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One Bite at a Time

Posted January 21, 2013 By Andrew Bradley

So goes the old joke, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

It’s a valuable reminder, which can be applied to lots of different things in life, but seems especially relevant for game development in general, and even the One Game a Month project. Early last week, I had a bit of a panic, looking at how much there still was to do on the January project. While it’s certainly valuable to list out things which need doing, and I’ve made milestone lists, and weekend punch lists, and nightly plans on numerous occasions already this month, it’s also important not to let those lists get you down.

I think most of us participating in 1GAM know this, but in case you’ve forgotten, the whole game is the elephant, and each line of code, each asset you create, each time you launch the game and something new works the way you’d hoped, that’s a big bite. It might not seem that big in terms of the elephant, but the thing will be done eventually.

It also raises a point that again, I think most participants in 1GAM know the importance of, but in case there are any real amateurs out there, this might bear mentioning. Revision control is your best friend. Seriously. I knew this to be the case, and still didn’t actually set up a repository until just the other day, when I started making really big changes and then panicking that I might have gone and broken things that already worked. Luckily I hadn’t, but still, I took the lesson to heart and immediately set up a local Git repository, followed by a web-based one at BitBucket.

I hear you scoffing at me for not using GitHub, but I like BitBucket having free private repositories, and if the size of my team grows past five on any project, I’ll be slightly shocked. I also found BitBucket a bit easier to get started on. So if you’re new to this whole thing, choose one or the other. Or both. Once the project is finished, I might move it to GitHub for distribution. We’ll see.

Anyway, this was a long enough break. Get back to work on your game.

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Some Inspiration, Perhaps

Posted January 16, 2013 By Andrew Bradley

I’m not really a programmer.

I came into One Game a Month as primarily a game designer, with a little background in scripting and light programming. This is a large part of why I chose Love2D for my first game, since it uses Lua, one of the languages with which I have some facility.

So maybe you’re reading this, and you’re not a programmer, and you think this thing is overwhelming. Well, use One Game a Month to inspire you. For all the time I’ve spent reading how-to’s on programming and perusing books and tutorial websites, the most value I got was from getting in there and writing some code, which before this month was only occasional, but is now almost  daily.

I still am not really a programmer, but I’m getting better at it. And this week, I haven’t had tutorial windows open side-by-side with my code windows, I’ve just had Lua code windows and my brain, and I’ve solved some problems using those tools. With a couple of weeks of working at it every day.

If there’s one thing I know I’ll gain from the One Game a Month experience, it’s that — experience. I’ll have done something. I’ve done NaNoWriMo before (although I can’t imagine doing that 12 times in a row) and this is kind of similar.

Anyway, here’s a screenshot, further updated from the last one. I just spent more time than I thought I had creating a fog-of-war type effect for the game. I realize that I could’ve probably looked up a snippet somewhere for this, but I’m proud for solving it myself, even if my solution ends up being less than elegant.Image

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Now get to work.

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Progress Report

Posted January 14, 2013 By Andrew Bradley

So, the month is not-quite half over. Which is heartening, to me at last, although the twitter-verse seems to be slightly ambivalent about the rapid pace of this month. And, you ask, where are all these blog posts you’ve promised?

Well, I’ve been using what time I have to actually work on the project. See, there’s a screenshot!

screenshot from a silly little game.

First Screenshot from our first One Game a Month Project


I spent a day or three outlining what the game was going to be, then a few more days dithering over what 2d framework to use (before settling on Love 2D which has the advantages of being free, being easy to use, and being based on using Lua, which is the programming language in which I have the most facility.) So, that said, I’ve only actually been working on the game for like a week, and I have 2 weeks and a few days left, and I think I’m in decent shape.

As you might guess from the screenshot, and its far-too-revealing title bar, the game is tentatively called “F.O.X. — Federal Organization on Extraterrestrials” Those federal organizations aren’t fantastic at spelling their acronyms, you see.

What I have so far in my very limited time is some incredibly attractive artwork (as you’ve noted) and the ability to fly your flying saucer around this rural scene, plus the ability for me to pretty quickly whip up additional levels when progress warrants. Still to come is the ability to use your flying saucer to abduct people, menus, sound, the story behind why you’re going around abducting people, and of course, the ability to draw crop circles.

So I should get to work.

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Welcome, Stranger

Posted December 30, 2012 By Andrew Bradley

This is a relatively boring introductory post.

Strangeland Games, as the name implies, is a group of people who make games. At present, that group consists of about 2.5 people. (Half-person, you know who you are.) We’ve been kicking around talking about making games for a number of years, but our company meetings consist mostly of getting beer and complaining about the things that went wrong at the game development studio we all used to work at.

Now that will change. We’re joining with thousands of other developers (2,130 of them at the moment) in this mad project called One Game a Month. If we live up to our plans, we’ll have produced 12 games by this time next year. Or at least, by 37 hours from this time next year. We won’t short ourselves the time.

In addition, our plan is to update this blog the whole time, describe our experiences and link to the games we make. We’ll be using a variety of SDKs and other tools that are out there, and considering our budget, we will mostly be using free tools. These tools will also be avidly described and discussed here, along with our process, so hopefully to benefit someone else in our position.

As the primary driving force behind Strangeland Games, I am a person who works well on deadlines and with social pressure, so  the One Game a Month project will hopefully work well for us. Our ideas doc already has 20 projects in it, and will probably be over 100 before year’s end, so, huzzah.


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