A Game Every Two Weeks

It pains me to say it, but the best game I have ever made took me two weeks and was completed in August of 2013. Mr Bandana was a little project I made to explore making games in canvas using Javascript. I worked four or so hours a day after work and ended up with something I was quite proud of, so much so that I demonstrated it to the entire development team at my former employer.

Mr Bandana / Bandana Man / Captain Bandana (I never did pick a final title)

That rekindled my love of games development and for the next few months I created a number of little games or canvas experiments and posted them to my site. Each was more complicated than the last and I began to experiment with writing an engine in canvas. As my ambitions increased project scope followed. Months were spent on a 2D engine that ran on top of canvas, but none of the games I created from it ever saw the light of day and the complexity of the engine eventually drove me away from the hobby of games development for a few months.

In 2014 I returned with a couple of small projects. Protest was the first, a game made for the Edge Get Into Games 2014 competition with a couple of my friends. It was my first game project in which I worked remotely with three other team mates and my first time working with Unity. I was very proud of our accomplishment even though we got no where in the competition. So proud in fact that I got my first tattoo to commemorate the project.

The other was Sunwalker, my second favourite game again made in two weeks as a competition with one of my close friends. It was another simple 2D game, only a single level with a few enemies and a boss. While crude to look at it was probably the most complicated programming challenge I had released to date (and featured my first attempts to work with Belzier curves).

After Sunwalker my output came to a screeching, and until now final, halt. I moved jobs, got busy, got depressed and had really bad issues with insomnia. I didn’t stop making games, but I started making the same mistakes as I had at the end of 2013. Project complexity went up. The games ideas got more grandiose, the requirements of each project got bigger, the scope spiralled out of control and every single time I would give up, lost in a tangle of requirements and code complexity.

I never stopped making games but a lot of fun had gone from my hobby. After moving jobs my sleep got better, I started feeling a lot better mentally. Everything was coming up Tyas at last. It was during an interview that I was asked “Why haven’t you released anything new on your portfolio in the last two years?”. I stammered out a response about scope and a desire to return and I guess I said the right things because I got the job.

With a new job and much increased health I turned back to my games development hobby. I wanted to get building again. The fun was always in the early chase and my best work came out of two week long projects. So I came on the idea of making a game every two weeks in 2017. I won’t promise each will be great and they’re going to vary massively in gameplay and style. But each one will be released for you to play.

I’m doing this to learn how to build games. To remember why games development is the best damn hobby on the planet. I’m going to be smart about development (you can look forward to a lot of technical blog posts), I’m going to have to relearn how to use Blender and I’m going to be learning a lot of brand new skills.

At the end of the year I’ll pick out the best and start developing them from prototypes into full games. So come along on this journey with me if you like. You’ll get to play some fun games and I’ll take all of your feedback as I pick new projects to prototype.

Happy trails and I’ll see you next time!

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