Learning BYOND, Day 9: Purposeful Toil

With the focus placed on my Graphical User Interface from Day 8, I’ve pretty much created the game. The GUI is the game, after all. At least that’s what I quoted yesterday… but, I have to concur from personal experience that once you’ve got the basics of the GUI ironed out, the game itself materializes.

My GUI will have three separate play modes. A sensible first-time BYOND Dream Maker user would develop one game, but I’m a fickle gamer, I apparently want my first game to be three games in one. (This is to say nothing for the dynamic content focus.) The specifics (such as balancing the individual pieces) have yet to be worked out, but I now know enough to build the basic skeleton I’ll be using and tweaking to project completion. I wouldn’t have been able to do so without knowing both the BYOND 4.0 skin features and the screen objects discussed in yesterday’s blog entry.

Whether it’s my over-ambition or simply a sign of inexperience, it’s been difficult to get my code synced up right. I’ve tried putting an entire design on paper, but I’m afraid I can’t visualize the underlying mechanics well enough. Instead, I’ve been somewhat forced to build piece by piece, creating individual aspects of the game and seeing how well they stand before moving on to the next.

Perhaps this is the way all newbies start out, but the consequence is having to rebuild or re-arrange my code when previous implementations fail, to the point where it seems I’m no closer to my final product now than I was a few days ago. It’s a bit discouraging, but I shoulder on knowing a few things:

First, learning BYOND coding is an excellent self-improvement mechanism. Second, the code I create will be doing the work for me once it’s done properly (it’ll be a joy once I can stop coding and start world-building). Third, as I get better at using BYOND, the difficulty of putting together more content like this should lessen – design and coding are learned through practice like any other applied skill.

Finally, whether or not my games are ever popular or if I ever get paid for making them, this is essentially the birth of a game designer. Perhaps a game designer whose games only entertain himself, but a game designer nonetheless.

Well, enough slacking on today’s blog entry. Back to the grindstone.

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