dialog + Locked camera to map + Implement two additional monsters + Generally made the code far worse and hacky and terrible, and everyone hates it Design + Puttered about with TFS + Designed several new monsters! See them below + Began reading The Art of Game Design Demo

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Pre-Sprint 3 Planning: Better Late Than Never

Pre-Sprint 3: Better Late Than Never Truth is, I should have written this 3 days ago. But, uh, better late than never, right? This sprint – pre-sprint, that is to say – is likely to be similar to the past two. So long as I’m chained down my time will be split and my concentration difficult. Still, it’s 8:31pm on a Tuesday and here I am working away, so that’s a good sign, right? Well, let’s hope so. Sprint Goals More blog posts! I said this last time and wrote just one article. Granted that’s one more than I had before, but I need to do a better job Obliterate stickies. I have a ridiculous number of outstanding stickies on my backlog board. No doubt this has contributed to my feeling unproductive. I want to tear through them, at least the easy ones. Think more about the development process. Now that I’m actually coding it’s time to do some hard thinking on how I’ll actually work. How do iterations work? When do I know I’m done? When can people play this darn thing? So, very similar to last sprint. Fairly unfocused, but not distractedly so. I think it’s going to take me at least a couple months before I can really focus on any one area. Until then, lots of irons in the fire.

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Pre-Sprint 2: Retrospective

tr It’s official: progress continues to be made! These additional stickies are proof. Highlights Even more coding! I had promised myself that I wouldn’t harp too much on the actual coding – mostly out of fear of burnout while I’m in this weird limbo stage. Still, I got a lot of good work done, including dialog boxes, sprinting, a dog (!), commands to the dog (!!!), a bunch of other stuff! Transferring work to Visual Studios Team Services. I don’t use Visual Studios. I’m not part of a Team. And yet I’m finding these so-called ‘Services’ pretty useful. TFS / VSTS is a wonderful one-stop shop for my features and code. It’s free. It’s way overkill for a solo project, but it’s working for me More work on design. Now that I have a basic framework sketched out ideas are flowing through me. I’ve wrote most of them down but I have plenty of stuff still floating around in my head that needs to be put to paper Lowlights Not as much work as I could have done given my free time – again! A big issue was concentration. This is going to be a big issue as this progresses, as I’ll need to be able to focus and concentrate to be successful – again! Not much else to talk about save for the above repeats. Demo Still nothing to share in the way of an actual .exe, but here’s a gif of borderline dog abuse  

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Creating a Saturday Simulator

“Our lives are so short. We only get to live in this one existence, but what if we could have more than one?” Kyle Bosman, Easy Allies We all play games for different reasons. For me, it’s always been an escape. My life isn’t so bad, but I love running away to some fantastical world where I can do and be anything. Even as an adult, (especially as an adult?) where my freedom is high, I still find myself fantasizing about game worlds. It should come as no surprise that the ‘life simulator’ genre is my absolute favorite. After all, what better way to escape life than to simulate a new one altogether? Such is my love of this style that I find myself latching onto games where only a small portion or mode can be considered a LifeSim – games like Dwarf Fortress, Little King’s Story, Majora’s Mask, and a huge number of other Nintendo titles Yet no matter what other games I play, the king of kings of this genre is undoubtedly, without debate or question: Animal Crossing.  Not The Sims. Not Harvest Moon. Not Second Life (is this still even a thing?) Animal Crossing. In fact, I’d go so far to say that I don’t even particularly care for games like Harvest Moon. Strong words, but stay with me here. As a certified LifeSim lover, I recognize that I should be more enamored with the Harvest Moons of the world. After all, Natsume has cranked out about a billion of them, Stardew Valley was a fantastic success, and people clearly like them. And yet they’ve always eluded me. In this post, I’m going to dig into why this is – as well as what it means for my game. Harvest Moon: A Weekday Simulator Nothing is wrong with Harvest Moon or the Sims, and…

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Pre-Sprint 2 Planning: The Storm That Wasn’t

Pre-Sprint 2: The Storm that Wasn’t The Pacific Northwest is fairly sheltered as far as weather goes. We get a lot of overcast days and rain, and sure, one day a giant earthquake will kill us all, but we’re spared the blizzards and hurricanes and tornadoes and everything else. It’s typically very quiet here. That’s why this last week was so unique. All throughout we were repeatedly warned about an upcoming storm that was to make landfall on Saturday (yesterday). Hurricane-force winds combined with a rain-soaked, saturated ground seemed to spell a devastating, once-in-a-generation type of storm. At best we’d all lose power, at worst we’d all lose our lives. Well, the fact I’m posting this on Sunday morning is essentially some environmental storytelling, isn’t it? There was no storm. We didn’t lose power. We all survived. A bit of a bummer, if I’m honest. Anyway, onto the next sprint – and the next storm! Sprint Goals More blog posts. I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around my head. Not all of them are useful or interesting, but I believe this blog is a medium in which I can get them down on paper and think through them. Expect to see some more posts Continue implementing ‘simple’ systems. I’m not a strong believer in the whole ‘vertical slice’ pattern of game creation. I think it encourages bad practices and wasted work. My goal instead is to start simple, start rough, and then relentlessly iterate. Read a whole lot. In order to become a better writer I need to first become a better reader. I know, I know, I sound like a 7th grade Language Arts teacher, but it’s true in this case. I have quite a few books coming my way on game design, storytelling, and writing in general. I must absorb…

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Pre-Sprint 1: Retrospective

It’s official: progress has been made! These bunch of stickies are proof. Highlights Actual work on the game – wow! Real coding! Real design! It’s like I’m really developing a video game Fixed a laptop. The prospect of drastically reduced paychecks has incentivize me to fix and maintain old hardware instead of ogling new hardware. I fixed up one laptop and now have 3 in total Tons of design. Lots was done on the design part of the game, including a design document Lessons Learned documentation. I’ve watched a lot of Shenmue 1 & 2 let’s play videos, and it’s not just for fun. I developed a system for taking notes and analyzing a game for what to do (and not to do) with my own game. I’m calling it ‘Lessons Learned’ Implemented several helper libraries. Used Tiled, imported a map, attached a camera to a sprite, and animated it. I love love2d Lowlights Not as much work as I could have done given my free time. A big issue was concentration. This is going to be a big issue as this progresses, as I’ll need to be able to focus and concentrate to be successful Demo No shareable demo yet, and likely not for awhile, but here’s a GIF of my ‘progress’ An impressive amount of bugs:lines of code, if I do say so myself

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Pre-Sprint 1 Planning: A Very Rainy Start

These types of posts will be used to go over the next week’s work. However, because this is still just a hobby, I’m not considering this an ‘official’ sprint – just a test run. Goals for Pre-Sprint 1 There are a lot of spinning plates right now! It should be of no surprise that there’s simultaneously too much going on and not enough to talk about. After all, this is the first one of these. I view the current iteration in three parts: Research & Design – Familiarizing myself with the tools I’ll be using, other games in similar genres, and more. Essentially laying the foundation for the game itself Biz Prep – This is all just a hobby, but could it be more? Maybe. This week, I’ll look into my options and come up with a plan. Prototypes – I want to avoid burning out on working on too much at once, especially if my design isn’t nailed down and refactoring is unavoidable. Still, it’s important to test things out. This week, I’d like to play with Tiled, a neat little tool to create tilemaps. I’ll have another post up this Saturday to see how I did with the above. Depending on this goes you’ll either seem way more or way less of this type of thing.  

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