The Satisfaction of Creating Your first Playable Game Demo (Part 1)
Making a game can be a tedious and even at times frustrating process, however the overwhelming feeling of joy one can feel when what started as a small idea is finally implemented and working properly is priceless. I recently started working on project with my artist friend Max, who had an idea and some mockup artwork for creating a zombie platformer. Honestly, we really didn’t have much to work with but we jumped in with both feet and just started throwing out ideas as we went, which in my opinion is not a bad approach for game design. Max ended up taking on more of a designer/artist role, while I took on the role of producer/programmer.
After a couple of brainstorming sessions and with a small amount of artwork in hand, I decided to start in on the implementation. To build our project we decided to use Gamemaker, which caused a little headache as the program is a Windows application and I generally prefer to work on OS X or Linux but for this project Windows sufficed. If you have never used Gamemaker before, there can be a small learning curve but there is a ton of documentation and tutorials available to anyone with an itchy trigger finger on the google machine. I recommend that you check out Shaun Spalding if you are looking to get started. Once you figure out how to create player objects, add sprites to them and insert them into a room, the coding is actually pretty easy. Gamemaker uses GML, which you can probably guess stands for Gamemaker Language but syntactically I would compare it to Java.
Eventually we had a working prototype with just one level but the satisfaction of seeing it come together was a great feeling. We decided to make the main character of the game be a zombie who kills other zombies because by some unexplained miracle his brain was left intact. We named him ZombieBob, which also ended up being the title for the game.
We are are still in the process of developing this game, however we do have a five level demo available for any kind soul who would be willing to play it and supply feedback as far as how the game mechanics feel as well as let us know of potential bugs. Unfortunately at this time, the game is only available as an exe file, so it will only run on Window unless you are running an application such as Wine on your Linux or OS X machine.