Ah, isn’t it always the way? You start a development diary then have to spend the day doing a million and one other things instead? Just me then? Ah, typical.
I must admit I’m at that stage with the game where whats left to be done is pretty tedious and aside from getting to play through it yet again (which despite the length of time I’ve been working on this – I do still enjoy playing it immensely) to check that I haven’t made any major boo boo’s, most of the work now is just cutting and pasting level data across. As you can imagine, there’s not a great deal of satisfaction in this as its plotting co-ordinates a go go. Throw in a child biting at your ankles and the usual array of household chores to be done during the day and by the time you finally get to sit down and do something useful, you’re just too damn tired to want to open any code up.
Its also a problem with being more of a “creative” person than a coder. The fun bits for me are getting to sprite myself senseless, creating the explosion effects or toying with sound effects. Its always the code that holds me up!
Its not that I don’t enjoy coding, although I’m nowhere near a low level coder (hence I use GM) nor do I understand as much as I’d like -there is still something incredibly rewarding about being able to sit back and say “I just made that happen. I did that”
The initial problem comes not long after the rush, you have the idea – you’ve got the scribbles and so you eagerly get it all up and running and it works, and thats exciting. You know where you’re going to head with it and you splurge everything out from the depths of your brain into it, then once it works – you spend an age playing with the darn thing and congratulating yourself on getting something working again. Then you get the graphics together and start throwing them into the mix, and its all still fresh and exciting. You get to watch a few lines of code turn into a fully blown game over time, but once you’ve got all that – there’s nothing but variable tweaking and level building left to do – and I’m sure a lot of people out there really enjoy these things, but I always find them the absolute worst part of making a game.
Now, in the past – I’ve had a very careless attitude towards these things and eventually just let go before I tweak something beyond my original plan – but VI has been very different as I’ve a very clear goal of where I want the game to end up, always have done. Its the game I originally began making games to make, if you will. I’m ultimately not too bothered if I’m the only person on the planet who ever gets to play it when all is said and done as I’m writing it primarily for myself. After all, if someone else won’t make the game in your head, then that only leaves you to do it. However, the tweaking… well, its very easy to become obsessive over it in pursuit of perfection and hence I try and throw myself away from it for a while. Go off and play some games for a week instead, go and make some pretty wallpapers or write a tune – anything but open that window with all the game code in it again so that I don’t spend 4/5 hours endlessly tweaking the speed of a bullet or the timers on the enemy movement, or the blending on a sprite… I’m kinda inbetween this stage and wanting to go back and finish it all off at the moment. I know I need to play some stuff and just chill or I’ll end up frustrated and possibly break some of the hard work I’ve put in up to now, but there’s something nagging at me to just go and open the game up and work on it.
Ah, the omnipresent dilemma of making games.
I’m erring towards hammering at least a good percentage of the final bits and bobs over the next few days so all that is left is playtesting from my crowd of beta testing folks before release… wether life allows me that time at the moment, is a different matter, but fingers crossed.