Don’t Panic & Carry a Towel
By now, you should have a pretty basic prototype of your game’s core concepts working. If you’re still having trouble with your prototype consider taking an hour’s break to switch gears and do something fun! If after another round of “programming” your prototype is still far away from being complete it’s time to consider several options:
- Break down the area you’re stuck on into a series of baby steps.
- Simplify. It’s easy to get excited about your game and try to do too much. Remember, that six weeks isn’t a long time. In order to scale back, you should list the most important verbs/actions of your game. Decide whether each is really necessary for your game and do the most, important ones first. Place the secondary actions as stretch goals. You can always get to them later!
- Switch game tools. Are you trying to learn programming (say in Unity) AND how-to-make your game. Try switching to a more visual-based tool. You’ll save a lot of headaches, plus, you can always come back and re-make your game with Unity later. There’s no shame in making your life easier.
- Go ahead. Copy and paste that piece of code ;)
The best way to keep yourself motivated and keep track of your progress is to make a list of every single piece of data you’ll need to create and import into the game! This is called an asset list, and it’s just a list of sprites, animations, sounds, songs, etc. You can even include pieces of text that need writing.
At the very least, this can just be a text file with a list of stuff to do, which you can check off or delete when you’re done. It really helps you to get an intuitive feel for how long everything takes, and how much work is left… and therefore when to start cutting features and scoping down!
At the most, it can be a categorised spreadsheet with each entry getting its own priority and implementation status. Feel free to download and modify this asset list Tanya used during Kitfox’s development of Sculptorgeist for a game jam.
If you’re looking to make your own art, graphics tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, or even one solely for pixel art (see below) can come in handy. If you’re inexperienced with pixel art, while it looks simple pixel art does take a long time and requires a lot of patience. If you’re inexperienced with art altogether there are lots of different options out there. You can choose to use free assets, use a stick figure or doodle art style, cut out photographs, or go with minimalist shapes to represent your game’s art.
Alternative Ways to Make Art
- Stop motion
- Glitch Art
- String together YouTube clips
- Scrape Google Search to create auto-generated art
- Draw, color, watercolor, etc on paper then scan them in
- Use the laptop’s built-in camera then manipulate the video feed of the player with programming like a 1337 hax0r
Free Graphics Programs:
- Pixlr, online photo editor
- Pyxel Edit, pixel art and tileset creation tool,
- Tiled Map Editor, general purpose 2D tiled map editor
- ASEPRITE, animated sprite editor and pixel art tool
- Wings 3D, 3D modeler (no animation)
- Graphics Gale, tool for animation, spriting and pixel art
- Gimp, open source “photoshop-like” tool
Sound is the key to immersion. It’s what the player listens to. It’s another way of giving the player feedback. If you’re ambitious, you’re probably hoping to sink your claws into sound design which can be an amazing experience! But plan your time wisely, it’s easy to get carried away with sounds of traffic, children at play, and splashes. If you haven’t got the time, there are lots of free sound assets out there for you to use!
Free Sound Tools:
- More assets over at PixelProspector
Sound Design Reading
- The Guide to Sound Effects
- Quick Tip: Make Retro, Low-Fi Game Sound Effects With Bfxr
- Sound Design Advice
- 5 Tips for Creating Sound Effects
- Game Audio: Getting In
- How to Break Into Game Audio
Come out to the meetups to work on your game and support other first-time game makers. Feel free to bring a friend or, if you’re an already established game maker, encourage & support others. See you there!
Where: RPM Startup Centre (420 rue Guy, corner Notre Dame)
When: Sunday, February 2nd, from 2 to 5pm
Bring: Your laptop + game ideas (there will be internet)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/567352693356615/
Your homework this week is to continue working on your game! There’s only 2 more sessions left and it’s up to you to take the reigns and develop your game further. Be realistic. Think about what can you do in the remaining time. Is this thing I’m stuck on really all that important? Can I simplify this game goal and expand on it later when I have more time? Don’t be afraid to scrap your idea and start over. Or even switch tools. It happens and you just may be happier with your second try.
Don’t hesitate to send us any questions, ask for feedback, or bounce ideas. We love your e-mails and tweets! We are: email@example.com or @pixellesmtl