Punks, Jams and Ira Glass

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January 17th, 2013 9:35 am

Last time I entered LD #25 giving MOAI a spin and being generally out of practice with game development. I was not able to complete my (surprisingly complicated) game idea in the time provided. I chose MOAI because I’d been exploring different game platforms and that was my first stop. Since then I’ve been looking at Haxe + NME + HaxePunk. For those who wonder:

Haxe is a programming language based on Actionscript. The compiler is multiplatform and can target C++, SWF, Neko VM, PHP, Javascript and to some extent C# and Java. This means you can use the same source code to compile multiple targets and produce native (read: fast) executables. NME simplifies this build process a good deal and adds project files, asset management, and a graphical API among other things. HaxePunk is a port of FlashPunk to work with NME. It’s a game library, providing a particle emitter, sprite maps, entity management, collision detection, and animation. An alternative to HaxePunk is Flixel, or you could roll your own game library on top of Haxe/NME.

One thing I like over MOAI is the greater variety of targets. I can compile and run my game in the Neko VM using nme test myproject.nmml neko, which builds pretty fast and launches the game. Then change neko to flash to build a SWF instead. Then change it mac or windows and it begins churning out C++ and creating a native build. Or change it to ios, android, html5, linux, etc. That’s pretty nice. Caveats include you can’t build some targets from some platforms (notably IOS from Windows), and there are some gotchas where some behaviors are slightly different between platforms, but overall I’m pleased with this set up.

Although I’m late to the party I thought I’d commit to producing a game for MiniLD 39, and use it for One Game a Month. I figure I come up with a game design that I think should be completable in 2 days … then with some luck I have a chance at just finishing it in 8 days.

Editor: Sublime Text 2
Language: Haxe/NME
Framework: HaxePunk, HaxePunk-AI
Visuals: Photoshop, FilterForge
Audio: Audacity, VLC, Bfxr, Autotracker-py
Version Control: Copy and paste

By the way if you missed the keynote video by McFunkypants at One Game a Month, he ends it with this great quote from Ira Glass:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All
of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But
there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not
that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your
taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your
taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this
phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went
through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing
that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just
starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and
the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a
deadline so that every week you will finish one [thing]. It is only by going
through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will
be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do
this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take
awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

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