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old and new


Okay, I’ve been working on the same project for ages. In multiple languages, and a couple different frameworks. My plan from the outset was to create something small so that I could learn the tools and languages I would need to create my own games. Not clickity click around in some game builder either. I wanted to have a really firm grasp of what I was building. I wanted to write the code, and work with the tools on a fairly low level. That said, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I’m not a complete idiot. I realize that the constraints of time and familiarity with the tools wouldn’t allow me to create my own game engine, or anything like that. I started by Using first XNA, dabbling with OGRE, and then settling on Unity. All three allowed me to work quickly enough to see progress, but still required that I learn JavaScript or C# and, more importantly, some work flow, structure, and design strategies.

If, in the future, I’m ever provided with an opportunity to work with a programmer more skilled than myself, a parrot or eggplant for example, I’ll at least understand what they are talking about.

I just recently created an app for the Blackberry Playbook. It is currently going through approval. It is a very small, very simple toy for very young children. Random shapes bounce around the screen and you poke at them to make them burst and fade away. You also hear a satisfying sound. That’s it. It’s called ShapeToy. The point is, simple or not, ShapeToy is a completed app. It’s a finished thing. That you can play with. I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t have done that a year ago.

The main problem with “Color Game” is that I never really designed it as a game. I created a school, and sent myself too it. Like school, learning was the point, and anything that you created has very little value as a stand alone work. There may be something that I can dig out of that and polish up into a game. ShapeToy was designed for a specific purpose. Until I reconsider the color game concept as a game first, it will never really be successful.

So I have decided to shelve Color Game for a bit until I can really rethink it.

I have started up 3 new projects. Each one designed to be a game first. I’ll likely learn something along the way, but these projects are all focused on the finished product, not the process. I’ve started on the one that seems to be the most unabashedly “video game”. If, or rather, when I get hung up on some issue, I will bounce around to the other two projects, hopefully learning something new and clearing any mental blocks. I fully intend for at least one, if not all of these projects to be finished things. That people can play, or even buy. Probably on a phone.

I’ve already started working on the next iteration of ShapeToy, that includes letters, numbers, and different sounds. I’m just waiting on a tool update from RIM that makes some of the local file storage/access features of HTML5 useable from an app. Since I think there is still an enjoyable core to the thing, I’ll probably dive back into Color Game as well, but for now, I think I’ll focus on making some games.  
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