Okay, so this won’t be the first game I’ve started making (or even the 5th). I’ve been playing around with GameMaker studio for years, and did actually complete a game called ‘Squash those Zombie Penguins’ but it’s unreleased pending ironing out some bugs, and I’ve also got quite a respectable engine for a ‘Repton’ clone (those boulder routines were a pain). I put the Repton game on hold, simply because programming AND graphics were becoming a bit too much.
The other day, though I came across a program on Steam called Pixelgame Maker, and as it was on sale I thought ‘why not’. It certainly seems versatile enough to create a solid platform game, and it’s certainly more flexible that RPG Maker (though the interface isn’t good on a laptop screen, that’s for sure). But for around £20, I felt like it might be fun to see what I could do.
As I mentioned above, for someone doing creative stuff around a full time job (and also with a book illustration gig on the go in the evening), coding plus graphics is a major time sink, especially when you’re learning about how to create algorithms at the same time. Whilst getting a simple game engine up and running wasn’t too bad, it was all of the other stuff such as menus, save routines, score tables, etc – and then there was actually designing puzzles for a Repton-style game, which is a monolithic task in itself. Having a piece of software that would reduce this workload is a real boon for a solo desgner.
Anyway, I’ve posted a gif of my main character above – it needs some tweaking but I’m pretty happy so far. I’ve never created a proper platform game before because – again – just the extra coding required for AI, physics, etc was a major hurdle. I’m taking 3 games from my Atari ST years as inspiration. Turrican 2 (for its fantastic level design), Onslaught (for being a mass-battle, one man army game in an era when platform games made the player feel as vulnerable as a new-born kitten), and Prince of Persia (which I’ll possible include for its platforming elements, as I’ll be making a distinction between the cat running and walking).