Adventures in a foreign land

Adventures in a foreign land.

Well, as I said in the previous progress update post, My Girlfriend and I were off to Majorca to go sailing on my friend’s yacht for a few days, before heading inland to a Hotel where My friend’s wedding was going to take place.

We landed Monday afternoon after a short and enjoyable plane ride, and were picked up from the airport by my friend who then drove us straight to the harbour where his boat was moored. The plan was to sail to a nearby bay and enjoy a few beers, a swim and a barbecue.

Unfortunately we’d barely managed to light the barbie before my girlfriend started to feel unwell. Initially we just put this down to a touch of sea sickness, but as it carried on into our second day there we were starting to get a little worried.

As she was feeling no better on the Wednesday we decided to take her to a nearby hospital, where they moved her to the ICU.

She was diagnosed with Diabetic ketoacidosis, and had to stay in the intensive care for five days, Missing both the wedding, and our planned return flight.

Despite the language difficulties (Neither of us actually speak any Spanish other than Hello, and Thank you) the staff at the hospital were excellent; and after her stint in the ICU and a couple of days in a normal ward she was discharged.

In the mean time, while my girlfriend was laying in hospital all hooked up to monitors and IV drips etc. I was still trying to make the most of our trip.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent on the boat. We sailed from the marina to the harbour where we had originally embarked. We had a few drinks and some of the other soon to be wedding guests came aboard. I even went for a swim in the sea!

On Friday we all went to the Finca Son Miranda Hotel, and got settled in. I cannot state how beautiful the hotel was. All the rooms were fresh and modern, but still maintained a traditional Mediterranean feel. It’s set in some gorgeous country side, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees with some great views of the nearby mountains.

The wedding itself was amazing, and everyone had a great time. It was lovely to meet the Bride’s family for the first time, and see my buddy’s family as well. (We’ve not seen anyone really the last year or so due to the Covid 19 pandemic.)

The ceremony itself took place in the afternoon among some olive trees in the hotel grounds. And was followed by a night of dancing, great food and awesome music πŸ™‚

Sunday was a lot more laid back, lol. I spent most of the day in the shade at the bar by the pool. By this point, I’d already realised we wouldn’t be making our flight home so I arranged to share a hotel room with some of my buddy’s family until they flew home Wednesday.

The new hotel was close to the beach, and only a short walk away from Magaluf. I ended up sharing a room with my buddy’s brother, and brother in law, both of whom I already knew.

Aside from going out to eat and my daily hospital trips to visit my girlfriend we spent most of the time relaxing on the balcony, admiring the view and chatting the evening away.

On Wednesday I booked myself another hotel, and had barely got moved in and showered before my girlfriend called to tell me she had been discharged from the hospital and was ready to be picked up! I cannot explain how happy I was to hear this and I immediately rushed off to get a taxi.

That evening we had a takeaway on the balcony, and then went for a couple of drinks at JJs Sports Lounge (My favourite bar in the whole of Majorca) before having a quiet movie in bed courtesy of Netflix.

On the Thursday we were mostly rushing around trying to get tests done, and completing passenger locator forms, but we did get chance to have a meal and a few drinks with the newly weds

Then, almost as suddenly as it started, it was Friday and time to fly back home.

I’m sitting in the garden safe at home now as I write this, and I’m happy to say my girlfriend is now feeling completely better.

Our time in Majorca was certainly an adventure, with soaring highs and soul destroying lows. I’m glad we went though, and I’m looking forward to going again at some point in the future.

And there we go πŸ™‚. This is the reason why this weeks update was a little thin on the ground! Lol!

Where we stand..

What a year it’s been!

When I was originally planning Dev with Dave, which feels like an eternity ago now, I had intended to spend many hours each week sitting in various cafes and the like round town writing Flappy-vaders and drinking tea πŸ™‚

Little did I know that a global pandemic was round the corner and that the world would shut down for what has felt like forever. Hopefully though, come July the 19th all the remaining restrictions will be lifted and I will once again be able to go out and sit in a cafe and drink tea while I code.

The plan

As you know, I originally planned to cover “The four P’s”, those being Planning, Programing, Promotion and Publication, as well as developing Flappy-vaders alongside it.

Planning went off to a good start, as did Programming, but the game has taken a little longer to develop than I originally thought and I’m unable to do too much more on Promotion or Publication without the game having caught up.

I’m sorry the blog has been a little quiet lately. I should probably be able to come up with a few promotion blog post ideas, but I’m going to make a few videos and/or blog posts to help fill the blog a little. Things like showing how I used some of the software involved in the creation of Flappy-vaders. For example, Pixel art using Paint.net, Creating a sound effect using Audible, maybe even How to create a game trailer using OBS and HitFilm Express.

The game

So, although the game is really taking shape now, and I am really pleased with how it looks and feels, I still have quite a lot to do before it’s ready for the first beta tests.

I need to create systems to handle Adverts, Currency purchasing (using In App Purchase), Daily bonuses and missions, and the music. Not to mention media for the music, and some other game assets. And I need to work on some level design as well to expand upon the seven single “zones” the game has currently.

Then comes balancing, making sure it’s not to easy or hard to play the game, to earn coins, to unlock powerups, and that the power ups aren’t too weak or too powerful, etc. This stage is so important as it can mean the difference between a brilliant game and an average one.

Once the all the games systems are in place (even if not all of them are fully fleshed out, like trophies), the levels are more varied, and the first round of inhouse balancing has been done, then I will be starting a beta test for Flappy-vaders.

If you want to be involved in the beta testing and be one of the first people to actually play the game, the feel free to drop me a message on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. πŸ™‚

The experience

I can honestly say this has been an emotional roller-coaster, from the highs of seeing how well the visuals work, or that the game is actually fun to play; to the lows of running into deadlines without having the work finished, and issues in the code which kept we at the keyboard till gone midnight some days.

I’m also hugely surprised at how much time and effort is involved in doing the behind the scenes stuff for Dev with Dave, things like writing blog posts, creating and editing videos, social media etc.

I have immensely enjoyed creating Flappy-vaders with you watching along, and I really hope you are enjoying it to!

What’s next

As I said above, I’ll carry on creating the remaining systems, expanding on the existing level design, and balancing the game a little. before releasing a build on Android to those on the Beta Test Team πŸ™‚

Blog wise, expect a few more posts on promotion, but also keep an eye out for the “How I made” posts as well.

Also, for anyone who wants to drink tea (or coffee) out of their very own Dev with Dave mug, watch this space! πŸ˜€

Six months in

Six months in

It’s been six months since Dev with Dave launched. I really can’t believe how quickly the time has passed!

This landmark does feel like the ideal time to just recap on the project, and to go over some of the highs and lows.

What we’ve learned so far

During the first few months, the main focus was on planning, writing your own Game Design Document, a few example GDDs from games, an introduction to Trello, and access to the Flappy-vaders trello board so you can see for yourselves how it works.

After planning, came programming. Now I deliberately didn’t want to go to deeply into coding on the blog, so instead it was mostly theory based stuff which would be applicable to any language you’re using.

Flappy-vaders

Flappy-vaders has come on a long way in the last six months. From developing the basic systems with place holder art, to adding some of the visual effects, and adding powerups and upgrades. It’s starting to look like a halfway finished game, although there is still a way to go yet.

The bad bits

Now when I originally planned Dev with Dave, one of the things I was hoping to do was to spend time in various coffee shops and cafes (and McDonalds.. πŸ™„) but unfortunately the global pandemic happened and for large chunks of this year we have been in lockdown and all these places have been closed.

Because I am only working on Dev with Dave in my free time, I have struggled occasionally to keep up. This has shown in delays to the weekly progress update videos, and quiet periods on the social media. I’ve also found keeping the Trello board up to date to be tricky at times.

The good bits

I really enjoyed reading through the old game GDDs in the planning stage, and I have to say that Flappy-vaders has reached the stage where testing something quickly can turn into playing the game for 20 minutes! lol.

I’ve enjoyed the few times I managed to get out with the tablet and get some of the game written whilst having a nice cup of tea.

What’s coming next

I’ll be wrapping up the Programming theme soon, and moving onto promotion, where I’ll be talking about using social media and paid adverts to promote your game.

I’ll also be finishing off the last of the Flappy-vaders systems required for things like powerups and the store before moving on to level design.

I’m also hoping that the lockdown will end soon, and I’ll be able to go out and not only return to the cafes to write the game, but also get my hair cut! πŸ˜‚

Dave

Nice to get out again

Hello World,

I went to the Top-Deck Inn on Monday this week. It was the first time I’ve been anywhere with the tablet since before the UK went into lockdown back in March (I think anyway, feels like it was forever ago now).

It was really nice to sit and enjoy a reasonably priced cup of tea while I worked on Flappy-vaders.

I also managed to squash a bug relating to the explosion effect, despite only being there for an hour.

What’s coming next..

So, over the next couple of months I’m going to be talking about programming. On top of the rundown of the progress made on the game in the fortnightly updates, I’m going to share some thoughts on things which will help to make you a better developer.

We’ll be starting off later this week with comments, and how important it is to comment your code.

Outro..

And that’s all for now. I’m off to fire up the tablet and write some more Flappy-vaders (While I listen to Ernest Cline’s awesome second novel “Armada”)

Challenges

To make things slightly more challenging and/or interesting, as well as to prove you don’t need a high end PC, a large team or a shed load of cash, I’m going to be creating the entire game solo, using a really low spec PC, and as smaller budget as possible.

Coding at Geek Retreat (Pre-lockdown)

Originally, I was planning to work on this game in coffee shops and cafes around town, but sadly due to the covid19 pandemic the whole country is on lockdown so Instead I’m going to be stuck in my house.

I’ll explain more about the hardware and software I’ll be using in the next post.

Once the game is published, I’ll go over how much I spent on developing this project and any other costs, for those who are interested.

A little bit about me…

A Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128k (My first ever computer)

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is David Hobbs. I’m the owner of Warriors of the Cucumber Software, which is a small independent studio based in Milton Keynes in the UK.

I’ve wanted to write games ever since I was a small child growing up in the era of 8 bit home computers like the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. I didn’t even have a computer when I started to learn to code, just a book from the library, a pen and some paper.

I had my first games published in 1991, for the Commodore Amiga. These were written in AMOS, a variant on BASIC written by Francois Lionet. (If anyone is interested, Francois is currently developing a spiritual successor to AMOS, called AOZ Studio, see >here< for more information)

MK:GameDev Meetup

My biggest success to date came when I published Best Night Light on Android. It had a slow start but now, five years later, has reached almost half a million downloads!

I am a fairly active member (when time allows, lol) in a few Facebook Indie Dev groups, and on various forums and discords. I’m also involved in local game dev events such as the MK:GameDev Meetup, a friendly gathering of both professionals, amateurs and beginners talking about all aspects of game dev over a few drinks.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know, then feel free to drop me an email or a message on social media and ask πŸ™‚

Welcome to Dev with Dave

Hello World!

Hello World, and Welcome to Dev with Dave!

If you are an aspiring indie developer, then stick around as over the next few months, I will be planning, programming, publishing, and promoting a game before your very eyes! I’ll explain each step of the way in depth with blogs, videos and posts on social media.

I’ll also talk about the frustrations of the project, and the high points. And I’ll occasionally throw in cute pictures of my cats just to lighten the mood πŸ™‚

Dave and Sirius enjoying the sunshine

Starting with designing and planning the game, I’ll talk about (amongst other things) the importance of having a plan to follow as well as showing you what I consider to be a good plan.

Programming the game is next, but as I have said previously, this won’t be a coding tutorial. I’ll discuss the theory behind the various aspects of the game, and show progress on the game with blog updates and video posts.

Once the game is finished, it’ll be time for publishing and promotion. I will be setting up the store page and uploading the game (Including a brief rundown on ASO, translations etc.). Setting up and starting an ad campaign with Google Ads, and talking about social media marketing and other things you can do to bring your game to the attention of those who want to play it!

So please, come along for the ride and we’ll take a journey into the world of indie game development.

Don’t forget to follow Dev with Dave on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with the project.

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