Friday, December 17, 2010

History of Untitled Block Puzzle Game

So my first real project in XNA is this block puzzle thing. I'm actually finishing up the first release of it now (think Planet Puzzle League/Tetris Attack and you won't be too far off).

Everything related to development history of it, I posted on my Facebook wall, which isn't available to just anyone, so here are some relevant updates:

November 9, 2010: 4:17 pm (all times EST) -  "You guys like video games? Of course you do

I figure it's time I put those years of schooling to some use, so I'm making a little puzzle game. If you've played Tetris Attack or Planet Puzzle League it'll basically be the same thing unless I can come up with a twist to it 

It's more of a programming exercise really, but here's hoping I'm motivated enough to actually do it"

 Nov. 10, 11:47 pm - playfield array up and running, gravity procedure working.

Nov. 11, 1:30 pm - I remember that recursive functions are a thing. Block clearing when 3 adjacent blocks of the same color exist now works.

Nov. 12, 4:18 am - inspired by an inability to sleep, a cursor exists, and swapping block positions now works.

11:20 pm - added particle effects for clearing blocks.

Nov. 19, 12:06 am - after struggling with the problem for a while, due to what is no doubt a miracle, the game now recognizes combos. I haven't touched that part of the code since, because if I broke it, I'd never get it running again.

Nov. 21, 12:57 am - the game can now insert new rows, instead of just using the placeholder values I initially populated the playfield array with.

Nov. 23, 12:17 am - in a flash of brilliance, my gameplay hook just comes to me. An hour later, after furious coding, I realize it sounded more fun on paper than it actually was. But this was okay, because over time I refined it, and this eventually became Split mode. At one point, Split mode was to be the focus of the game, but then I realized that options are always good, so both Normal and Split modes are in now.

Nov. 28, 1:51 am - I realize that maybe people might not want to look at the same blocks all the time. I set up block skins, which would pave the way for how I coded alternate backgrounds and what BGM to play.

6:55 pm - the earliest playable state of the game is achieved; I proudly show off my work to Facebook. Twenty minutes later, I have a nervous breakdown when I realize nobody cares about my wholesale ripoff of Tetris Attack. Friends reassure me that my posts are actually not boring them to tears. Bolstered by my newfound confidence, I fail to write even one line of code in the next five days.

December 3, 4:39 am - after playing N64 games for almost a week for reasons I no longer remember, I take another look at my code, only to realize it is sloppy as all hell. The Grand Restructuring begins. Over the next two days, code would be rearranged, rewritten, and streamlined.

Dec. 5, 11:53 pm - Grand Restructuring complete. Backgrounds implemented. Sidebar now shows incoming blocks. Most importantly, the playfield was shrunk from 10x8 to 8x8, making the game a little harder.

Dec. 10, 12:31 pm - First gameplay footage shown. Check it out here.

Dec. 11, 11:41 pm - royalty-free music and sound effects discovered. Barebones title screen and options menu implemented.

Dec. 15, 11:29 pm - high score tables implemented.

TOMORROW - first early release, if all goes well!

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