Written by Robert O’Shea
Fellow gamers and geeks alike, welcome to the first Dev Diaries post here on TROP. In this series, I’m hoping to inspire my fellow gamers and friends (present and future) to take up programming for fun or profit!
But first, a little about me: I’m Robert O’Shea and I’m a hobby programmer from Limerick with about 12 years making nonsense software for myself just for fun! Over the years I’ve dabbled with Unity (the cross-platform game engine) to make games and many different programming languages like Python (my first language), C++ and Java.
About 7 years ago, I was in the University of Limerick where I studied Computer Game Development. I was there for about 3 years before I stepped away from the course but during that time, I spent 9 months working for Intel which I absolutely loved. Here I am now, writing for TROP! Before I get onto the details of what games I’ll be posting about though let me just say that:
Anyone and I mean anyone can get into programming and game development
There are countless ways to start your own adventures into game development nowadays and most of them are completely free like Unity and Unreal Engine. Not to mention there are also an inordinate amount of free videos and written tutorials that can teach you all you need to know about programming.
Ok, no that, that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. What am I working on? Currently, I plan to be making small games that support PC and Android devices. The first of which is an endless runner with the placeholder name “Run and Gun”. Alongside this, I am working on a larger project that will span the rest of the year, if not more, codenamed “First & Final Fantasy”. I am also hoping to partake in a game jam hackathon for video games this year for the first time! These are contests that require making a game within a certain amount of time while adhering to a predetermined theme.
Run and Gun
“Run and Gun”, will have a simple premise. You are on a 2D plane jumping to avoid walls and spikes. You have a gun that shoots different types of projectiles, which are determined by a pickup acquired while playing much like Contra. I’m hoping to be done with this game in about 2 to 3 months and that anyone reading this gets a chance to play on the Google App Store or download from the website itch.io. Both options will be free of charge and ad-free. The following is in physics mode that only shows boxes so this is not representative of the final product:
The player is the small box on the left and the bigger boxes are obstacles. Artwork for this game is in the early stages so you’ll see a much better-looking game soon.
First & Final Fantasy
FFF is a game that will harken back to the top-down RPGs of old, with Final Fantasy being the major influence of the game. The magic in the game is determined by breathing, you can spend a turn to control your breathing and regain MP. This feature will be restricted to player characters and bosses. Despite not boasting the same ability, enemies can perform attacks that interrupt breathing, therefore damaging both HP and MP. In future entries, I’ll detail the story as it is written.
I am currently in the phase of designing tools that make designing the levels, enemies, and attacks infinitely easier. In the business, companies would either buy pre-made software or roll some of their own tools for making game files as making these files by hand is both, time-consuming and highly error-prone. For example, this is a dungeon creator I am working on:
This might look a little confusing to outsiders not having use the tool before though it is fairly simple but still will require some explaining if this is something you want to hear about please let me know.
So, I’m hoping this little introduction to what I am working on has intrigued you. I want to show you that game development is completely accessible to any and everyone. I am writing these development diaries with the hope that I can inspire you to download something like Unity and begin creating your own games.
As regards the future of these diaries, I will be covering my journey to completing several games and maybe even a game jam before the year is out. You will see entries on Run and Gun or First & Final Fantasy or as projects are finished, new and exciting games. I am really looking forward to seeing feedback and questions so feel free to interact.