One of the things about actually doing something, is finding out exactly what goes into doing something. For example, I just spent the entire of last week programming the camera. And looking after my wife and kid, who caught the plague.
Let’s back up a bit here.
Last week was a pretty rough week, gamedevwise speaking. I had to stay at home to look after the kid, and going in to it, I thought that I would have some spare time to do some development, but hoooo boy. If anyone tells you that taking care of the kid and being a home maker is an easy job, smack him for me. Thank you wifey!
So the whole of last week was pretty much a bust, and this week, I focused on the camera of the game. You never notice the camera in a game (unless its terrible), but when you’re making a game of your own, you have to take care of EVERYTHING. This means also the camera. You think cameras are easy? Check out what goes into Mario’s camera – bet you never even noticed half the stuff that the camera did. That’s a great camera.
At first, I did the easy thing and locked the camera to the player (see last week’s gif for comparison). It actually made the jumping terrible! It was super hard to control, and just felt wrong. It wasn’t until I locked the camera to the floor that the jumps started to “feel” right, and even then, it’s a bit floaty. The next thing to deal with? Jumps. Mario’s jumps are famous in the industry (clueless investors notwithstanding), and my jumps feel terrible in comparison.
It’s not just the camera, or the jumps, or any one of the other million tiny things that go into a game though (do you know how long it took for me to write the script that makes the dollar sign float into the air and disappear? Longer than I’ll admit, that’s how long), it’s all of them! As a solo game developer, I have to deal with every single one of these issues to the best of my ability, and frankly it’s terrifying. That said, at least I don’t have to count on shipping to put food on the table, so there’s that. I’m gaining a newfound respect for those single/two-man indies out there putting out good work – Onemanleft studios’ Outwitters is one of them. Sadly the game didn’t make it, but I think it made a good run. I still root for Hero Academy though. 😉
So, the next time you curse a game for having a horrible camera (Sonic Adventures, looking at you), have a heart. There’s a frustrated programmer on the other side of the screen who said “screw this!” and threw himself out of a window.