Blog: July 2016

We are into July and in theory, my first game Square Pegs Round Holes will be finished at the end of the month.  Will it be?  I think so, but it might take a little while longer to bug test and get it ready for release.  We’ll see, but I’m still pushing for the end of July.  The game has been fleshed out a lot and the actual game itself is now pretty much complete.  The challenge now is filling in all the peripheral stuff.  I need to write an instruction manual, create the settings and pause menu, generate sound effects and also implement the achievements.  All of these are important parts of a finished game and they need doing properly, but they aren’t the most enjoyable part for me.  I’ve written a to-do-list and it’s about 30 items long!  Just got to chip away! I have put in achievements, the ability to make changes through the settings page and an instruction manual.  The sound is proving to be challenging (music is not a strong point for me – at all!) but I will chip away at it over the next couple of weeks and hopefully it will not be too bad. I don’t know how other programmers get on, but I have noticed that there are certain little things that I do incorrectly on a regular basis and this causes me all sorts of grief whilst I try to work out what I did, only to find that it was something so simple.  Here are a couple of my more embarrassing coding errors (ps. this will not mean a lot to you if you don’t code!): 1. I seem to mix my variables up and not see it even though it is staring me in the face.  On the latest occasion, doing this meant that I was struggling to recall a data structure grid (ds_grid) from an ini file and banging my head against the wall trying to work out why.  It turns out I was using the wrong instance variable and therefore I was trying to read the wrong part of the ds_grid.  Such an idiot sometimes… 2. Even more ridiculous is the error I have made on two occasions now when creating a data structure grid (ds_grid).  Both times it has cost me hours looking for an error in my code, only to find that I simply hadn’t correctly created the ds_grid in the first place.  I blame GameMaker slightly for this, as when you create a ds_grid, you state what the width and height will be. i.e. 3,3 will create a grid that is three columns along and three rows down.  But then when you access the grid the first row/column is 0.  Therefore when accessing row 3 you actually call ‘2’.  I know this, so I don’t know why I still seem to manage to create my grid incorrectly, invariably leaving me a line short as I assume when creating that 3 will equal 4, but it doesn’t.  Ho hum, will try not to do it again! Aside from that I have begun work on my first tutorial videos.  The first couple have been completed.  Learning how to do them has been an interesting experience, particularly developing the ability to talk without waffling on too much.  Playing them back they’re OK I think.  I’ve been surprised at how long it takes to explain each point to someone who might have no idea what they are looking at.  I know I was there once but it was a long time ago now, so trying to remember how alien it all is at the start is a skill in itself.  Nonetheless, the aim will be to do a few more videos before the end of August and then put everything out there at the same time.  The next couple of weeks will be filled with some music making and tutorial recording!
GET IN TOUCH EMAIL:  contact@michael-bateman.com

Blog: July 2016

We are into July and in theory, my first game Square Pegs Round Holes will be finished at the end of the month.  Will it be?  I think so, but it might take a little while longer to bug test and get it ready for release.  We’ll see, but I’m still pushing for the end of July.  The game has been fleshed out a lot and the actual game itself is now pretty much complete.  The challenge now is filling in all the peripheral stuff.  I need to write an instruction manual, create the settings and pause menu, generate sound effects and also implement the achievements.  All of these are important parts of a finished game and they need doing properly, but they aren’t the most enjoyable part for me.  I’ve written a to-do-list and it’s about 30 items long!  Just got to chip away! I have put in achievements, the ability to make changes through the settings page and an instruction manual.  The sound is proving to be challenging (music is not a strong point for me – at all!) but I will chip away at it over the next couple of weeks and hopefully it will not be too bad. I don’t know how other programmers get on, but I have noticed that there are certain little things that I do incorrectly on a regular basis and this causes me all sorts of grief whilst I try to work out what I did, only to find that it was something so simple.  Here are a couple of my more embarrassing coding errors (ps. this will not mean a lot to you if you don’t code!): 1. I seem to mix my variables up and not see it even though it is staring me in the face.  On the latest occasion, doing this meant that I was struggling to recall a data structure grid (ds_grid) from an ini file and banging my head against the wall trying to work out why.  It turns out I was using the wrong instance variable and therefore I was trying to read the wrong part of the ds_grid.  Such an idiot sometimes… 2. Even more ridiculous is the error I have made on two occasions now when creating a data structure grid (ds_grid).  Both times it has cost me hours looking for an error in my code, only to find that I simply hadn’t correctly created the ds_grid in the first place.  I blame GameMaker slightly for this, as when you create a ds_grid, you state what the width and height will be. i.e. 3,3 will create a grid that is three columns along and three rows down.  But then when you access the grid the first row/column is 0.  Therefore when accessing row 3 you actually call ‘2’.  I know this, so I don’t know why I still seem to manage to create my grid incorrectly, invariably leaving me a line short as I assume when creating that 3 will equal 4, but it doesn’t.  Ho hum, will try not to do it again! Aside from that I have begun work on my first tutorial videos.  The first couple have been completed.  Learning how to do them has been an interesting experience, particularly developing the ability to talk without waffling on too much.  Playing them back they’re OK I think.  I’ve been surprised at how long it takes to explain each point to someone who might have no idea what they are looking at.  I know I was there once but it was a long time ago now, so trying to remember how alien it all is at the start is a skill in itself.  Nonetheless, the aim will be to do a few more videos before the end of August and then put everything out there at the same time.  The next couple of weeks will be filled with some music making and tutorial recording!
GET IN TOUCH EMAIL:  contact@michael-bateman.com

Blog: July 2016

We are into July and in theory, my first game Square Pegs Round Holes will be finished at the end of the month.  Will it be?  I think so, but it might take a little while longer to bug test and get it ready for release.  We’ll see, but I’m still pushing for the end of July.  The game has been fleshed out a lot and the actual game itself is now pretty much complete.  The challenge now is filling in all the peripheral stuff.  I need to write an instruction manual, create the settings and pause menu, generate sound effects and also implement the achievements.  All of these are important parts of a finished game and they need doing properly, but they aren’t the most enjoyable part for me.  I’ve written a to-do-list and it’s about 30 items long!  Just got to chip away! I have put in achievements, the ability to make changes through the settings page and an instruction manual.  The sound is proving to be challenging (music is not a strong point for me – at all!) but I will chip away at it over the next couple of weeks and hopefully it will not be too bad. I don’t know how other programmers get on, but I have noticed that there are certain little things that I do incorrectly on a regular basis and this causes me all sorts of grief whilst I try to work out what I did, only to find that it was something so simple.  Here are a couple of my more embarrassing coding errors (ps. this will not mean a lot to you if you don’t code!): 1. I seem to mix my variables up and not see it even though it is staring me in the face.  On the latest occasion, doing this meant that I was struggling to recall a data structure grid (ds_grid) from an ini file and banging my head against the wall trying to work out why.  It turns out I was using the wrong instance variable and therefore I was trying to read the wrong part of the ds_grid.  Such an idiot sometimes… 2. Even more ridiculous is the error I have made on two occasions now when creating a data structure grid (ds_grid).  Both times it has cost me hours looking for an error in my code, only to find that I simply hadn’t correctly created the ds_grid in the first place.  I blame GameMaker slightly for this, as when you create a ds_grid, you state what the width and height will be. i.e. 3,3 will create a grid that is three columns along and three rows down.  But then when you access the grid the first row/column is 0.  Therefore when accessing row 3 you actually call ‘2’.  I know this, so I don’t know why I still seem to manage to create my grid incorrectly, invariably leaving me a line short as I assume when creating that 3 will equal 4, but it doesn’t.  Ho hum, will try not to do it again! Aside from that I have begun work on my first tutorial videos.  The first couple have been completed.  Learning how to do them has been an interesting experience, particularly developing the ability to talk without waffling on too much.  Playing them back they’re OK I think.  I’ve been surprised at how long it takes to explain each point to someone who might have no idea what they are looking at.  I know I was there once but it was a long time ago now, so trying to remember how alien it all is at the start is a skill in itself.  Nonetheless, the aim will be to do a few more videos before the end of August and then put everything out there at the same time.  The next couple of weeks will be filled with some music making and tutorial recording!
GET IN TOUCH EMAIL:  contact@michael-bateman.com