Its been a while since my last blog post, allot have happened since then. Firstly for all of your looking for the MonoGame tutorials, I’m afraid they are gone :(. The backup database I had was corrupt and the hacker completely ruined the live db. So I’m sorry for those of you coming here looking for those articles.
While I’m on the subject of MonoGame, I’m afraid to say that I am unable to continue too contribute to MonoGame. I can’t go into details on why this is, but i’m utterly heart broken that I can’t work on it anymore :'( . The people on the core MonoGame team are really top notch developers, and there is a great community building up around it, I have really enjoyed the last 2 years working on the project. It’s a fantastic project but they need people willing to get involved and help fix bugs and add features. So if you can get involved.
But there is a silver lining in every cloud, I now have some spare time which I need to do something with. Sitting in front of the TV works for a while but your brain starts rotting without something interesting to do :). I was chatting with my good friend @TheCacktus from Songbird Creations, and he set me a challenge.. Write a Game in 4 weeks, sounds like a simple enough task doesn’t it. But there are some rules involved here (he’s a bit of a git sometimes 😉 ) The 4 weeks are divided up into 4 sections, Design, Develop, PlayTest, Tweak, you can only spend a week on each (that includes anytime spent doing your day job, eating, sleeping, family time etc). If you go over a week for any section, you have to scrap the entire project and start again (this last bit I think it supposed to force you to focus and stick to your schedule).
So the sections..
- Design – This phase does not involve code at all, you have 7 days to design and spec out a game you can right in 7 days. All on paper, or a google doc. So no code, no graphics , don’t even think about going near an IDE, graphics can only be on paper unless you are using free graphics. You need to spec out the game mechanics, controls, any menu transitions, scoring, target platform(s) etc, all needs to be done in those 7 days. Remember this is actual time not cumulative time, so if you have to work late for your day job that week, or its your girlfriends birthday, tough you loose that time.
- Develop – Now you get to code up your spec. Use what ever tooling you want, MonoGame, Unity, Marmalade, etc, do your graphics and sound (if any) and code , code , code. At this point you cannot change your spec, if something looks like it won’t work too bad. You have to resist the temptation to ‘tweak’ the design from the first week. Again, you only have a week, despite what life throws at you.
- PlayTest – This is your time to take a week off. Get a friend (preferably on that will give you honest feedback) to play your game. Get their feedback, make a note of all of their comments. Note do not change the code this week, you are not allowed to! This week is only for testing, you can’t fix bugs so try to catch them in the Develop week.
- Tweak – Finally you can get back to the code, and start to polish it a bit. Implement the feedback you got from your testers or ignore it if you like if you think the game is good enough. Fix bugs.
At the end of the 4 weeks the theory is you will have a simple game, at this point you can decide to publish it or tweak it a bit more. But the point is you’ve written a game. I’m going to give this a go in the next couple of weeks and see how I get on. I’ll blog my progress and we’ll see how I get on.