Despite being a programmer, and someone with an interest in computer games it has never crossed mind to make a game. Well–I’ve helped make a small game in the past by contributing 3D assets and I have, kind of, made games before. One game, but it was really basic. A game that required clicking a moving target which got faster each time it was clicked.

I’ve never thought about programming my own game from scratch, a game that could work on computers, maybe phones, or even game consoles. I always thought that was for the realm of the super talented, those who have experience in the gaming industry or have graduated in computer science. Nevertheless, after creating a Udemy course teaching people how to write fairly complicated web development code I thought, maybe I’m ready, maybe now I’m good enough to try and make my own game.

I spoke to Hannah about this idea and she was incredibly excited, she had all sorts of ideas on what we could make. We had plenty of discussions on a 2D adventure game we could make called, ‘Yaa and the Golden Stool’. The story would be based off Yaa Asantewaa, a Ghanian woman who fought back the British opposition trying to capture the sacred golden stool. We came up with a storyboard, some mechanics, and talked about some of the bosses fights. In the end–we decided to archive that idea. It was far too complicated for two people who had never built a game before. We came up with something more simple, an infinite runner (like Temple Run or Jetpack Joyride), where you play as an armadillo and collect bugs. Hannah was really excited about designing the environment and animating the characters. We later discovered there are loads of games with armadillo’s in them already, so the animal changed to a pangolin. A bit like an armadillo but more prehistoric and endangered. In fact, the pangolin is the world’s most trafficked animal. We also thought it better to make a platformer ( like Mario or Sonic), instead of an infinite runner since we wanted the player to control their direction.

Hannah quickly began sketching characters and environments using Procreate on her iPad, then transferring them to Photoshop for sprite and tilesheets. I looked into what game engine to use. Unity and Unreal are the big ones most people gravitate to but I didn’t have that luxury. I planned to programme the game during work hours (we’re given 10% of our time to work on whatever we want), which meant using the work laptop, and finance companies are pretty strict about what bits of software you can install. So instead of getting a piece of software I got a programming language instead, one called Haxe. I chose to use Haxe because it is lightweight, and can be exported into other languages (useful for running the same game on different platforms). The game engine I went with was one called HaxeFlixel, mainly because it had good documentation and people had made multi-platform games with it before. 
It has been over a month of working on this game now I’m still very much enjoying the process. It’s what I think about doing most when I’m at work or commuting. I enjoy coming up with ideas and bouncing them off Hannah, hearing some of her ideas and seeing new artwork she produces. We’ve both watched a lot of indie game documentaries to inspire us and give us tips on how to fine-tune our workflow. Our favourites have been the Hades series from NoClip and Building the Bastion.

Trello and Slack have been our main project management tool for communication and sharing assets.​​​​​​​
And we’re currently testing the game in a web browser, but we plan to have the finished game running as a native application on PC, Mac, and Linux. No mobile platforms at the moment.
We’re aiming to keep the game short, no longer than an hour, it’s kind of a test bed for us to see how difficult it is to make a game. It’s been good to go back and watch old videos, to see how much we’ve learned, and what we can do to improve the game.​​​​​​​
I’m super thankful to Hannah for creating all the design assets so far, there’s no way I could make the game look as good as it is without her. Gaming creation was _my_ interest and now it’s become our interest. I’m glad she’s taken it on board as her own and has as much passion and enthusiasm as I do when it comes to game creation. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Most developers say the first game you make won’t be good, but even if this game won’t be good, I certainly will have a lot of fun playing it and watching others play it as well.
Oliver

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