Creation of a Video Game with No Knowledge: Problems with Planning (Includes Screenshots)

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Hello everybody, it’s been too long since I’ve posted about the progress of this project, so here I am, ready to share some information with you. First, I’d like to give you a quick update regarding the status of this four level demo/prototype, and then I’d like to talk about the importance of planning.

So, what have I been doing since March 31st? Honestly, I haven’t been working on the game as much as I should have been, but I am getting stuff done. I have two levels completely finished, a third level with its physical structure completed – meaning no coins or 1-Ups – and finally, a fourth that I just started today.

stompysadventure_ss2I’ve been slowly building levels because, well, it’s definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. Stringing together platforms is proving to be quite tough, especially when I’m thinking about level length and flow. The main issue is that after I use up my ideas, I still have half a level left to create, and they’re actually coming out quite short, about a minute a piece. This is mainly due to a lack of planning on my behalf, but I’ll touch on that in a bit.

I do have a working 1-UP system in place, as well as a simple scoring system, plus I’ve been able to create a new obstacle that will likely frustrate some people – I’m talking about saw blades similar to those you encounter in Super Mario World and Super Meat Boy. Oh, I’ve also been able to put together some sound effects, and I’ve received permission to use some 8-bit chiptunes; however, due to the limitations of Construct 2 Free Edition, I won’t be able to use them all. Regardless, these additions add a nice touch to the game and make it a little bit more enjoyable.

As I mentioned above, I’ve been struggling quite a bit to put together this game. My biggest issue is my lack of knowledge of video game development, which is made worse by my lack of planning. I’m putting stuff together whenever something comes to mind, or on a whim if you will. This is not only stompysadventure_ss3slowing me down, but it’s putting a huge dent in my confidence. Plus, whenever I add something new, strange bugs seem to appear and mess with things – something that I’m sure happens to all game developers – so I stop to try to figure them out. Smaller bugs are usually created by simple mistakes, such as accidentally forgetting that I’ve renamed something, and then continuing to use the previous name in the event sheet programming. Other bugs, I can’t quite figure out, likely due to my lack of knowledge, but sometimes it appears that I’ve done everything right on my end – it can be quite frustrating. Debugging is something that I will have to learn and ultimately, I believe I need to do more tutorials, read more about using Construct 2, and become an active member of the C2 forums.

Unfortunately, another big issue surrounds the mechanic that I’m building the character “Stompy” around, and that would be the ground pound. I’m struggling to come up with great ideas for the move, resulting in placing a few more destructible boxes in the level, instead of designing levels around the move.

stompysadventure_ss4If I tried to make another game with Construct 2, I would definitely take more time to plan. When I say plan, I mean that I would spend more time on ideas for the game including enemies, obstacles, items, power-ups, level designs, etc. I believe this would speed things up and make the process a little more enjoyable.

I’m planning to release the demo on April 30, and I’ll be looking for constructive feedback on things like level design – I’m anticipating a lot of feedback there -, character movement, and any bugs, or ideas and suggestions you may have. At that point, I’ll decide if it’s worth my time to continue refining and creating the game, and if it comes to that, I’ll have to come up with a way to buy the full version of Construct 2.

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  • http://coffeewithgames.com/ coffeewithgames

    Awesome stuff! I downloaded Construct 2 about 2 weeks (maybe 3 now), and plan on trying to get familiar with it. I have experience with GameMaker, so I’m curious to see how similar (or not) they are.

    GameMaker’s book is pretty great to get started with, and giving you the basics. I’m hoping Construct 2’s online tutorials/videos will help.

    As for the level length being a minute, that’s actually pretty standard in the older Mario titles. SMB and SMB3 at least. You can complete them pretty quickly just running through them, without trying to collect coins and/or find pipes to go in.

    I’ll be keeping a look out for when you release the demo for it!

    • http://twitter.com/MiniFortress Mini Fortress

      I’ve picked at GameMaker, but could never do anything substantial with it. I find Construct 2 to be much easier to learn and extremely user friendly. Though, I never did check out the GameMaker book, which probably would have helped a lot considering I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately.

      Construct 2 has a growing community, all of which seem more than happy to help out the newbs like myself.

      You’re right, the level length is comparable to both games, and is kind of what I’m going for, but the levels I have made seem empty compared to the others. I may just be being hard on myself, but they don’t feel special, but I’ve also played them like 30-40 times each. Though, I’ll put them out as they are to get some feedback.

      I’m aiming for an April 30 release on the demo!

  • Nixel

    Hey!
    I can’t believe I missed this blog, it’s like a compilation of all the things I ever wanted to read about.

    Anyway, I’m continuing my “review” from the Scirra website, if you don’t mind.

    My main issue with this game is – you guessed it – the death system. As you’ve said, it’s aimed to give a suitable amount of pressure to the player, and pressurizing it is, but a whole lot more than compared to even the NES classics. Megaman and Castlevania were difficult enough with health bars; Ninja Gaiden had health bars and infinite retries while still being legendarily hard; Mario had the mushroom power-ups to bolster your life. But for this game, it took me at least ten tries to get to level 3, and even then I gave up because the obstacles at the top were too unforgiving (the timing for the jumps are super tight!) I hope you’ll do something – anything – to ease the difficulty in the slightest.

    However in the end I don’t mean to discourage you with this post; in fact I think it’s quite well done so far, I enjoyed playing it, and I hope I get to see more of the game. Thank you and good luck.

    • http://twitter.com/MiniFortress Mini Fortress

      I encourage the feedback, otherwise I’d be completely blind to making this enjoyable for others, so thank you for being honest.

      As I’ve played the levels probably over 30 times (or more) a piece, it’s become routine for me, so I don’t notice some of the more difficult parts. The obstacles on the waterfall, that was even worse before lol. I actually had saws on every platform there, and while it was doable, it was ridiculous. I can definitely adjust that part by slowing down the saws.

      I could also try adding a health system to the game if this continues to pop up in feedback. However, I’m closing in on the 100 events limit with the free version, so I may not be able to add that yet.