Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year! How I Evolved in 2013

Hi guys! For the last post of the year, I decided to write a "post-mortem" of this year, here it goes.

The crazy year of 2013 was surprising for me. I've accomplished many things, yet I let a lot of things to desire. I acquired many skills, but most of them are not perfected. I started less projects, made much more, but the majority is not finished. Let's talk about this.

Barriers were broken (OK, they were just damaged)

For almost 9 years I've been deving games. From RPGMaker and TGF to C++ and OpenGL, I've been always programming and making small games. All this time solving every kind of problem you can imagine, made me feel very close to programming, and surely that's what I want to follow on my career, but focusing solely on programming put one problem on my way: I never focused on drawing, or composing, or designing good levels... This hurts my projects so much. There is always a point where I have an awesome prototype, but I give up on it because I think it's ugly and I can't make it better, or I think that it's too hard to get some cool puzzle in it...
2013 was no exception. This year I started some cool projects, like Cookie Thieves and the Unnamed RPG, and both went to the archive of unfinished projects. It happened that I couldn't see how to make good puzzles in Cookie Thieves, and as a mobile project, it should have been focused on art, but it wasn't.

Cookie thieves after it's first graphics update

For God's sake, I realized that I should have been working on my other skills. I have learned that when you can't do a thing, or if you're just lazy to do it right now, don't complain and just do it now. Even if it ends up really ugly, or really unappealing, or really [any bad adjective here]. You'll always have the chance to fix it so start it. If you don't start, you'll never finish.

I started learning some basics of cartoon anatomy and vector art, I liked a lot, here's one example of my progress:

Here's the before and after of a character of the Cookie thieves v2. It took me more than 50 iterations to get it like this. Just do it. Do it ugly. Fix it later.
Even with a new platform gameplay, with new graphics, I archived Cookie thieves in reason of my second weakness: Game Design. I couldn't manage to make it fun to play, to make fun levels.
I started working on this weakness on my Ludum Dare Game: You Only Get A Nap. It was a simple platformer, with only one mechanic, that is the jump skill, and different sets of enemies. The levels were shit. They were linear, they had just one way of finishing, and were way too hard (some on purpose, but some not). But that taught me a lot. My next platformer game surely will have more ways to be explored.

Last but not least in this section, I've started to learn pixel art (not the junk I've been doing, but really pixel art). I've never thought it could be so easy yet so hard. I don't have a creative thinking, but when I get to imagine something, things start flowing. Here are some examples of pixel arts that I did this year:

Not INCREDIBLE art, but it's way better than what I was used to draw.

I got a partner

In late 2012 I got a girlfriend named Isabel and we're having a very close relationship. One of these days, she found out that I make games, and she got interested. I told her about how programming is cool, and we almost talk to the computer, showed her how composing music is actually simple with SFXR and Chirp, how she could make any 3d object with just extruding boxes... She always had a grin on the face, (at least in my head) it seems that she fell in love with the job.
I started teaching her the basics of programming, she made some simple music on chirp, drew some stuff on Aseprite... Well, now she's studying the basic of everything, maybe if she get good at doing this, she will join me on doing games in 2014 :)

Blogging is fun!

Yeah! and this one is the reason why you're reading this. I decided to start a blog on early December, and here we are. The blog got some cool audience with the Procedural Tracks post and this is nice, I never thought I would get 15k people reading me in only 3 days! In 2014 I have plans on making much more cool prototypes like that one, and interacting much more here. :)

Finished High School

This was my last High School year, and I passed it with no problems! In 2014 if I don't work, or get into any university, I'll have lots and lots and lots of free time. Guess what will I do? Jam more, practice more, dev more, try to focus on one project, release this one project... Yay!

What about you?

What will you do to get a better 2014?