I never really talked about Spring Of Life properly, so here we go.
When the option theme for #1GAM April came up, someone mentioned making an unabashed Harvest Moon clone. I liked this idea but cutting it back to it’s basics: managing crops. I then designed something but it was super bland, there was very little point to it. I realised that you can view Harvest Moon as a farming simulator or a farmer simulator. I liked the idea of the farmer simulator, but a farmer whose farm existed a long way from any town. Also if you are simulating a farmer, they must have some form of life-force.
Blah blah blah. I used about 10 pages designing something that might resemble a farming simulator where you have to manage both the farm and the farmer.
After I finally had something down that I liked, I then decided to pick what language to make it in. This was both a smart and stupid idea since I made some design decisions that did not work nicely with my chosen language.
Which was ActionScript.
I’ve been looking at AS3 for a little while now mainly because it seems like a way to go from an idea to a working prototype extremely quickly. It is.
The other big decision I made was to use a 3rd party library. Everything I have made has been built from as low as possible. I thought it might be time to stop being so unbelievably stubborn and just use a library. So I did and what a wonder that was. I chose to use Flixel and the Flixel Power Tools. Made life much, much easier.
Especially as I had never coded a line of ActionScript before…
Yep, I made a game with a language I had never used (or really looked at.) Stupid but ActionScript is a super easy language especially coming from the land of Java with little bits of C#. Considering the amount of time it took between starting the game and releasing it was a bit absurd.
The first line of code committed for Spring Of Life was at 16/04/2013. This was after I had spent a day learning ActionScript and Flixel. The tag v1.0 was on the 27/4/2013. 11 days. That’s rather quick. Although v1.0 was missing some crucial things, it could be played without too many problems. The latest tag is v1.011 which includes some of these missing features, but not all.
The biggest challenge of all this was the dropbox system. In my original design I had three inventories: the farmers “bag”, the farm stock and the dropbox contents. I coded this up only to get heavily confused (even when I simulated stuff of paper.) I cut it down and went for a single inventory. This still has some issues because the single inventory contains special items that are made up of items from a “nursery” and amounts. (A traditional inventory would contain items and their amounts directly.) This was because of an earlier issue I ran into when I realised that most things in ActionScript are passed by reference.
I spent a solid 5-6 hours working on the dropbox system alone.
The economy seemed like a horrendous task at first but after 20 minutes I managed to code something that resembles a produce economy. Unfortunately, you can have negative money. I will fix that soon!
This project not only marked the first time using a 3rd party library, but also the first time I used art that wasn’t made by me. SHOCKING! The only things actually made by me in Spring Of Life are the farmer, the house, the dropbox and the action icons. Everything else are modified versions of stuff from opengameart.org.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t added any sound or music to it, but hopefully this weekend I get around to it.
The next feature I’ll be adding is the ability to save your progress (GASP!) A somewhat useful feature. I will hopefully get around to adding more content, that’ll make the game much more enjoyable! I have version notes on the Spring Of Life page which will contain stuff about updates (obviously.) I have to rejigger the page it’s on a little bit, I’ll get to that a bit later.
Welp, it’s May now so a new #1GAM has begun. The optional theme is “grow” which is hilarious considering I just made a farming simulator. I have an idea brewing, I wrote some design notes yesterday but this now heavily depends on the language I use. Hint: It’s very esoteric and will be multiplayer!