Oracle’s Eye Development: Third Week

I covered the results of the first week of development on Oracle’s Eye. By the end of that first week I realized that my plan was overly optimistic, considering I usually have a single day of development time per week. While I can use the 10 Minute Method to get something done each day, there really is only so much code that can get written in a 10 minute session. I basically try to do other things on those days, such as setup the build files or create really simple images in the GIMP. Basically, whatever I can do that doesn’t require much concentration. I don’t need to be in the zone to create simple images. Let the artists worry about making it look just right.

According to my plan, I was supposed to be able to move the player around in four directions and create a room by the first week. By the end of last week, I was hoping to be able to load levels, and ball movement should have been in place the second week.

Unfortunately, I’ve only just now created a stick figure with one frame of animation that moves in one direction. Well, enters hyperspace in one direction is more like it. I realized that I never placed any timers in my code, so the drawing and updating is happening many, many times per millisecond. It literally looks like the stick figure is getting pulled through space-time as it moves. That’s fine and can be fixed, but oddly enough, it somehow wraps around the other side, even though I never coded it to do so. I am definitely not comfortable with not knowing why my code is behaving in this way.

Bottom line: I am WAY behind schedule. I have to decide if running late is acceptable or if I should minimize the design so much that it is an even simpler game than I originally envisioned. I wanted to have a small game completed by the end of August, but I’m wondering if it might be better to continue with my current design and plan to work through September and likely October.

It basically boils down to this question: is it more important to have more games in general, or finish this game specifically? Finishing this game design would allow me to show what I can do when I dedicate myself to the project. On the other hand, making a really simple game would allow me to not only have a finished project sooner but also let me work on a new one right away.

I’ve got some thinking to do.

4 comments to Oracle’s Eye Development: Third Week

  • I’ve got some thinking to do.

    No, you’ve got some programming to do. 🙂

    From what you’re writing, I’d say you have to learn about a lot of basic stuff. So, my advice is: don’t worry about the game design too much. Instead, focus on the technical aspects. First draw a sprite, then let the player control the sprite with the keyboard, next maybe add a nice walking animation.

    This won’t result in a game that your friends will be impressed with, but that is not the point (or at least it shouldn’t be in my opinion). You’ll see that a lot of technical stuff comes up that you hadn’t thought about. Timing is a good example of that. I get the feeling that you are currently treating these problems like a setback, because they keep you from completing your game. But I’d say these problems are exactly the reason your doing these kind of games in the first place.

    Your goal is not to create a game, it’s to learn game programming.

  • Tony Hoyt

    Finish the first one, then time your second one. I say finish the first one, no matter how long it takes. I bet it’ll do you better to have a completed project, where you finaly got all the practical obsticles done and finaly can predict better in the next project your time constraints and better plan that one out.

    I bet this is the problem for a lot of game companies big and small, Nobody knows just how long it’ll take, how much money it’ll take, and can’t stop changing things to fit any new time lines, good or bad.

    Tony

  • Both of you are right. My goal and purpose in making this simple game was to gain experience making games. Game in a Day was great because the game evolved into something playable, even if it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it. I should treat this project similarly. When you think about it, I’ve only programmed for a few hours total, and the game engine is definitely an improvement over what I had for GiD. Also, I shouldn’t really see my project lateness as a bad thing. After all, I now know how unrealistic my original plan was, so next time I can make them better.

    Thanks for the feedback, Joost and Tony. I needed that.

  • As the other commenters have said, GB, finish the game. However long it takes, you want to have at least one full, functioning, kinda playable project under your belt. Even if it sucks and takes forever, that’s how you learn what NOT to do, so that your second (or more likely 5th or 6th) game attempt is more reasonably scheduled, better designed, and so on.

    And by the time you get to your 5th or 6th game attempt, your coding and design and architecture skills will be much better, and you’ll be able to produce not only better code but do so faster.