My First(ish) Game

Let me start by saying that I started playing around in Game Maker Studio about a month ago. I started by picking a tutorial series on YouTube and diving in. The tutorial series I chose was for a turn-based strategy game. I started this tutorial while I was doing research on best practices, so it took me a bit to realize that it was not a good place to start. This is not the game I am going to talk about today. It was not starting small, therefore it went against the guidelines I am trying to stick to. I did finish the tutorial series because I did not want to set the precedence of quitting in the middle of a project.  The tutorial did not result in a complete game but it did form the foundation for the game that I will go back to when I have more experience.

That is why the game I am going to talk about is my first-ish game 🙂

YouTube has been a great resource during this process. I used several tutorials to learned different aspects of Game Maker Studio. I will link to the tutorials that I used in this project at the bottom of the post.

Any way, on to the game. As I stated in my last post, I am trying starting small.  My first game is like the classic Asteroids, just with a few extras.

Before I get too far in, let me start off with a download link:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3rrMbEbJFinMEFzVmhONXNPalU

The file type is one that is generally used for testing purposes.  You should be able to launch the game from the single file.  My understanding is that some anti-virus programs do not like it, so if there are too many problems, I can try to upload something different.  I am looking into ways to embed the game into my blog posts.  Hopefully that will come in the near future.

Now into the game.

BA_Title
I am not happy with the title screen.  I am going to remake it.

Here are the things that were involved with this game:

  • Pixel art:  This “old school” style of art that you would see on game consoles such as the NES and Super NES. While I am not new to digital art, I am new to pixel art. I found it to be a fun challenge to find the balance between detail and simplicity while working in a limited area. I did look at a couple tutorials, but I didn’t find any of them very helpful. I mainly used Photoshop and the Game Maker’s built-in image editor. I can proudly say that all of the art in the game was made by me.
  • Sound:  The sound in the game is very simple.  I used bfxr.net to create all the sounds.  This is one area that I am looking to improve upon.
  • Collisions:  What to do when something runs into something else. Collisions are going to happen a lot in this game.  Between the tutorials and threads on the Game Maker Studio forums, I got the collisions mostly working.  There are still some bugs with things not always bouncing properly, but it does not keep the game from being playable.
  • Particles:  The explosions and thrust trail in the game are made with particles.  Two tutorials and some experimenting got me to this point.  I want to experiment more and try to use the particle system in more ways.
  • State Machine:  This is just a fancy way of saying “Look at this one thing and do something based on its value and this list of outcomes”.  I am not new to state machines.  For those who are familiar with coding, it generally uses a switch statement.

That pretty much sums it up for now.  It took me about a week to get to this point and I still have some cleaning up to do and bugs to squash.  I will likely have one more post on this game when it is done.

-Ryan

Links to the tutorials I used:

Creating a star field in Photoshop – used for the background

Making a game like asteroids – first video in a 12 part series

Particles

Another one on particles

Making a beam

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