Eevee grew to level 34!
I super almost forgot to write one of these!
What a very, very long year. I went back through my dev journal to see what I’d done and could not believe most of this happened in the past year. Even stuff from August feels like it must have been at least a year ago.
I made our first Steam release: Cherry Kisses, a polished version of a jam game we made (though didn’t finish in time to get in the jam, oops) the year before. It’s sold pretty decently, especially considering the reduced audience (adult games are hidden on Steam unless you opt into them), so that’s been nice.
I started HRT! Then I stopped HRT. Alas.
I dipped my toes into Godot for real this time with Rogue Ike, a Strawberry Jam game that was perhaps much too ambitious for a first (and time-limited) attempt but worked out as a proof of concept. I don’t think I’ll pick this back up until I’ve made something a bit more substantial, though; I’ve got a lot of bits and pieces of Godot code now but still don’t feel like I have a solid grasp of how I’d approach architecture for a new game.
I poured some feelings into a little PICO-8 game: Star Anise Chronicles: Oh No Wheres Twig??, a charming little platformer about my cat’s fursona. It’s probably my favorite thing I’ve ever released.
I did actually an incredible lot of work on fox flux over the summer and made massive strides with it in a relatively short span of time? It was a broken hopeless mess at the start of the year, and now it’s… well, not. Better art, better physics, more plot ideas, a lot more little bits and pieces implemented, a whole minigame conceived and mostly implemented, a level tally… it feels like a real game, even!
I also took a crack at a possible port of fox flux to Godot, which was informative both about Godot itself and about designing complex actors in general, but I don’t think I’m going to continue with it. Godot does make some stuff easier, but at the cost of a lot of rough edges that will seriously slow me down — a lot of basic functionality I’ve been taking for granted in my current setup of LÖVE-duct-taped-to-Tiled just does not exist in Godot, and some of the 2D tooling has major oversights that I’d have to work around. Some of this will be fixed in Godot 4, but I don’t want to wait for that just to continue on this game that I’ve already poured a lot of work into. I’ll probably do something simpler in Godot 4 when it comes out.
I poured most of the last four months of the year into a surprise project, by which I mean, I surprised myself by doing it: Lexy’s Labyrinth, a web-based and unencumbered Chip’s Challenge 2 emulator — the first of its kind! It still has some teeny compatibility issues, but for the most part it faithfully plays both the original Chip’s Challenge 1 and 2 as well as tons of community levels created over the years. It needs a bit more polish, and then I’m gonna call it “basically finished” and make a bigger effort to drum up interest in it.
I think I worked on baz, the game engine I wanted to make that was intended as a bridge between MegaZeux and PuzzleScript and bitsy? But I haven’t touched it in a while now. I also started a web-based Sudoku player and then lost interest in Sudoku again. And then there was the AC:NH companion, which I kept up with until I lost interest in Animal Crossing. Hmmm.
I did dip my toe back into blogging with the well-received CSS post, and then not so much for a while. I started the “gamedev from scratch” series to replace the ill-fated book I toyed with writing, but it has yet to see a second installment.
I feel like I miss making video games, even though I did rather a lot of it this year. I guess I don’t feel like I released any; Cherry Kisses was an existing game, Rogue Ike didn’t get further than a handful of rooms, fox flux is still quite a ways off from being done, and Lexy’s Labyrinth is really a game engine. That leaves the Star Anise game as the only “““real””” one I released, but that may not be an entirely fair way to gauge how much work I’ve done.
I do miss writing more often. I guess after everything that happened three years ago, I never quite figured out how to reconnect with the universe. Sometimes I go on a tweeting spree for a couple days, and that feels nostalgic, but in general I’ve gotten more withdrawn and don’t quite know how to shake it. I’m still trying.
I like how well Cherry Kisses did, and I’d kinda like to do small adult game releases more regularly — they’re fun to design and write, they make folks happy, and they bring in a steady trickle of sales. I have a concept for one I’m going to start on during Strawberry Jam 5 next month, but it’s a bit more ambitious, so I might have to do something smaller for Steam purposes this year. Maybe I should take this as an opportunity to get a real foothold in Godot? Cherry Kisses wasn’t terribly complicated; I could recreate something like that without much trouble, and spend some time ironing out wrinkles.
I do want to keep working on fox flux — it’s been just about four years since the jam version now, and I still love the idea and would like to get it seriously going. I’ve spent so much time on engine and design stuff that I still barely have any areas to show!
And of course I would very much love to get that gamedev from scratch series going. I promised one installment per month, and I already missed December because I was neck-deep in Lexy’s Labyrinth, so I really ought to write two in the next week. We’ll see how that goes.
I don’t know how I feel about being 34. Solidly in my mid-30s. I still remember the days, twenty years ago now, when I was the youngest person I knew in almost any circles: online, at school, whatever. Now I’m usually one of the oldest, as most folks my age are off with children and careers; whereas I’ve made a life out of making weird stuff on the internet, just like I did as a teenager.
Still, I guess that means I’m exactly where I always wanted to be.
Browsers all have autoplay restrictions now, so you’ll have to hit play on this yourself.