It’s been a while since my last post, so let me first apologize. I’ve not paid much attention to the blog, and it’s showing. But as of recently, I’ve been quite busy.
Because, you see, I joined a game jam.
For those of you who don’t know, a game jam is a competitive or non-competitive event, usually a weekend-long, where game developers come together to create games. It’s a very welcoming environment that encourages fun and learning. There are tons of game jams out there, ranging from a weekend to a month-long. Here’s a link to a game jam calendar of sorts, if anyone’s willing to join.
Anyways, I was browsing through itch.io, when I came across a game jam.
“My First Game Jam”, it read. Indeed, if I joined, it would be my very first. From the description I got the idea that this one was targeted at beginners, and indeed I was a beginner. And so, on the spur of the moment, I joined. And I must say, I’m glad I did!
This would not only be my very first game jam, but my very first game too. I mean, I’d read a lot on game design, knew programming to an intermediate level, could create some pixel-art and toyed around the game engine Unity before. But I’ve never put these together into a game as such. It was finally time to put theory into practice.
I was excited, but that’s understandable. I’ve always wanted to make a video game myself, but never quite put the figurative pen to paper. Now that there was a deadline, I was far more likely to put out a game. So I began immediately.
The theme was ‘Dreams’. Following the theme was not compulsory, but it provides constraint and promotes creativity, so I decided to follow it anyways. Only one issue though. Since I’d never made a game before, I’d have to learn my way around a game engine through tutorials. (If you don’t know what a game engine is, it’s software framework that facilitates easier game development, as the bulk of the heavy-lifting is done by the engine) That meant I’d have to first choose a game engine.
There were a couple of choices. Unity is probably the most famous one, as it’s easily accessible to independent developers, and is also used by some of the bigger companies to create polished games. Definitely an attractive choice, but it’s quite difficult to learn. C# is not the ideal scripting language, and I wanted to try something different.
Then there was Game Maker Studio 2. Easy to learn and has a good community. It’s even produced a lot of hits, like Hyper Light Drifter and VA-11 HALL-A. So I decided and went through a couple of tutorials. I even made basic Pong. But that’s when I realized that the trial version cannot export a game executable. They were even bought by an online gambling company back in 2015. Not my kind of ‘Game Maker’.
Finally I found the Godot Game Engine. Free and Open Source, it was exactly what I was looking for. With an easy to learn, but very well designed scripting language, it was the perfect choice for someone like me. So, that was that.
At any rate, I proceeded on to designing my game. I wanted to create something turn-based, as that was my favourite genre, but I knew not to think up something too big as a first game. Here’s what I came up with:
Knight Terrors: You’re a nameless child who suffers from ‘Night terrors’. A few hours into your sleep, your worst nightmares take shape, and you must drive them out of your mind(as an iron-clad knight).
It’s a turn-based game where enemies spawn in a random cell in a chessboard-like arena. Each enemy contributes some amount every turn to FEAR. When your FEAR gets too high, it’s game over. The longer you survive and the more enemies you kill, the higher your score. The knight can move to any square and attack once before more enemies spawn. He/she has a sword and a crossbow as weapons. Enemies can not directly harm the knight.
Basically, a score based game, where you try to stay on board for as long as possible.
Submission’s due on 5th of August, so I’ve got a few more days. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Not long before the basic game comes together. But I wont stop at that. I plan to continue development on this game for a month or two, adding more systems and enemies, and improving the general look of the game. Here’s the link to the devlog if you want more details on the game development process.
I’ll be posting a review shortly, so stay tuned!