Monday, January 26, 2015

Finishing the Game

Image By: Tim Geers

I've been out of the game development world for about a year. Part of the reason I stopped working on my Android game (code-named PlaneRunner) over a year ago was burnout. It's not easy working a full-time job and staying up til the wee hours working on a side project many nights of the week. We also endured a grueling process selling our home (which took about a year) and moving to a new area, and I think part of me succumbed to the idea that it was time to let my hobby go. Maybe it's not really my passion, or just not worth all the sacrifice.

If only I had realized how close I was to the finish line...

Thankfully, I decided to take a look at that old PlaneRunner project this year. Much to my surprise, it was closer to done than I remembered! I had implemented the ability to save games, the level editor looked beautiful, and when I fired it up on my new Android Kitkat 4.4 phone... it actually worked. So it was time to figure out which features and bugs actually needed to get resolved for me to be happy enough to call it "done". All software developers know a program is never perfect, so it's just about getting it to work the best you can. If you waited until it was perfect, it would NEVER get released.

So the exciting news is that I'm now in the final stages of development. I'm not putting in any new features or bug fixes (unless I find something extremely annoying). This week I'm focusing on performance tuning, doing whatever I can to reduce memory allocation and garbage collection so the game runs smoothly. And this time I'm going to get it out there on Google Play so everyone can play it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Picking It Up Again

I used to wonder what happened to game developer blogs. I'd follow someone who updated frequently and then, as if out of nowhere, they'd disappear. Being a little older (and hopefully wiser too), I think I now understand.

For some, a game project consumes so much time that blogging takes a back seat. For others, life just gets in the way. Having kids, moving to a new location, new job, or other life changes just take precedence.  I've had quite a few changes myself, hence a year of no updates, neither on my Android game nor on this blog.

But I am excited to share that I've picked up where I left off with the game and was pleasantly surprised to see I'm not far from completion. In fact, I've resolved most bugs, created both a Lite (free) and Deluxe (paid) version, and am working through the process to get my game on the Google Play market. These are exciting days!