In the summer of 2021, I watched a video by Modern Vintage Gamer on creating your own Game Boy game. At the time, that thought had never occurred to me. I was currently trying to learn Unity, which with my very limited free time, was a VERY slow process. A few hours a week is less than an ideal amount of time to learn such a deep and complex engine. I was able to power through a few tutorials and build a level of a simple platformer. However, it was difficult to balance learning the engine on top of creating full res hand painted graphics. That's why watching that video changed EVERYTHING(Thanks, MVG!).
I am no programmer. Far from it, actually. I learned some basic HTML and ActionScript in college and early in my career, but only on a very basic sort of level. That did, however, at least give me enough 'know how' to wrap my head around using Visual Studio to get some very basic gameplay working.
And I mean BASIC. After figuring out basic movement and background scrolling, I had already felt like I hit a wall. Learning something this complicated 30 minutes at a time just wasn't realistic for me. Ironically, my limitations did pay off in one small part: the only reason the player character is just a skull is that I had no idea how to move two sprites together in C++. I had already animated a full body skeleton, but I just used his head for testing purposes. (Our little cranial protagonist has undergone some major changes, but he's here for the long haul) But once again, I felt like my progress was slowing down to a crawl. The pinnacle of my coding at this stage was figuring out parallax scrolling, which I'm somewhat proud of.
That's when the clouds parted and I was introduced to GB Studio. After a few hours I was able to bring my character into a simple level and jump around. Things just made sense. After a few tutorials, I was able to experiment and get started on actually designing my game without getting bogged down in a ton of technical stuff or feature creep. It was like I could breathe again and focus on creating. It meant another reset, but this time I knew I was heading in the right direction.
From here, I was able to take a step back, and focus on the world I wanted to create. As it turns out, I knew exactly where to get started. You can read in my next dev blog about the world of Ravensfall, and why I was so quick to return there.
Thanks for reading!