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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Begins now!

Or rather, it began a few weeks back. I picked up the trial of Game Maker 7 to experiment for a bit with the ultimate goal of making something and finishing it this summer. For all the work I’ve done on different game ideas and projects, most things have tended to end up forgotten about in favour of new projects. You could say I lack focus, but I prefer to see it as having too many good ideas at once ūüėČ

I remember trying Game Maker a long time ago but never really getting into it, for whatever reason, this time getting past the first few hurdles of learning a new piece of software seemed remarkably easy. Probably because Game Maker is by design, incredibly easy to learn. What attracted me to this software over something else I’d been considering, Multimedia Fusion 2, is the option to write my own code. Don’t get me wrong, event driven game making is bloody cool. I have very fond memories of a program named Klik n Play¬†when I was much much younger, but the problem with it is I could never manipulate the tools I had quite well enough in the bounds of the ‘condition and event’ system to really get exactly¬†what it was I wanted. Game Maker has given me the same easy to use tools with the freedom to really change how it is my game works and define exactly “how high the little man can jump”. The best part is the language Game Maker uses, referred to in the help menu as “GML” (Game Maker Language) is incredibly BASIC-esque. It’s very easy to read and interpret and as a result easy to write.¬†

So having found this amazing tool, what on earth do I plan on making with it. Various failed attempts at RPGs in my early teen years proved I don’t have the patience for a long interesting plot or backstory. My riddle game proved that I like to constantly be experimenting and introducing new techniques. It also proved me a fan of the “Epic Journey”. Of progress from A to B to C to finally Z, as opposed to high scores or open endedness. I like to create things that are similar to a book or a film in the sense that you start, you experience, you finish and you sit back, let out a satisfied sigh and say “What a game”. My recent addiction to Killing Floor and Team Fortress 2 proved that there already exists a million and one ways to virtually kill things and I have intention or really ability to compete. So, all things considered I’ve decided to make a platformer. Simple as. What’s new or innovative about a platformer? Not a lot. Nothing infact. What’s good about a platformer? a ton of things. I love platformers. All of them. From the old school arcade bite-you-in-the-ass-at-every-turn classics¬†like Donkey Kong, to Mario games, to Castlevania to Ghouls and Ghosts to Splatterhouse to Lode Runner to.. yeah you get the idea.

So what do I want to do, why do I want to do it, what’s even the point. All valid questions. What I want to build is hopefully two things: A celebration of platform games of all shapes and sizes, and an exploration of platform games. The latter may take some more explaining, just as my riddle was a kind of exploration into what can be done with just a bit of badly formed html, how web pages and images can be used as a puzzle, so does my game plan to explore what can be done with a little man, the arrow keys and a jump button. I have a few ideas scribbled down, that range from “crazy” to “so crazy it just might work”. How it’ll turn out is anyone’s guess.¬†

I find I often struggle to do the indie game dev thing of coming up with a fresh innovative idea and building a game around it, “inventing a new wheel”, but I find I’m very good at screwing with what exists to do something cool, unexpected or weird “taking that wheel and adding sweet rims”. My friend and “Blitz Open Day Buddy”¬†Chris Walter¬†is also adventuring into the world of Platform games and is worth keeping an eye on. This is in no way an investment plug in the hope of being plugged in his blog. I swear.

More to come.