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Article - 'Bondos 2002 Game Creation Almanac' by Bondo

An item about Game Design posted on Aug 8, 2003

Blurb

Bondo talks about creating games with the utmoust efficiency and ease, everything from what to keep you programmers running to how a correct atmosphere can be inspiring.

Body

In order to receive any practical advice from this article, you must already have knowledge of the programming language, or WYSIWYG game creator of your choice. This article is to help you create games with the utmost efficiency and ease. So those of you who are newbies to game creation, get up, go to your local bookstore, pick up a copy of Programming for Dummies, and then come back when you think you can make a game.

Lesson #1
Your Surroundings
The environment in which you sculpt your interactive works of art is the most important aspect of game design. Try your best to place your computer in a room that is quiet and free of human traffic.
A quality desk is also very important for your comfort. Make sure you have plenty of leg room, and that you knees don't hit the bottom. A lot of desktop space is necessary.
Your chair is only second in importance to your desk. Make sure it is comfortable and ergonomically correct. It is highly important to a game designer that the chair has the ability to swivel and roll. This way a designer can simply roll over to a shelf or a refrigerator without having to stand up. The ability to lean back is also a plus. Good for waiting for a render.
A game designer, not unlike any other artist, requires inspiration. Try and surround yourself with inspirational posters, figurines, drawings, magazines, or even books. It's a good idea to have some inspiration that matches the theme of your game. For example, if your game has a fantasy theme, you may want to keep a copy of Lord of the Rings and a pewter dragon close at hand.

Lesson #2
Ambiance and Atmosphere
It's a pretty good idea to create the correct mood for your programming exploits. Music is usually an excellent mood setter. You may want to find music that fits the theme of your game, but if you feel like Linkin Park or Korn helps you program better, by all means go for it. Lighting can be an excellent tool to focus your attention to your work. Try turning off all the lights, and then setting up a desk lamp. This will force you to focus on the task at hand. Other mood setters such as incense or desktop waterfalls work pretty well, but it all depends on your programming style.

Lesson #3
Fuel for Weary Programmers
While you paint pixels and polygons on your digital masterpiece, you may discover that you tire easily. Game creation takes a lot of strenuous mental activity, and this takes a toll on the human body and mind. There are three key ingredients that should be in every programmers diet. These include Glucose, Carbohydrates, and the most important of all, caffeine. Glucose can be found in anything that contains sugar. Candy such as Pixi Stix, and Gobstoppers are almost pure sugar. Sugar is important because it gives a slight boost of energy. Be careful however, sugar has after effects. One may experience what is known as a sugar crash. This is where the body increased the flow of insulin into the bloodstream, therefore rapidly reducing the blood-sugar level. The victim finds him/herself falling asleep on the keyboard. Then waking up at noon the next day, only to find that the keyboard is full of drool, and the screen shows nothing but 500 pages of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Carbohydrates can be found in potato chips, pork rinds, and donuts. It has much the same effects as sugar, only to a lesser degree, and without the harmful after effects. Too much, however, will cause you to gain weight, therefore making you the worlds fattest programmer. Caffeine is the miracle drug. It can be found is coffee, soda, and a few newer products such as Penguin Caffeinated Mints, Red Bull, or Bawls energy drinks. Caffeine will boost your energy and increase your metabolism. It will also increase your mental awareness. There are after effects. You may become addicted to such a degree, that you rely on caffeine to even operate. You may accidentally overdose, resulting in painful seizures and foaming at the mouth. The average human can consume 5 grams of caffeine before overdosing, but a tolerance can be built up. It has been recorded that some people can consume as much as 20 grams of caffeine without overdosing.
For your nutritional convince, set up a small card table next to your desk. You may then place various items on it such as a coffee maker and various foods. Buy a mini fridge or an ice chest to keep soda and other cold food items cold.

Lesson #4
Overworking Yourself (And why it's so bad.)
It is highly important to your mental health that you take a break every once in awhile. You could stop and play a quick round of Quake 3, or watch an episode of The Simpsons. Not taking breaks could result in the loss of your sanity.

Lesson #5
Beginning your game
The most difficult hurdle for a programmer to overcome is actually starting a game. What is the game about? How is it played? What are the characters names? The best approach is to start out by completely avoiding the creation of your game. Simply live your life, go bowling, read a book, go see a movie. But keep the fact that you are looking for a game idea in the back of your head. Sooner than you expect, inspiration will hit you like a ton of bricks. It may come while sitting on the crapper and staring at the wallpaper, or it may come while watching a particular movie, but however it comes, rush to your game creation area and start typing out the aspects of your game. You will find that they come to you rather easily when you have inspiration. This is a much better approach than trying to force your brain to think of something. "Don't go to the ideas, let the ideas come to you." It is usually a good idea to place every detail of your game on paper before you start making it. Just be sure to leave room for revision and changes later.

Conclusion
You may now proceed with the creation of your game. Just follow these guidelines and you should be fine. Don't overwork yourself.