Here we go again!

When I originally started to study programming it was with the intention of making games. Unfortunately, the companies that hired were rarely interested in games and I spent most of my professional career on CRM systems, websites and teaching others how to code. By the time I got home, I had no more energy for my own projects.

Until I moved to Japan! Each morning on my way to work I would force my way into a crowded Tokyo train for an hour. Very rarely could I sit. I'd work at a terrible, non-programming, job for 8 hours before doing the same 1 hour, crowded journey back home. For me, those two hours on the train seemed like wasted time; Time that could be spent making games. And so I did. Using only an Acer A100 Android tablet, I began to make my first real game: Switch'N'Shakes.

I had worked on other games before but never finished anything. I always got stuck on the art and animation. But Switch'N'Shakes, a block puzzle game, wasn't too scary an idea. The graphics were all static. There was no need for animation. I could do it!

And I did.

Not alone though. As the project got bigger and bigger I asked a friend for some assistance, and bought a laptop to make the programming easier (Ever tried programming on a tablet? The keyboard takes up half the screen!). Together we finished off our own Android Game Engine. I put together all of the graphics. Finally, we worked out the game logic.

The result was a fairly average (but original) puzzle game that went almost totally unnoticed!

It didn't even run well on the android table I used to write it with! Though ran beautifully on my friends higher-spec tablet.

But that wasn't important. What was important was that we had completed it. It was done. I could finally say that I had released a game!

The best part was that the game helped me get a new job, at a company I very much enjoy working for (which is rare I think). Not making games though...

Now I work mostly with AI, which is far more interesting than making websites.

Now I have more time to work on my own projects and have chosen to do so with Unity rather than make another game engine from scratch. It was fun to do, but once is enough. And this time my goal is not "release a game!", but rather "Make the first game how it was meant to be."

I had so many ideas for Switch'N'Shakes that I just couldn't work into the first game:

  • Different types of obstacles.
  • Juice effects.
  • More game modes.
  • An actual soundtrack. (No really! I wrote two songs for Switch'N'Shakes, but couldn't record them!)

And this time I have something I didn't have before! A magical amulet I purchased from a genuine Monk which I am assured will make it impossible to fail!

Also, money to buy some assets to make it easier. The Jelly effect in the video isn't mine. The effect I made was disappointing, erratic and caused blocks to randomly fly off-screen for no apparent reason. While it was certainly fun to watch, it was not helping me progress. But the asset I purchased has allowed me to concentrate on the game logic rather than the unpredictable physics of Jelly.

Of course, I still need to work out a few details: A wet and messy "pop" when the blocks explode for example. But that seems less important than finishing off the gameplay logic.

But it sounds more fun than finishing off the gameplay logic.

...maybe just a few hours on the "pop" effect...

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