I am writing about my current work as a fledgling game developer and perhaps some other things along the way. You can also follow along with @gwlabarre on Twitter.
Written on January 31st, 2018
This website has been mostly blank for six years. Even when I put something here, I immediately regretted it. For a while, it had a single sentence that read "Glenn LaBarre is sorry about this website." Then it took a turn for the worse as it became a full screen loop of Charlton Heston laughing from that scene in the Planet of the Apes for two months.
The current site title "Glenn LaBarre immediately regrets this" is a friendly jab at myself to help me overcome years of inexplicable fears of writing in public. It is also a respectful tip of the hat to a favorite game developer:
... I was determined to have [a title] even if I immediately regretted it. After trying several I immediately regretted, I gave up and left it as the placeholder: "Tom Francis Regrets This Already". I still regretted it, but neatly, the more I regretted it the more appropriate it became.
If Tom happens across this site in the meantime, hopefully he will forgive my lack of ingenuity (and enjoy a good laugh) as I scramble to craft a new title before the lawyers of Suspicious Developments file a complaint.
Last week, I also landed on a title for my current project. I decided to name it Hardcastle. Judging from the title, the game is apparently hard and also takes place in a castle. It is entirely possible that both of those facts will change before I release this game, but it is nice to have a project name instead of continuing to refer to it as "that game project I am working on that should probably have a name".
Written on January 18th, 2018
Warren Robinett's Adventure for the Atari 2600 is one of my favorite games of all time.
Playing Adventure from the floor of my childhood family room is one my earliest video games memories. For a game experience that is almost four decades old, it has held up incredibly well. This Youtube player sums it up well:
... One of the beautiful things about this game is just the crazy situations it throws at you sometimes. And it's a great example of how simple rule sets in video games can often lead to very unpredictable and very fun results and you don't need to make an incredibly complicated and fun game from scratch. Sometimes just putting simple rules in place and letting them do their thing is all that you need to do. And that's kind of how Adventure works.
Written on January 8th, 2018
Collision is that bit of code where one thing runs into another thing and both things have to decide what to do (or not do) about it. My collision code I cobbled together last week clearly has bugs. But this week, I did something very foreign to my previous experience as a programmer: I did not work on these problems and I moved on.
From Derek Yu's autobiography:
... for a project to progress as a whole, the individual parts have to progress at relatively equal speeds. You have to know when what you're working on is good enough to put on hold and it's time to move on to something else.
Written on January 1st, 2018
You have to start somewhere.
Tom Francis, one of my favorite game developers, started somewhere:
I'm making a game! I will probably never finish it! But I thought I'd start talking about it anyway, to keep my goals straight and get feedback on my ideas as I go.
I'm doing it because Spelunky, one of my favourite games ever, was made by one guy in a program called Game Maker. Obviously it doesn't follow that "If design/coding/art genius Derek Yu can do it, I can too!" But it does make you realise that game-making programs aren't just for shitty test games. Since that was pretty much my last remaining excuse for not doing this thing I've had a constant urge to do most of my adult life, I started doing it.
Spelunky and Derek Yu started somewhere too. And Derek's advice is to start actually making the game:
It's easy to confuse "preparing to start the damn game" with "starting the damn game".
And so, in the shadow of giants, I am happy to announce I am making a game! After finishing a series of brilliant tutorials from Tom Francis, working on my first game for the past month, and owning up to both of those facts by posting to Twitter and this site, I am ready to officially consider my first milestone complete.