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This week in gamedev #1

As part of my exit from Twitter, I plan to have some work in progress (WIP) posts and information on what I’m doing in my “gamedev” projects. Or at least, updates mostly related to game development, because I think I may include other development related topics, but gamedev is catchier than plain dev, isn’t it?

This is not Twitter. The format is different and, essentially, even if I make notes as the events happen, I don’t see much value on posting them “as-is” (although people liked that on Twitter).

So instead I’m going to write one post a week with those notes more or less redacted, although I may still post specific WIPs any time when the content is longer than a short Twitter thread.

Looking at my usual week, the updates are likely to be from Thursday to Thursday, but this is not a rule set on stone anyway.

Let’s do this!

Brick Rick: Graveyard Shift

Not a lot has happened on this project. Basically: the game is finished!

Attraction mode

The attraction mode in action

I said back in December last year that it was very likely that the game would be out by the end of January 2021. So, what’s going on?

First of all, I started with the struggle of drawing the loading screen, because it’s not my thing! Then I remembered someone contacted me in April 2019 offering a collaboration to draw the loading screen of a game I was working on back then –a game that was cancelled, by the way–.

At that time I was impressed with the screens that he had produced until that point, but I politely declined because I had that project covered already.

Anyway, the good news is that he will be working on the loading screen of Graveyard Shift; although he asked for some reference art, and I don’t have that. Which makes sense, if I could draw, I would draw the loading screen myself.

The truth is that I didn’t want to think about a physical release at this point, but then my wife suggested (wisely, I must say) that I could commission the cover art and use that as reference for the loading screen. I’m happy to say that I’m working again with the artist that did the cover art of Brick Rick for the Amstrad CPC.

Now that I’m going to have cover art, almost accidentally I have found a publisher that is keen to release the game on cassette in a nice budget-style label. It’s not a closed deal, but I’ll move it forward as soon as I have the cover art.

Looks like things are coming together nicely, but all this takes time.

Meanwhile, testing is going very well. A few bugs were fixed in the first pass –some of them of the embarrassing type–, and I think we already have a version that we could call “release candidate”.

There is still at least one song missing, and I should tackle that before the art is ready. Turns out, the Halloween-ish theme isn’t that easy.

I don’t like that the project has gone a bit cold, but I don’t have a deadline anyway.

The website of the game has been online for a while now.

Drawing on the MSX

After I released my libraries to make MSX games in C, I got the MSX itch again. I guess I had lot of fun putting together the example game in 3 days or so.

I’ve been drawing some tiles, partly looking for inspiration, partly aiming to a game idea that perhaps could work fine (spoiler: with a rogue-like component).

It is still too early to reveal anything, but I’m excited. I may even consider submitting the game to MSXdev'21, although I haven’t been much of fan of game jams in the last few years.

Refactoring my Scala.js and Canvas 2D experiment

I’ve been working on and off on my Scala.js and Canvas 2D experiment for a while now, and I don’t know what to do with it.

A nice side effect of not knowing what to do is that I’ve been reviewing the code again, and after this last refactoring, I think it is starting to look great.

In some parts I have decided that it doesn’t make much sense to go full FP because of the interaction with the Javascript underneath. A bit of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) is just fine.

The idea was to:

  • write some Scala out of my day job
  • make gamedev targeting the web more comfortable by using the same tools I use working with Scala
  • have some fun!
  • may be make a game?

So I’m fine with that (although to be clear: the code was fine already).

And that’s all for this week in gamedev.

Would you like to discuss the post? You can send me an email!