I'm sorry “The Antimatter Bazaar”, really... It's not you, it's me. We've just grown apart... Actually, forget it, it is you, you're just a really terrible name. You didn't mean anything to me, you were difficult to pronounce, and I just really didn't know what to do with you. It's over.
Good, now that I've got that out the of the way. I can introduce my new test game. I wanted something easy to say, very easy to remember, and easy to search. Additionally, I wanted to be able to use my name as a guiding star. I wound up settling on “Blasty Base”. If at any point in production, I'm working on features that don't improve a players ability to blow up the enemy base, then I'm drifting off course. In addition, the name implies a simple game, which has gotten me into the right frame of mind for producing an after hours short project. If I start thinking about features like “deep player progression systems” then I know I've completely derailed myself!
With this new found focus, I immediately stripped all my assets of textures, and replaced everything with a default shader. I'm fairly sure that I'll be able to make this game pretty, that's well within my problem scope at work. What I'm not confident about, is making it fun. I found that by ditching all the art temptations, and deliberately blocking in place holder assets, I was able to able to get more traction on implementing the abundance of missing features my engine has.
There was still one outstanding issue. I was spending a good deal of time trying to get my systems built “correctly”, instead of trying to get something fun. A friend of mine interrupted me while I was trying to explain one of my coding dilemmas. He said “Don't worry. You're making a prototype. Code fearlessly.” The penny dropped. I already have a pretty decent base, now it's time to get something tangible happening. Over the next couple of weeks I pushed out my first game play prototype. It's not much, but you know what, I actually had a bit of fun playing it. In my opinion, that's a fairly decent start.
On that note, enjoy this quick video of me sucking at my own game :)