Still Alive

I’ll travel to Melbourne this weekend for the conference program of the Freeplay festival.

It’ll be hard not to let impostor syndrome rear its ugly head again. When I went to the entire Freeplay festival last year, I was inspired by what I saw there that I knew I wanted to plunge into making my own game that I could submit for this year. I’ve had a lot of encouraging friends to whom I’m grateful, but it’s been a tough year in which the black dog has followed me (as I wrote about earlier in the year over at Medium Difficulty and my impressions on the wonderful game Depression Quest and how I related to it).

I think that’s why my website here has been largely unattended this year. It’s easy to shout from the rooftops and want to write when circumstances are pleasant, but when life is tough and not working out, crawling into a hole and not telling anyone is more comfortable. It’s rough to admit that you’re not fine.

That said, I’ve been playing with the game engine GameMaker this year. Programming is certainly not my forté, but it’s something I want to push myself to understand more in the future. Nonetheless, collaboration is magic in game development, and I have a friend who’s been teaching himself videogame programming with whom I’m making a game called Not Without My Kittens.

It’s a simple little platform game in which you play a cat called Holly who has to rescue her kittens from evil giant spiders.

Here’s a screenshot from the current playable build in which Holly attacks a spider. At least, that red square placeholder will be a spider when I get back from Melbourne next week and make the art for it.


Also here’s a title screen I made for the game:


That we have a playable build of the game makes me smile, although it’s pretty rough. Still, it’s a start and I feel confident that we’ll actually finish it.

I also made a prototype in GameMaker for a game called Space Sheep. It’s a bit like Wizard of Wor with a mechanic in which you need to collect coloured wool from sheep to use as ammo against coloured aliens. I was sheering sheep in Minecraft when the concept occurred to me. I ran into a dead-end coding it though so it can go on the backburner for now until my knowledge of videogame programming improves or I collaborate on it with someone.

Here’s a screenshot of Space Sheep at present:


I think I might check out too a game development program that’s designed for a specific genre such as RPG Maker, Adventure Game Studio, Ren’Py, Twine, etc. Game engines such as GameMaker or Unity are certainly powerful tools to make any videogame imaginable but they may be overkill for my purposes right now while I’m still getting my feet wet with game development. However, I’ll continue making Not Without My Kittens in GameMaker regardless.

So in spite of the ever present impostor syndrome and the crippling delay that has been this year, some actual progress in making games feels hopeful, even if I’m not exactly where I wanted to be at the moment.

I saw someone say the following on Twitter the other day:

Three steps to get good at making indie games (& most other things):

  1. Make something
  2. Laugh at how bad the thing you made is
  3. Go to 1

And who knows, maybe the things you make won’t be bad, or they will be and you’ll like them anyway, but it doesn’t matter and you keep on making more things.

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