Not Bad For Your First Attempt

My Mini-Ludum Dare game: Grey.

There’s only an OS/X version right now. I sent the sources to John and he ported it, but the port isn’t working. It appears there are more complexities to transferring between GM8 and GM4MAC. I sure hope the game John and I are working on is playing the same on each of our machines, but we’re doing just about everything in GML so I think we should be fine.

Anyway, Grey is my first completed game ever. It’s only 3 rooms large right now, it has some clunky collision detection, and there are 3 or 4 things I tried to do elegantly that I couldn’t figure out and are therefore held together with duct tape. I’ve got a small mental list of things I need to research so’s I can do them better in the future.

But the fact that I got something built and playable (on some machines, anyway) in 48 hours makes me incredibly proud! One of the most important steps I’ve had to take in becoming a designer is giving myself permission to suck. It’s terribly common for people to start learning a tool and immediately plan huge, epic projects that will blow the world away (like, say, a 7-part, 4-character adventure game?). But it takes a lot of practice to get good at anything, and if your standards are incredibly high on your first project, the fact that you can’t live up to them can make you feel like whatever you tried isn’t worth doing.

Since I don’t want to lower my standards I’ve allowed myself to fall short of them. Instead of comparing Grey to my expectations, I compare it to my history. What have I made before? Nothing. Now I’ve made something. That’s a huge leap.

Flight keeps getting better, hopefully it will see release soon. I’ve also decided that Grey is a good toolbox; its one-room-one-puzzle design is perfect for trying out new ideas. You know how people generally prototype by hacking together an idea with a bunch of boxes? I think I’ll use Grey as my prototype framework. My sketchbook. As I learn new things in Game Maker I’ll hash them out in new puzzles in Grey. At least it’s already got a character and movement controls.

Dunno if I’ll just randomly release new builds of Grey with the new things I’m trying. Don’t expect them on any kind of schedule if I release them at all, and the whole idea is that I make no promises of quality. It’ll be freewheeling and loose. It needs to be.

Until next time, stay frosty.

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