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February 02, 2014

#1GAM Wrap-Up for January

I decided to do the "one game a month" challenge this year as a way to keep my main efforts going strong. And over the course of January I managed to finish a rudimentary game on my iPad that I may in fact release some day. So while at the moment, this post serves as my only "check-in" with the challenge site, I might cut it over to the Mac and add some modes and further refine the play.

I haven't come up with a name for the game yet, but it's a sort of dexterity game for the tablet -- there are several rings with colored arcs in them, each of which is spinning at different speeds, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, and you have to tap on or between adjoining colors to gain points, matching a color in the center. The failure condition for a "level" is to run out of time (currently 60 seconds) before you exhaust the colors that are given to you, and the number of colors to match increases with each subsequent level. At a certain point, the rings simply rotate faster each level.

It's pretty basic, and that's okay. The idea for me behind the #1GAM challenge isn't to try to come up with a really fully-featured game every month, but to finish a thing that could be handed to someone to play. I'll probably keep tinkering with this game¹ over the coming weeks and months just for fun. At some point I may even put it up somewhere for purchase/download/whatever. At the moment, it only has about a dozen hours or so of work in it, but there's already a kind of interesting attention/speed/dexterity thing going on -- but it'd do with a ton of tuning.

This month I wrote my game with Codea, a pretty nice iPad Lua implementation that gives you some simple hooks for touch and various canvas graphics on the device, with a really nice editor and some good in-game controls for fiddling with variables that govern your game. Terrific stuff and something I often recommend for people who have a decent iPad keyboard and want to develop little things like this on the go. It seems like all the documentation is included, though it does assume some familiarity with Lua and for me, it has been some years since I fiddled with that language. Still, there's tons of sample code, so even if you're for some reason not able to browse the Internet, you can probably find what you need in the existing stuff. It has a fantastic little editor, too, which is still actively being extended in lots of novel ways. Really highly recommended for programmer types who want to muck about on an iOS device without dragging a MacBook around.

It's worth noting that while I probably spent under 20 hours on this game, I did spend a bit of time on a dead-end, which was trying to get Pythonista to do what I wanted. That has been my go-to environment on the go for a while, but recent improvements to Codea have really turned me around on that.

I haven't decided what this month's game will be. My process as far as themed stuff is to think a little bit about the themes for a couple of days, and then if nothing comes to mind, I just go ahead and grab one of the dozens of small ideas I jot in my notebook I carry around with me wherever I go. I'll probably leaf through that later today and see if there's anything that applies to this month's #1GAM challenge, which is "Loops".

Anyway, don't know if anyone's reading, but hope any of that helps.

Still planning on writing up Red Dead Redemption, but spent a bit of time this week on finishing up this little game. I'll get to it soon, I promise.

¹Which I suppose I really ought to name... hmmm...

Posted by Brett Douville at February 2, 2014 10:34 AM