Week 01

This week:

  • completed movement code
  • squashed bugs in movement code
  • prototyped “smart” character switching
  • discovered I had not in fact completed movement code
  • spent hours trying to squash persistent bug in movement code (the solution was, as always, “you were being an idiot”)
  • implemented “dumb” character switching

The incorrigible bug in question was a variable that was flat-out disappearing. Not amounting to the wrong number, just poof, not showing up in the debugger next to all its variable friends and neighbors. This led to 8 open tabs on the Game Maker/TIGSource forums and a lengthy email to some programmer friends, until I realized that I’d used the same name for a previously-declared global variable in an earlier prototyping session.

The primary learning mechanism to programming is raw embarrassment.

As for “smart” character-switching, that’s a totally low-priority thing I’m tackling for the fuck of it. I wanted to see if I could write code that would let you switch to whichever character was immediately to your right or left, rather than the next one on a predetermined order. This would mean creating a self-sorting list that tracks and ranks every character by their x-position, which I didn’t quite know how to do. Funnily enough, I figured out the self-sorting list part without much difficulty, and got weirdly stuck on actually cycling through said list. Went ahead and coded “dumb” character switching for the sake of a functional prototype, but will return to the “smart” kind next week. (After the global variable kerfuffle, I deserve to throw “smart” in scare quotes every time I use it for a while.) Anyway, this is the first time I’ve ever given myself a coding assignment just for the fun of it, which means coding is apparently, now and then, fun.

Here’s the vertical slice checklist:

  • Basic Movement
  • Character Switching
  • Dialogue
  • Entering/Exiting Rooms
  • Collecting Inventory
  • Using Inventory
  • Pushing/Pulling
  • Climbing
  • Carrying
  • Crawling
  • Sentence Line
  • Throwing
  • Camera
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