Glenn LaBarre's adventures in development

I am writing about my current work as a fledgling game designer and perhaps some other things along the way. You can also follow along with @gwlabarre on Twitter.

My First Anti-milestone

Written on February 28th, 2018

Last week, I did not make any commits to the code base for Hardcastle. I would love to write here that I lost momentum because I was spending extra time with family, doing something incredibly noble, or even just having a bit of rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, it was because my normal 40 to 50 hour per week job became more of a 70 to 80 hour per week job for the last several weeks. But I am not writing here to complain about the job. I truly enjoy the people on my team, the work is interesting, and it keeps the roof over our head. That being said, it was a stark reminder that I have a day job, and that day job is not making PC games.

I knew that there would be weeks where my day job would come into conflict with my not day job, but I regret it all the same. Happily, I can state that returning to game design this week after a forced hiatus feels great. Absence has made the heart grow fonder, as they say.

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Glenn LaBarre immediately regrets this

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.

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Written on January 18th, 2018

Warren Robinett's Adventure for the Atari 2600 is one of my favorite games of all time.

Adventure for the Atari 2600

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.

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Not polishing the silverware

Written on January 8th, 2018

Defending the Monarch

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.

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Starting Somewhere

Written on January 1st, 2018

You have to start somewhere.

Tom Francis, one of my favorite game designers, 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.

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