For my second #1GAM entry, I made: Roll4
Roll4 is a take on Connect4 but with an additional mechanic: rolling obviously. For a given turn, a player may skip their piece placement and instead “roll” the board left or right, causing a reshuffle of the pieces with gravity. This felt like a fun mechanic to pursue, because it can both cause a player to win and lose with a “new” board at any time.
Some painful learnings I had during this games development was editing old code. I previously stated that I would backfill new features and enhancements to the older entries, but I feel like I’ve been approaching this wrong. I felt like I wasted alot of time on some initial refactors to make the new game mechanics work, and thus slowed myself down. It feels like the carry-forward nature was forcing me to make a good game engine with no end target, where as now, I am making components specifically for a game (sometimes borrowing from past entries), but not trying to modernize old solutions. This may bite me in the ass later with multiple versions of similar code, but its saving me alot of time now, and allowing for more creative solutions to emerge with each iteration. Eventually I may have a “game engine” which is really just the best of the best entities from the previous games.
For this game, a few new features I focused on were: animation, ai, and my ecs. I think gfx will always be a pain point for me, since I’m not really a creative person, but that’s forcing me to get better with the vanilla canvas API. Simple, low fidelity games are probably best suited for this #1GAM tinkering, but it good to keep it as top-of-mind.
One thing I struggled with on this project was motivation. The world is going to shit (RE: the Russian invasion of Ukraine) and I’m wondering why I decided to do #1GAM vs 1 game every 2 months, or w/e. I like the short deadline, as it forces you to ship something, but I also feel like the only meaningful time I get to work on it is the weekends. And sometimes I just want to vegetate. Thats pretty hard when you only have 4-5 goes for making a game a-z - and its easily debated that I’m not even there yet. I have yet to add sounds, so is this even really gamedev?
Something to keep in mind for the next game, to ensure I don’t bite off more than I can chew. However, I’d wager that one of these future games will hook me and I’ll want to do nothing but make that game into something much larger.