Night Talk tagged posts

Coding Lola

Some time ago, after I poked around in GameMaker Studio 2, I realized that I have to be at least an average coder for this thing to make something that surpasses a work of kindergartner. I sucked at coding. Till then I preferred hiring help, if I came across something difficult. But in case with GMS2 it wasn’t an option, unless I hire help to code the entire game.

But I didn’t give a fuck, I still went for it. You suck at something – learn. And I needed to keep my head busy back then. So I went through various Youtube tutorials, aiming on how to make a platformer with mouse aiming.

I ended up having a base for exactly that, with simple sprites processing that I could adapt for something like this:

Which wasn’t good enough for me. I got a taste of side scrolling shooters, with more complex sprites management; with more expressive running/jumping, with hands that holds weapons more realistically, so I wasn’t settled for less. Either that, or why even do this, if I can do better?

After breaking the theoretical game into elements, I started to think which element is going to be the hardest to do? Since it was my fist game with a lot of the upcoming coding I have to do by myself, I thought that if I’ll handle the hardest shit right from the start, – to be confident that I can handle everything else in the project. Maybe it’s not the best approach, I don’t know, but it seemed reasonable.

After I gave a though to the elements, it was clear that the hardest part will be coding Lola to process her sprites that will display her movememt in the way I want. I desided, that I’ll take 3-5 days to code her, which seemed like a realistic time for a diletant coder like me. if I do not manage in this period, then, probably, I should stop.

I ended up fucking around with her for 2.5 weeks) I spend more time learning how to code, than doing actual coding. I searched so much, Google started to ask me if I’m a bot or something.

The whole thing was tricky. I had to invent ways to “noob” through it, going through dense forest of unfriendly coding environment, that doesn’t like diletants at all! GMS2 gave me so much errors, I thought I’ll break the engine somehow. But then, step by step, this thing started to be more obidient, I began to see clearly where I was wrong at the beggining and how to improve my shit-code now. Then, after a second week I felt like I own this thing. I knew perfectly what’s what in this baby, instead of looking at bunch of variables, thinking how not break something.

All in all it was difficult, but I loved doing the whole thing. Anyway, after places where I worked, it’s a dream job, no matter how hard it gets. So I kept pushing. And after I finished, it was so fucking rewarding! My coding skills upgraded noticeably and GameMaker Studio being very compliant now. Looking at Lola moving just like I wanted, made me feel like a genius) Now her movements adds to the game’s drive, making it more pleasing to the eye.

To be honest, I’ve always seen Lola as a harmless dicks-obsessed cutie, I never imagined her as fighting type of a character, before I start working on my stuff. But, I can’t help it) I like to make games with some action in it, with all that it implies.

I still have a lot of coding to do for this game, I’m sure I have to overcome a lot of head-scrachers for games to come, learning in proccess. And, hopefully, I’ll find this post in future and say: “Oh, yeah, I remember how I shit-code this thing for 2 fucking weeks straight, when I can do it for a day or two right now”. But for now, I feel great, for being stubborn enough to go to beat something huge and unfamiliar, and succeeded)

I won’t recommend this approach though. Starting from smaller things will give you more enjoyment from development, I’m sure. If you give fucks about constant errors more than I do (two weeks, kids!), then frustration will, probably, made you quit. But, nevertheless, you never know what you can do till you try.