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Gravity Ace 🚀 Early Access - Issue #2

Gravity Ace 🚀 Early Access
Gravity Ace 🚀 Early Access
A fireside chat with your friendly neighborhood Gravity Ace developer with a brief glimpse into my chaotic creative process

We've had 2 big releases!
Full change notes on Steam and itch.io
Full change notes on Steam and itch.io
v42-EA was a huge release – so big that Discord actually wouldn’t let me post the changelog. That’s my fault. I wasn’t releasing often enough, obviously. v42 was released on October 31 (Happy Halloween!) and contained updates going back to April 25.
v43-EA was released November 13 and was mostly bug fixes but also shipped some (hidden and in progress) code for a new boss enemy that will appear at the end of Campaign 1.
You can check out itch.io and Steam for the changelogs.
I don’t have a regular schedule for releases but you can expect new releases to come out every few weeks from now until the game is finished.
Speaking of bosses...
I’m building a boss. This guy is going to be huge and scary and shoot many bullets and it’s going to be hard to kill and have several different phases and you won’t have much fuel to do it with and it’s going to be awesome.
There will be spoilers here but right now there’s not much to show. It moves, it has some basic behaviors, it shoots. It’s pretty ugly right now.
Needs an art pass to bring it to life. Speaking of which...
Needs an art pass to bring it to life. Speaking of which...
I am chaos, an aside about creativity
Creating a game is a creative process. There are many adjectives used to describe “creativity” but efficient usually isn’t one of them. Art, music, and coding are all creative and require creativity. You can put processes in place to make parts more efficient (save your assets here, share them this way). But the actual act of creation itself, I’ve found, appears chaotic.
When I start out creating something new I don’t know how to do it. How could I? It’s new so, by definition, I’ve never done it before. There are twists and turns and false starts and backtracking and going in circles and trying different things until finally it starts to be Right. I don’t know what Right looks like when I start. I have some ideas. I have a vision, a plan.
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth -Mike Tyson
But I never know how it’s going to actually be until I make it. I need to see it on the screen. I need to see it move and interact with it. There are a million little intangible things that go into how a new gameplay element works and feels.
I suppose it’s conceivable that I could think of all of those things in advance, really sit down for a few weeks and have a good long think about it, document it, and simulate it in my mind to see if it’s any fun. I might be too dumb or lazy but I suspect that’s not possible for non-trivial problems.
It’s much faster for me to just make the thing and play it and see what happens. This is like sketching for me. If you’re ever agonizing about whether to take path A or path B, my advice is to just pick one and try it. It doesn’t matter which one! Then try the other one if it doesn’t work out. Sometimes I try the other one even if it does work out. I never know which choice is the right choice until I try them. A lot of the time I end up choosing unknown path X which I would never have discovered if I hadn’t tried those other paths in the first place.
Is that efficient? Yes! In terms of finding the right solution as quickly as possible, yes, this might be the best way. Using this method I reach a decision and make progress instead of being stuck forever in analysis paralysis. Do I also throw away a lot of the stuff I create because I end up going in another direction? Yes! But that’s okay! That’s the creative process. That’s why pencils have erasers. There’s no other way to get there unless I’m very lucky. Remember that the true goal is to make a fun game and everything else is a means to that end.
And that’s why I do not spend a lot of time up front creating high-def assets. I use placeholders because I might throw it away. I write crappy code (initially) because I’m just going to delete it or refactor it later anyway. I make pew-pew sounds with my mouth instead of real sound effects. Placeholder, placeholder, placeholder at this stage.
But! And this might be my particular quirk or weakness… I can’t stare at ugly stuff for too long. It hurts me in my heart. I need to start making things look cooler or I just can’t work on it anymore. My will and desire to work on it decreases. So at some point I do an art pass and make the thing look better.
I don’t know what drives me to do this. It might be that there’s a part of my subconscious that is fairly certain I’m on the right track and gives me a nudge. I might just be impatient. Whatever it is, at some point fairly early on, I do an art pass and make the thing start to look better.
There is something to be said about bringing everything to the same level of polish at the same time. An example of this comes from painting. Generally, I want to add details and polish to the whole page at the same time and not just focus on one tiny corner at a time. Otherwise, the painting doesn’t feel cohesive and the quality isn’t consistent across the page.
That process also applies to coding and art. I try to bring each component up to the same level at the same time. And at some point I’ve got the code working at a certain level and now I want to bring up the art to that same level.
And this whole process is iterative. I go back and forth and there are many steps and I end up drawing and re-drawing and coding and re-coding many times before it’s “done”.
“Done” is code for “I have to stop now or I’ll go insane” -John
Placeholder (30 seconds to create) vs animated final (several days to create)
Placeholder (30 seconds to create) vs animated final (several days to create)
In other news
I did an interview for the GoGodotJam where I talk about the process that goes into making an indie game and publishing it.
The upgrade to Godot 3.4 was fairly simple but some of the physics changes did affect the game in small ways that needed some fixes. That’s to be expected and it’s fine. That’s also why Gravity Ace will probably never be upgraded to Godot 4.
That game Helms of Fury I backed is 100% funded. It’s a really cool looking game made with Godot Engine and I can’t wait to play it.
A Bit Awake on Twitter: "We did it!! We reached 100% Funded on our kickstarter for Helms of Fury!! Thanks so much for helping us reach this point, we've had so much community support from you all its been incredible. Truly, thank you!! 💜💜💜… https://t.co/UKyVTl2wmk"
I am continuing my Twitch streaming schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday for the foreseeable future. Check out my Twitch page for the full schedule.
jotson - Twitch
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Gravity Ace 🚀 Early Access
Gravity Ace 🚀 Early Access @yafd

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