One Per Day: The picking a game making platform project

Post-project special pre-babble:
This project started as one thing (the introduction) and over the course of the week morphed into something else (the further down you go). And yes, I meant babble. 

Project Post Table of Contents

These links will become valid as each day passes.

The index for posts of the project is at the conveniently WordPress generated URL:
https://tildesare.cool/category/programming/dev-log/week-of-game-development/

Introduction

Today I was watching some random YouTube videos on indie game making and had an ambitious idea: since I have the next week off work for Christmas, I’ll pick one game creating engine/solution per day and attempt to create the same basic prototype game with each. And I guess publish each one on GitHub because why not.

The first level of Gradius for NES

For this project, I was thinking of making the first few minutes (to the volcano? Have to see) of the thirty year old game Gradius, for the NES. Why Gradius? Well a couple of reasons. First and foremost it’s relatively simple as there’s only four (technically eight you could argue) directions and a projectile to worry about and the A.I. for enemies are not that complex. Also I really like it.

There are a few things I hope to accomplish from this project: perhaps I’ll develop a favorite game creation tool, learn some pixel art skills and over all just be better all around at putting together games of whatever type.

Perhaps some arbitrary conditions are in order:

  • at least five entries between December 20th and December 27th 2021 (publish dates not withstanding)
  • power ups, parallax scrolling background, music and sound effects optional
  • Lets say at least 3(?) enemy types
    • defined as distinct looks and patterns/loops
  • An exact clone isn’t necessary
  • Cheating on pixel art is ok

In the past, I have tried out a few different game making solutions such as Construct, Scratch, MakeCode Arcade and GameMaker studio in addition to having some limited experience with JavaScript (and VBScript, but does that count?). So you might say trying to learn the language and create this little slice of game every day for five or so days might be kind of difficult.

Optional back story on motivation for project

I had this idea for a game a few years ago. It would relatively simple in mechanics: 2D, only one ore or two “action” buttons and while not a completely original story arc one I felt I could tell in my own way. This would be either a 2D platformer style, a 2.5D side scroller (more of a Double Dragon feel) or a “three quarter perspective” 2D Legend of Zelda style game. I hadn’t decided.

This isn’t intended to be an award winning, release-to-steam and make money sort of a game, more of a “passion project” for my own amusement (with a very liberal source code license, published on GitHub). In fact I was going to break it up into three parts ideally of an hour each. No guarantee of that last part.

Of all things to get caught up on it was trying to choose a game making platform. And also which of those game types it would take. Most of the tools involve a specific programming language which I’ll have to try and learn as best I can on the fly.

I mean I know some programming but I don’t have extensive knowledge of Python or a version of BASIC outside of VBScript. So trying to learn both the tool and Python, a special BASIC or Lua will be part of the adventure.

Almost all the solutions I was going to try have some other language involves. I mean Godot has a version of Python-but-not-Python for some reason. Not sure why they didn’t just use Python. And AppGameKit uses some version of BASIC.

Candidates for coverage I have heard of or found upon subsequent research and time-wasting YouTube watching:

  • GDevelop
  • Stencyl
  • Construct(?)
  • Godot
  • Coppercube(?)
  • Buildbox
  • Armory3D (plugin for blender)
  • pixel game maker (?)
  • appgamekit
    • classic/studio
  • cocos2d
  • v-play (felgo)
  • pixelbox.js
  • ct.js
  • NeoAxis
  • defold
  • phaser/phaser editor
  • Pixel Game Maker MV
  • microStudio

Around Day 5 I decided to create an account on itch.io. This may seem a little optimistic for someone who has never actually made an original game (besides the one on scratch) but if nothing else I can see lots of other people’s games and maybe join the community. It’s for game consumption as as game publishing, after all. I haven’t updated anything yet but the itch.io page is up.

I mention this because I found out about a few very small web-based engines I hadn’t heard of before. Most noteworthy (so far) being that of PuzzleScript and Bitsy. I don’t know if I’ll ever do anything with those game “engines” or not but I thought it was pretty cool.

I’ve also been exposed to a little bit of Roblox and Core. I guess I always assumed Roblox was some kind of kid’s thing like Minecraft and I’m still not sure what to make of Core other than it looks like it’s mainly being hyped as a speculative thing to be as big as Roblox for making money (the old “get in on the ground floor” pitch). I don’t currently have any interest in making 3D games so I haven’t even visited their sites yet. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps both Roblox and Core have a million cookie cutter games that charge various amounts of money for their “games”.


Last minute resources

These are some collected links I found at the last second but haven’t yet explored in any way.

https://ctrl-c.club/~lettuce/game-making-tools.html
https://www.gamemaking.tools/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
https://creatools.gameclassification.com/EN/creatools/494-RPG-Maker-paper/index.html
http://rpg-paper-maker.com/index.php/features
https://microstudio.dev/

10 thoughts on “One Per Day: The picking a game making platform project

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