The Development Hell of "PixelTwips", Pre-Postmortem

Hello eveyone, lunzyde here!

Welcome to the first devlog of "PixelTwips", I'll be discussing the history behind the development process of the game. In the future, I'll make more devlogs continuing the development of this game, for example; A devlog about the troubles I encountered while designing different user interfaces (this was a small section on a presentation I gave at a small workshop about user interfaces in video games). 

Without further ado... Enjoy the read!

Development Hell

Oh boy... It's the year 2014, the year where I graduated from high school, the next step was college, I always wanted to study computer science (mostly focused on the video game aspect). Back in my teenage days, I already had some experience with game development (including making music and art), but I would always make mediocre stuff. You would see me attempting to create games in RPG Maker, and even Microsoft's PowerPoint (...yeah), I would always fail or never finish a project, and I would tend to throwaway whatever I worked with. This bad tendency is still relevant to this day, but for this game that changed.

We start in July 2014, that's when the development process of this game began, the goal was to create a rhythm game (the likes of "The Impossible Game"). Programming was new to me, I was having a hard time trying to create something in C++. I was Introduced to Construct 2, and this is where it all started. I was quick to learn how to use the engine and decided to start working on this rhythm game I wanted to make. To my surprise, I failed once again, but I decided to do a different approach with what I knew. In just two days, I made the base of the game. This prototype had simple things like game modes and such. I felt like I finished it, and I wanted to work on something else. 

There was a game development showcase, in which you would present your game to instructors and a professor alike and they would give you input on your game, I decided to bring the prototype because it was the only game I had. The day comes up, I describe what I want to do with the game, make a casual game that is enjoyable and repetitive (which was a trend back then), with different game modes and customization's, blah blah blah blah. After finishing talking, I see the professor stand up and start clapping, he liked my game and that motivated me to continue developing this game, he has helped me showcase the game throughout different events in my early days as a college student.

Speaking about college, this is where the origin of the development hell started. Back in that summer of '14, I would work quick and easily with the game, but college change that. I was pumped about my game, so much that my ego was growing. I entered a contest on the campus just for the sake of it, and somehow, I managed to get 1st place with my game, I was the only first year student in that contest (still baffles me to this day). Then at my first proper showcase, I was invited to a panel to speak about different topics, and I made a fool of myself (I cringe about it when someone brings it up). Due to that ego, I also failed the same course two times within that first year, and this is where I started to realize that I should focus on my studies.

Since then, even if I changed my mentality, I would still be developing the game further ahead, but I was slowing down, I couldn't keep up to expectations. At a certain point, the game was at a good state that it could have been released; However, I was always worried about fixing backend issues for new content and more. Many couldn't stop playing the game, to the point that I would always introduce or add something new to the game in every showcase, and even the same people would come back for more. Once the local hype burned out, so did the development. This was the point which I couldn't go back, the changes I kept making reverted the state of the game permanently. To this day, there is quite a lot of things to work on, but the damage was already done, and the development process got slower and slower. Not even the biggest moments I've ever had -with or without the game- would ignite the spark once again...

Fast forward to December 2017, the development just stopped... Things got so bad, the game wasn't being developed for nearly a year. Since then; Every showcase I participated, the build of the game was the same. I was focusing on other things and even got a job, but I started feeling like I wasn't being productive, and my overall performance -on just about anything I would do- started deteriorating. The development hell took a toll on me (and to this day it remains) ... Many months later, I got a rush of motivation, but I couldn't do anything about it, truth is nowadays I don't have enough time to dedicate myself to further continue development on the game. I was losing hope and started thinking about canceling the development, eventually a good friend gave me some advice's on how to deal with this situation, and this is where I started thinking about publishing future builds online.

October 2018 arrives, I started working on my first build of the year (specifically for this site), and started running into backend problems when exporting and testing the game online, I would have to do heavy changes to the game for things to work. I didn't have much time to work with, thus I almost gave up again... But in the next month, I was able to find some time to work with the game, and in two days I was able to finish the build of the game ~optimized for web too. The backend issues are fixed, and even major reworks are implemented into the game. Finally, the game goes public on! Hooray! I'm glad that the game is now playable online, anyone can play it with their computers and mobile devices. But unfortunately, the game is still in development hell... 

To be continued??? (When the game is finally complete, I'll consider doing a Part 2).

Special Thanks To:

  • José M. De Abóngüez
  • Jessica M. Vázquez Rodríguez
  • Maria M. Berrios Rolon
  • José A. Rodríguez Ortega

Without them, "PixelTwips" would have never seen the light of day...

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