January is in the rear view mirror and I’m happy to say I completed a game. Sure there’s no art. And it’s short. But it plays as I had hoped when I put the design to paper a few weeks ago. There’s still plenty of room for improvement and refinement. But let’s leave that for another post.

2016-02-01 - Game Night

First off, I’m surprised I finished. Sure it’s not polished but the main game mechanic is present which is more than I can say for anything other solo projects. When my programmer friends were committing to doing #1GAM, I told them I’d try it but focus on the game design rather than putting together a prototype or a finished product. With a wedding in the works, a fiancĂ©e to support and an RPG campaign to run, I just didn’t see a lot of time left over for #1GAM.

It took a few weeks for the idea to come to me. But it took almost as long to actually get to work on a prototype. I’m a perfectionist and so when I picked up a book, Game Programming Patterns. I ended up devoting time to reading that and then forcing myself to try to apply the lessons I learned. This led to a bunch of wheel spinning over the past two weeks until I just tossed it all out and committed to making a prototype work.

While I tried to toss all the lessons aside, I ended up rewriting the entire codebase Friday night and Saturday on the last weekend of January. My code still isn’t perfect but it’s a lot cleaner than it was before the rewrite. Also, it’s setup better for improvement and maintainability in the future. By Sunday afternoon, I had everything back in place and to a minimum playable prototype.

So what does the future hold for my January #1GAM? Likely some further refinements and additions. Even with the calendar turning, I expect I won’t have a genius idea strike me for February’s #1GAM until a week or so. I need to expand the available games and guests. I’d like to add some difficulty and settings sliders. Oh, and art. Maybe one day.

I decided to participate in 1GAM as part of my resolutions for 2016. The theme for January is hobby. The first few weeks of January have been taxing and I haven’t found time to do much work. But I did manage to come up with a basic concept. A puzzle game themed around game nights.

Towards the end of my tenure in Gainesville, board game nights became the premiere social event for my friends and me. Anywhere from three to twenty people would arrive at my humble abode and we’d play games late into the night. As my board game collection grew, decision paralysis often took hold. It’s difficult to find a game that everyone wants to play and everyone can play.

2016-01-20 - Game Night

And that’s the theme for my January 1GAM. Your friends have arrived for a game night and it’s your job as host to maximize their fun. You arrange the games and the players to solve the puzzle. There are a handful of traits that represent compatibility between players and games. The more a player’s traits match the game’s, the more fun they have playing that game. Games also have a range of allowed players.

I like the theme and basic design. I’ve had a little bit of time to implement it but nothing to show just yet. I’m hoping to have a no-art playable demo by the end of the month.