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.

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.

What am I making?

Great question. There are about six, potentially good game ideas in my head right now. The one I have landed on as my first outing is not necessarily my best idea. I chose it because it is straight-forward and should be something I can efficiently create. It is about a procedurally generated castle that has fallen under a curse from an offended wizard. Your role? To undo the curse and save the monarch (of course). Alongside not having a title (because my clever title "Cursed Castles" was already taken), I really do not have much to show for it yet. But, like Derek Yu said, I have started "the damn game".

In the interest of avoiding self-aggrandizement, I have decided to post my progress alongside my failures as a good first step. This means that moments like this, where my collision code is working successfully...

... are best accompanied by moments like this, where my collision code breaks completely:

Well, there you have it. I have managed to make a character push some objects around. Obviously it doesn't follow that "If Tom Francis / Derek Yu can do it, I can too!". I really have no delusions of grandeur about my current skill as a game designer. But I have decided writing about it here is a part of the process - even if I fail to produce a good game. Again, from Tom:

Writing about it here is one way I'm trying to improve its chances of reaching a playable stage. Explaining it to someone else forces me to keep my thinking clear, explaining it to you guys might be a good way to get feedback, and explaining it publicly makes giving up all the more embarrassing.

I'll have more to share once I get some more progress.