the art, design, and assorted garbage of

JASON LEE ELLIOTT

GameMaker Tutorials: Pausing the Game

 
One of the features I see many people struggle with when creating their games is the ability to pause the game. Part of the reason for this is that it is usually something they try to tack on late in development, which usually means adding a lot of conditional code to most scripts. This becomes very tedious and ends up adding in a bunch of bugs. In this tutorial, we will create a simple system that can help make pausing the game much easier.

(more…)

How to write a one pager

One of the biggest issues I see everyday with aspiring game designers is they often haven’t thought through what their game actually is. Sure, they have a general idea of what mechanics are in the game and a theme, but that’s about as deep as it goes. The first question I ask is if they have written a one pager. The answer is almost always “No”. The reason I am often given for not doing this is that they felt they didn’t have time waste writing a document when they could be building the game itself.

It doesn’t help that there are a lot of developers out there who have been quite vocal in the “uselessness” of documentation. I will agree that building a 300 page game design document before building ANYTHING is probably not the best use of a designers time, but to forego all documentation is foolish. Design by definition is a “plan”, which means documenting what is to be created. To me, the one pager is the most useful document there is as it forces the designer to clearly breakdown what it is they are trying to attempt. If you can’t explain what you want to do in a single page of writing, how are you ever going to build it?

After becoming frustrated with having to explain how to write an effective one page document for the millionth time, I decided I needed to provide an example. With that in mind, I wrote a one pager on writing one pagers which I am sharing with the world now. Oh, and for people who have seen this in the past, I have just updated it to make it even better. Enjoy! (more…)

2013: Year in Review

I can’t believe another year has already passed. This post is going to be fairly short as there isn’t a lot to talk about. The vast majority of this year was filled with generic parenting stuff, which can all be summarized with: Woke up, fed Pixel, take to daycare, go to work, come home and feed Pixel, play for hours, then sleep. Obviously there was more variety on the weekends, but the essence is the same. Outside of that, there were a few highlights.

In April my book, HTML5 Game Development with GameMaker, was published. This was super exciting for me as I had spent the majority of the previous eight months staying up late every night writing it. It was incredibly exhausting, but I learned an amazing amount building games, using GameMaker, and how to write effectively. On the negative side of things, I learned that even with several technical editors that basic errors will end up in the book (thank glob for errata), and how fast a book will become out of date. Seriously, GameMaker has made a lot of improvements this year, but it has messed up a lot of the content I wrote. Who knows, maybe it will sell enough to get a second edition.

As for working on games, this year was a good year in the sense that I have finally started building the games I want to be creating, but nothing is anywhere near finished. I only really started working on the games at the end of the summer as it took quite awhile to recover from writing the book and to settle on a concept. I am now in the process of getting back into art as that is what is holding me back the most from being able to get anything done. I have built the majority of the tough tech for more than one game, but it is all using crap temp art. Before I can talk about any of these games I need to make it at least somewhat presentable. Look for some of that early in 2014.

Well, that is about it. I’m busy clearing off my plate for this year and preparing for a much better year in 2014. This coming year’s goal is “finish stuff” as I really need to get some games done. I also have a buttload of half built GameMaker tutorials which I will complete and publish soon.

Happy New Year!