Aug 082012

I’ve been dabbling in game development for at least 7 years. A lot of knowledge and experience have been absorbed, but there’s not a lot to show for it. My primary project was originally a barely-playable prototype, but has been a technology demo ever since.

A year and a half ago, I wrote that you have to complete simple game projects before building larger games successfully. I’m sure it’s not a universal rule, but I have no doubt a more experienced developer designs better games. I failed to follow my own advice and continued dabbling with my existing project. There’s not a lot of free time in my schedule, but I’m now certain I have enough to get things done.

Screenshot of N-Snakes game

At the end of July I attended a Boston Python Meetup focusing on simple projects. Based on a Pygame template they built, I was able to quickly build a playable game. I’m not about to win any speed-coding competitions, but I have an interesting game after one month of dabbling.

The game I’m working on is a clone of the old nibbles/snake game. It’s still rough, but I’m planning on taking it in a new direction. Perhaps something closer to the game fl0w.

In addition to building experience in the complete game development process, having a game framework to build upon is very useful. Even if my next game doesn’t use the pygame library, there are all sorts of useful portions of code that can be re-used (event queue, effects handling, badge/award system, etc).

I would like to continue N-Snakes until it is a complete game. Then I can decide whether there’s another mini-game that intrigues me, or return to my larger project. Using a library like Pygame, it’s quite realistic to have a playable prototype in just a day or two – especially if you have existing code samples to pull from. After 7 years of dabbling, I have a legitimate chance of a fully-developed game in less than 6 months.

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