Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 04/12/17

In last week's brief update I wrote that I was too busy with client work to spend any time on my own games and I'd be posting less frequently until I had more to show. It will therefore come as no surprise to those of you who have read this blog before that I pretty much instantly contradicted myself and actually managed to make a bit of progress with my own game inbetween making a couple of games for my client.

Space Crafter: Crafting in Space!

For those of you who haven't read this blog before, my latest embryonic project is currently going by the working title of Space Crafter (catchy I know). It's a pretty simple side-scrolling shooter/rpg with a crafting/trading/equipment management section to provide more depth. I still don't have a huge amount to show but I've bought some art assets I've had my eye on for a while and swapped them for the rubbish placeholder art I was using. There's still a long way to go but here is the official first screenshot.

Very early days, but I'm going for a ruined/abandoned colony look here. I need to rough up some of the assets and cover some of the empty space but it's a start at least.
November Stats

So November was a great month. Getting a nice chunk of client work is great for my morale and bank balance and I'm really enjoying it. However the metrics I've been keeping track of mostly took a bit of a dip in November. This blog especially took a hit, I didn't have much to write about so I didn't have much to promote and it shows in the viewing figures. My hours worked were down slightly, but this is partly down to an illness at the start of the month.

Twitter followers: 1810 (+80)
November blog views: 939
Blog views/day: 31.3 (October was 38)
Hours worked: 116 (3.9 / day) (October was 4.2/day)

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.



Thursday, 30 November 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 27/11/17

Just a quick note this week to say that I've got nothing to show for now as I'm still focusing on client work. So, as I said I was considering last week, I'm putting the weekly posts on hold until I've got more to write about.

The client work is going really well and I'm both enjoying it and learning plenty. I am hoping to take some time to make progress on my own projects but paid work comes first, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

I'll have a monthly round-up next week and the long-promised Zombie Cannon Attack! postmortem is almost ready.

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.



Monday, 20 November 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 20/11/17

I spent most of the last week doing client work. Getting my first game for him to work on his site was a little stressful and distracted me a little from my next project for him and my own projects, it's all sorted now though so I'm looking forward to getting on with it this week.

Mathematical!

The work I've been doing is for a website called Mathsframe that specialises in making maths-based games for primary school children. They have a large catalogue of flash games that I'm helping to update and remake as HTML5 games now that flash is pretty much on borrowed time. My first game is here and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but more importantly the client is happy too which means more work for me. The games are all pretty small, well under a week's work each, but I've really enjoyed the change in pace and scope and learnt a great deal in a short space of time. It's also pretty great to get paid for gamedev work.

More (really pretty good) excuses

As I said last week, the client work has meant less time for my own projects. I've been too busy to do anything at all on my next game and although I've nearly finished a rough draft of the Zombie Cannon Attack! postmortem it's still not quite ready. This has led me to have a bit of a rethink about this blog, as exciting and interesting as the client work is for me it doesn't really make great content for posting here. Unless I make a lot of progress on my own projects over the next week I'm considering switching to a fortnightly or even monthly format for now. It's been really useful for me to collect my thoughts at the start of the week and look back on the progress I've made, but it's needed less when I already have a client to hold me to account.

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 13/11/17

I've had a really busy and exciting week. I did some work for a client remaking a flash game
as an HTML5 game. It went really well and has led to at least one more project and probably more afterwards. I'm still putting finishing touches to it and making sure everything is compatible with the client's site so I'll post more next week but obviously this is great news and I'm pretty chuffed right now.
Backseat coder

Paying work for a client clearly takes priority over my own games and even over my web developer course so those will have to take a bit of a back seat for the duration. I'm still hoping to spend a day at least on both these but we'll have to see.

Having been so busy, I've not been able to make any progress on the Zombie Cannon Attack! postmortem. I really would like to get it done though so I'll try and find time over the next few days. Progress on my next game project (a sci-fi shooter/crafter) was also limited, but I have now finished coding all the artisans and equipment. It's pretty rough still but I generally find that once the basic code is in place the hardest part is mostly over and I can then use a more focused approach to make continual incremental improvements.

So as I said, an exciting week and things are a little up in the air right now. When they settle down a bit I may need to reconsider the format of this blog but for now I'll see you next week as usual.

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 06/11/17

I spent a good chunk of last week trying to shake off a stomach bug, so only managed a pretty poor 20 hours work. After the solid 35 hours I put in the week before I'm a little disappointed, but these things can't be helped and I'm better now and raring to go.

Postmortem postponed
I've pretty much run out of things to say about this title screen, so I really do need to get that postmortem done!
Unfortunately that means I haven't had chance to get much work done on the Zombie Cannon Attack! postmortem I've been meaning to do for a few weeks now. It'll be a separate post to the weekly devblogs though so I can just post it as soon as it's finished.

That new game smell...

Work on my new project also suffered a little, but I did manage to tidy up the code a bit to cut down on some of the repetition and hopefully speed things up going forward. In terms of new features I managed to add another artisan (a heavy armourer) and the ability to sell weapons and armour. Although I'd planned to get the gear crafting part of the game coded first, I also spent some time working on the shoot 'em up section. It's still very basic so making a few improvements was a pretty easy win while I was still recovering. The crafting section is what's interesting to me at the moment, but it's obviously going to be the shooter section that will provide the gameplay screenshots and gifs to pull players in so I'll need to start fleshing it out more pretty soon. 

October Stats:

Twitter followers: 1730 (+81)
October blog views: 1178
Blog views/day: 38 (September was 35)
Hours worked: 130 (4.2 / day) (September was 3.4/day)

I'm pretty happy with how October went, with a bit of a push towards the end I just managed to hit my hours target. That's actually a new record for a calendar month, although I've beaten the hours per day in some of the shorter months. I'm hoping to at least match that this month despite not being off to a great start as you'll have read earlier.
Twitter followers continue to grow but at an ever decreasing rate, perhaps growth will pick up again when I have something to show from the new project but as things stand it's growing with very little effort on my part so I can't really complain.
This blog also grew again, it's a bit more modest this time than the 50% month on month growth in August and September but it's still really nice to see and to be honest that sort of level didn't really feel like it was sustainable forever.

That's all for this week, thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 30/10/17

Another week done, and another month nearly done too. I can't believe how fast this year has gone. I had a really busy week last week, in terms of hours worked it was one of the best of the year so far, and so I'm pretty close to making my hours target for the month despite having to take a few days off for various reasons.
That thinking feeling
It's the most zombieful time of the year!
As I said last week, the Zombie Cannon Attack! Halloween Horror update is out on several platforms (a full list is at the bottom of this post) and if you feel like getting in the Halloween spirit by sending a rampaging zombie horde up against a forest full of witches then you should definitely give the game a try.
In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, pumpkins don't make good barricades. I've tested it so you don't have to.
Now that I've taken it as far as I intend to, both in terms of platforms to release on and updates to the game itself, I'm planning to do a proper postmortem soon (hopefully next week), but I think now's as good a time as any to give a brief update on how things are going in a more general sense.

I started the year with the hope that I could make some sort of career out of making games, but also with an understanding that this was a long shot and pretty unlikely to happen. Indeed it's such a long shot that I can't honestly say I even considered it plan A. I've mainly been teaching myself to code with the intention of pursuing a career as a web developer, which is why I chose to make html5 games in javascript to maximise the crossover between gamedev and webdev. I had hoped that I could make enough money to supplement my savings while I continued learning, but it's been clear to me for months now that this is also pretty unlikely so lately I've been putting more time into web development and less into games.

I've learned a huge amount this year and really enjoyed doing it, I'm still making games (see below) but I've come to accept that it's part hobby, part means to an end (the end being learning programming) and shifted my focus accordingly. Still, if me from 5 years ago had been told I'd have learned to code and released a few games by now I know he/I'd have been pretty impressed.

Let's slice things up a little

As I said at the start of this post, it's been a busy week. Despite the slightly negative overview I've just written I'm pretty happy with how things are going in general and with the new game. I've now got a vertical slice of the game completed and things are starting to come together. Although it's all still very basic and filled with placeholder graphics, you can at least complete the games basic cycle.

As a player you can kill bad guys, collect resources, sell the resources to artisans (well one artisan at the moment). The artisan can then craft equipment (guns only at the moment) which you can then buy from them and equip on your character, then go back out hunting for more resources. Now that one artisan and one equipment slot is working it's just a matter of fairly repetitive copying, pasting and amending to get the others working. Once that's all done I can start focusing more on minor things like graphics and gameplay. Maybe I'll even have a few screenshots before too much longer.


That's all for this week, thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Weekly Development Progress Report, 23/10/17

I was away for a few days last week so I didn't manage to hit my hours target, but despite that I still got quite a lot done and cramming it all into a shorter working week made it feel pretty busy.

More versions than Blade Runner
If The Walking Dead had added witches, maybe I'd still be watching
Well maybe not more, and to be honest I can't be bothered to research and check, but last week I released a downloadable desktop version of Zombie Cannon Attack! on both itch.io and Gamejolt. I also released the demo web version on Gamejolt and updated the Kongregate version to include the new Halloween update that I'd released on Android a week ago. So that's still quite a lot of versions. I'm planning to give it a week or two then write a proper postmortem of the game, but at the moment I've no further plans to release on new platforms or add anything to the game.
If The Walking Dead had added pumpkins, maybe I'd er...
Out with the old, in with the pew

That means I'll be concentrating on my next project from now on. As I've mentioned before it's a sci-fi themed RPG shooter. I'm aiming to keep the shooter part pretty basic, ideally with simple left/right movement and one-button controls. The plan is to have enemies come at you thick and fast while you blast away gaining experience and materials and trying not to die for as long as possible. You'll then take the materials back to your outpost/colony and trade them to various artisans who'll craft better equipment to sell back to you. As you progress your colony will become stronger, as will you and your artisans, allowing you to fight ever tougher monsters. It's still early days but the core mechanics are all variations on things I've enjoyed in other games so it should hopefully mesh together quite well. More on this next week.


Thanks for reading. If you want to keep up to date you can also follow me on Twitter.
My latest game, Zombie Cannon Attack!, is available on all these platforms:
Android
itch.io (desktop download)
Gamejolt (web & desktop)
Kongregate (web)
Give it a try and let me know what you think, feedback is always welcome.