After filing my taxes and learning that my business operated at a loss last year, I realized that I needed to focus on results a lot more than I have been. I can’t sell anything unless I have something to sell, and I haven’t been doing a good job of creating that something. It is already March, and so the first quarter of the year is finished. I thought about the progress I have made for the year, and I am not pleased with it.
Before January, my Space Invaders clone was playable yet unpolished. I’ve since improved how playable it was, fixing the code that handles frame-rate independent movement and tweaking how the aliens move. I have added a simple text-based HUD and most recently played around with a decent font to use.
It shouldn’t have taken me three months to get to this point, and I still need to add quite a bit if I want non-technical players to be able to pick it up and play. I have already decided that I need to release a standard clone as v1.0 before I bother trying to create something innovative. Taking more time to release something just means that I will take just as much time to start work on something new.
My business and I have been coasting along on only a few hours a week. It is a common problem I seem to be having, and maybe these days I’ve added a few hours to my weeks, but I need to consistently put in at least 10 hours a week if I want to get significantly more completed. 10 hours a week is two hours a day, five days a week, so it shouldn’t be too hard to do at all, especially since I tend to work on weekends.
So, what’s left? As far as code is concerned, the major thing I need to implement is a simple menu system. It’s simple in that all the options I need to provide the player is to start a new game, view the credits, and exit. When the player pauses the game, it should ask if he/she wants to quit. There are still a few more code-related things, but they are related to my content needs.
Since silent video games have been out of style since the 1920s, I will need to add sound effects at a minimum, but I may have to skip adding music if I want to release something sooner rather than later.
As for graphical content, programmer art, as sexy as it may be, needs to get replaced. I think I am pleased with the fonts I have chosen. I’ve spent a few sessions of development just looking at them in the context of the game, and I am ready to move on to something else. The various entities in the game need an overhaul. The player’s ship doesn’t even look like a ship, and I don’t like the idea of a ship hovering back and forth on the ground anyway. I would prefer that it look like a tank, with a turret that faces up. Actually, there are plenty of theme changes I could make, each of which requiring different graphics needs, but I can concentrate on choosing among them after v1.0 is released. The same goes for replacing the static alien and missile sprites and the boring explosion effects.
I want to add a menu system sooner rather than later. Other than sound, the menu is the only part that is missing, and it will be easier to code up a menu system than to create or find decent sound effects.
Will this game improve the bottom line for my business? Probably not by itself, but the sooner I finish it, the sooner I can work on something that people may be willing to pay to play, and the sooner I can join the ranks of those people who claim to have truly finished a game. Taking a longer time to finish this game than necessary is a huge liability for my business.