#OneGameAMonth Status Report

It’s February and I’ve been at #OneGameAMonth for about 6 weeks now, so I thought it was about time to comment on how it’s going.

Before that though, a few words about why I’m doing #OneGameAMonth (#1GAM for short) in the first place. Here is the mission statement from my #OneGameAMonth profile page:

My biggest hope in joining #OneGameAMonth is to use it as a chance to challenge all my assumptions about how games should be made. By holding to the seemingly impossible goal of One Game a Month, I hope to find what I need to change (and what I’m unwilling to sacrifice) in order to make more, better games. Also, making friends and becoming AWESOME!

My main goal is to challenge myself to approach game development in ways that I haven’t before. So, this is how am I doing so far:

For my first #OneGameAMonth project, I decided to start with an easy warm-up: an update of an existing game. In this case, an update for my latest XBLIG game, Robot Legions. Be sure to check it out to see how it went.

For my next trick, I’m going to try for a real challenge and make a new game.

Naturally, making a new game from scratch takes time so I’m leveraging as much of my previous projects as possible. I’m even going so far as copying my last released game’s code wholesale and then replacing the parts I need to make my new game. While I am spending some time cleaning up and excising code I don’t need, I expect this approach to pay dividends once I start having to implement menus and such. If I can get away with just re-skinning and adjusting the flow of my previous title’s menu code, I can spend that much more time focused on the gameplay itself.

The other weapon in my time-saving arsenal is an almost single-minded focus on the game’s concept. I want to do ONE THING with this game and that is replicate the feeling of an Itano Circus. The Itano Circus (or “Macross Missile Massacre”) refers to the wild flurries of missiles that occur in anime dogfights like those in Macross. Check out the video below if you want to see what I mean:

While making a game, it’s easy to have feature creep set in and blow the scope of the project. As much as possible, I’m trying to stay aware of that phenomenon and stop myself went it starts to take place. Whenever I have a new idea for the game, I ask myself: “Does this help the Itano Circus feel?” If not, I cut it. Then and there.

Here are screenshots of what I have so far.

(It’s probably not coincidental that every choice I make to bring out the Itano Circus-ness of the game seems to take it closer to Afterburner II. I imagine the creators of that game drew inspiration from many of the same sources I’m now using.)

So far, I’m managing to keep focused on my goal. Hopefully I can keep it up and finish this game this month. After all, I have a new project waiting for me next month because, well you know, #OneGameAMonth.

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