A Game a Day Recap

When I first thought about tackling this challenge, I think I was a different person. I was negative and a prisoner to my depression. Sure, I wanted to devote this blog series to mental health awareness, and yes I love making games so I was expecting to have fun, but I had ulterior motives that I was blind to.

I was jealous and angry.

I didn’t know this going in until an incident on June 10th. I was upset with my stage in life, where I was career-wise, how overlooked I was at work, and how artists in my personal life didn’t take me serious. I wanted to show them what I was made of. I originally thought I’d prove my job that I was a worthy contender for a junior or associate game designer role, and I wanted the artists that I worked personally with to want to work with me even more. Deep down, and I didn’t realize this, I was letting my depression defeat me. It made me angry. I was viewing my self-worth as something only that job or those artists could give me. So, I worked extremely hard the first week and a half, losing an incredible amount of sleep to impress. I wanted validation. I didn’t know this, but that’s what I wanted most.

I was sleeping 2 hours a night for the first 10 days in order to finish a playable project, add art, sound, write the blog post, even make a video for non-readers, and finally I’d share on social media. I chose to neglect my health. I avoided the gym and I’d stuff myself with fast food. On the 10th day, I had maybe totaled 20 hours of sleep (I should have been at 80 hours), and I was out of my mind. I was obsessed with page views for my validation. My closest friend saw this and then realized how much of a mess I became. This friend stopped being my friend that day and left me to sit in the shit prison I made for myself. I lied to my friend prior to this project, and I lied to myself. I said I was doing it for awareness and for myself, to simply see if I could.

The day after, I decided to react. I got up, I bought a ton of vegetables, I grabbed my gym clothes, and I started a fitness plan. My depression had possessed me to push away the closest people in my life. It’s made me into a monster. I never do anything evil or criminal, but I’m a pain to be around. I decided to put my foot down and focus on my health. You are what you eat, so if my body is only taking in healthy foods, I’ll feel healthy. If I work out constantly, I’ll feel happier. If I sleep more, I won’t become the monster I’ve become in the past. I also decided to put my blog series in distant 2nd. I did always try to make a game a day, but rather than devoting 8-10 hours and no sleep to a project, I’d use 1-2. Often, I wouldn’t have art and sound, or I’d submit unfinished games. My blog entries all focused on my daily health accomplishments. And today, July 5th, I can say that my mission is working. I’ve lost 23 lbs, feel better, look better, and I got new glasses. I’m cooking more, making healthy meals for my family, and spending more time with my puppies. I’m trying my best to finally get rid of my depression, and in the process I’m creating the self-worth I lacked all along.

Shortly after doing this, I remembered what my blog series was supposed to be about. I was devoted to trying to challenge myself, learn new things, and have fun, while also making my happiness the number 1 priority. I mentioned this in every post. I want anyone who may come across the blog to understand how important mental health is. In the end, I was happy making games and I used the majority of my words to speak about mental health. I ended up doing what I should’ve been doing. I let go of the pain that I allowed my job or artists to give me, and I have been fighting as hard as I can to forever feel better.

I would consider it a success in that case. Maybe soon, “Anxiety Monster” will only be a name. I hope so.

Thank you all for reading. Please take care of yourselves. If you know anyone suffering from depression, know they can be helped. They can beat it. Sometimes you may not feel really helpful, but a simple “I’m here for you” goes a long way.

To any young designers out there battling depression, you CAN succeed. Keep making game after game until you get better. If you have questions, contact me. I’ll respond. I know the feeling. Things can feel overwhelming and impossible, but I know you can get through it like I’m doing.

Good Luck,
Edwin

Advertisements

A Game a Day: Final Day

Day 30 and Final Day

I spent the day devoted to my health and my happiness, but I managed to squeeze some time to make a game. I had plans to make something big, but I’d rather devote more time to that, without feeling the pressure of completing it tonight. Pressure isn’t always good. I have some great plans for July, so look for the games I’ll post then. Today, I ran with my puppies at the park, made breakfast and lunch for family, worked on the game, and I’m about to hit the gym and then celebrate the month. I saw a udemy tutorial about a skiing game. I gave it one glance and I felt I could try it out. I did manage to reproduce it within about an hour and a half. The game can be played with your mouse or even on a mobile device.

You have to drag your character (blue square) right and left to avoid obstacles as you ski down a mountain. You’re simply trying to gain a high score. The longer you last, the higher the score. The only difference my game has from the tutorial on udemy is that I’m lacking art.

That was the final project, but expect fully functional games WITH art in the coming weeks. I’m excited to reveal some projects that I hope you all play and maybe even download on your mobile devices. Please look forward to tomorrow for a recap of the A Game a Day project. It’s been a massive learning experience.

Thanks for reading these last 30 days.

Total time developing: 1.5 hours.

A Game a Day: Day 29

Day 29

Today I made a Flappy Bird clone. I honestly always wanted to, so I can check that off. I found an easy to follow tutorial on how to create one with art even provided. The game works well, although it can use some collision tuning. For those that never played Flappy Bird on a mobile device, the game is about tapping on a screen to keep your character in the air as long as possible while avoiding obstacles. In college, a lot of us would compete for high scores. I’d love to expand on this maybe at some point.

As for the rest of my day, I did a great job. My health was number 1 priority as always. I woke up and went for a 30 minute run. Then, I made breakfast for my family, went to therapy, got my new pairs of glasses, made my sister some sushi for lunch, went to see Incredibles 2, cooked chicken fajita burritos for my family, made my juice for the next two days, and ran for another hour. I’m spent! I’m only up late because I wanted to finish my game. Tomorrow is the LAST day of A Game a Day after all. I’ll do my best to end with a bang. But remember, HEALTH COMES FIRST.

Additionally, today is day 20 of my health/fitness program. I’m happy to announce that I’ve lost 20 lbs. I feel a lot better mentally and physically.

See you all tomorrow for the final A Game a Day blog posting.

Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours.

A Game a Day: Day 28

Today I worked on another Udemy tutorial with my free time. I actually had a lot of downtime at work so I figured I’d tackle something. I didn’t even watch the tutorial. I saw the final game and decided to just try to make it on my own. I did. The only thing that doesn’t match is that the creator has nice art, and a title screen. I wanted to solely focus on making the game. I was successful.

In this game, you’ll see a big red circle and big blue circle. Additionally, you’ll see small red, blue, and purples circles falling in the top center. You have to drag the falling objects to their rightful color. For example, when the small red circle falls, you must drag it to the big red circle. If you miss, you lose. The purple ones will make you lose points, so be careful there. The goal is to see how high your score can be. You drag the falling circles with either your mouse of finger (if you’re using a mobile device).

It’s pretty early, but I’ve got a lot planned today. There’s an event with my coworkers. We’re all going bowling, getting out early, and then I’m going to an indie all-women wrestling event in Southgate. I hope I can squeeze in some gym time. I’m feeling pretty good right now since I’ve been drinking a lot of green juice and I ran at the park as soon I woke up. That’s 4 days straight. Additionally, this is my 19th day working out and juice fasting, and I’ve dropped 19 lbs. I can’t wait to see 20 lbs hopefully tomorrow.

Again, thanks for reading. Check in tomorrow for another game.

Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours

A Game a Day: Day 27

Day 27

Today I focused on my health again. I ran in the park for some fasted cardio, I bought my veggies, completed my Japanese audio lesson, went to work, hit the gym during the lunch, back to work, made my juice for the next two days, and hit the gym hard one last time. I had very little extra time to spare, but I managed to do another Udemy tutorial to make a physics based blocks game.

The game looked colorful so I wanted to try it out. The rules are simple. You can either click anywhere on the screen (or tap via a mobile device) to create colorful blocks and earn points within 5 seconds. There are only 5 different colored blocks that spawn. Afterwards, the timer restarts, and a message appears to click a specific colored block, destroying it, and earning additional points. The game is actually only ten seconds long. Afterwards, it simply restarts.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll do my best to complete something tomorrow, although I have a very eventful day and night.

Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours.

A Game a Day: Day 25

Day 25

Today I won’t be submitting something, but I did get some cool work done. I was collaborating with my friend Allyssa, who was the artist for my first game. I developed a demo back in January for a game I also managed to make in a day. She was on board to be the artist for it. Today she sent some images and videos and it is looking pretty awesome. I did some editing to the controls, worked on a few bugs that I had ignored before, and helped write the menu screen. I’m going to be quiet about this game for now, but I expect to show it soon. I think it’ll be done a little bit after this blog series is over. I can’t wait to show it.

Today, I managed to once again focus on my health. I got a good night’s rest, woke up early, bought my veggies, went to the park and ran (yeah, I actually ran at 7am!), did my Japanese audio lesson, worked, went to the gym during lunch, back to work, made my juice for the next two days, and hit the gym again. Today I burned roughly 1600 alone on cardio and I feel really good and relaxed. Today is Day 16 of my workout program/juice fast and I’ve lost 15 lbs. It’s a bit freaky, but I’m happy.

Thanks for reading again. I hope to have something to show tomorrow. If not, I’ll definitely be working on a game.

A Game a Day: Day 21

Day 21

Today I woke up super early and managed to get a lot done. I went to buy my veggies for the next two days of juicing, I did my Japanese audio lesson (I’ve been learning Japanese), cleaned my room, did my laundry, and made my game. I went to work and hit the gym during my lunch hour, drove home, and went to the gym again. Why is all of this extra information important for a blog series called A Game in a Day? Well, it’s because this blog is devoted to raising awareness for mental health. I have suffered with depression for some time now and in this process of making a game daily, I exacerbated my situation by losing sleep, sacrificing healthy eating and exercise. It resulted in me eating fast food too often, becoming crabby, and extremely negative. I also became obsessed with page views and video views. After a rough incident, I decided to finally fix that. It has been 12 days that I’ve gone to the gym to drain my energy, juice fasted, and got a full night’s sleep. Sure, my games have taken a hit. Most are demos now that are obviously unfinished with temp art, but I’m very happy that I making something daily. I know after this challenge is over I’ll pursue a bigger project that resembles a more traditional indie game. For now, I’m starting to feel in control and happy. I’ve lost 11 lbs, I wake up early with tons of energy and I feel like running a marathon. This is only week 2 of this health trip. I can’t imagine where I’ll be in two more weeks. Even though the A Game a Day series will be over, I’ll still update you about it. Ok…let’s get to the game.

It’s a Endless Runner Demo. I found a tutorial on Udemy again and the game was simple, easy, fun, and challenging, so give it a try. I felt inspired to make my own original Endless Runner. The first idea that came to mind was adding a ton of power ups and destructible environments. Maybe I’ll try that in July or even tomorrow.

Again, thanks for reading! Swing by tomorrow where I’ll have more time for an original game.

Total Time Developing: 2 hours.

A Game a Day: Day18

Day 18

Once again I made the call to prioritize my health. I’m choosing dieting, exercise, and sleep over a long and grueling project. I did explore last night’s project a bit more and gave it a twist. I took the scrolling screen racer, based on the arcade game Speed Racer, and put a color-based twist on it. It doesn’t have a name and it is very much a demo, but it is totally playable. Inspired by one of my favorite games, Ikaruga, I played with the idea of flipping between two colors as you race through a track. You’ve got 60 seconds on the road to collect as many colored dots that appear on screen. There are either green dots or blue dots, and with the click of a button, you can swap to either of those colors. You must be green to collect the green dots, and you must be blue to collect the blue dots. If you’re collecting the wrong colored dots, you lose all your speed and lose points. The game is simple and could use a lot of work, art, and juice. I only provided a tiny bit of art assets from my original game Colors Crossed. Thanks for reading, and hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow with another project.

Total Development Time: 2.5 hours.

A Game a Day: Day 17

Day 17

Again, I chose to prioritize my health and devoted my spare time to making a green juice for the next two days and to the gym, where I ran for an hour. I never mentioned, but after a rough event that took place last weekend, I decided to take control of my life. I decided to do a juice fast for a short while. I’ve done this before and it greatly affected my mental health. I remember feeling like my anxiety and depression were cured. I want that again. To share some progress, I’ve been feeling more in control of my mind, and I’ve lost 7 lbs in 7 days. Physically, I’m feeling better than I have in months. Ok, I made a game, too. What did I make?

I didn’t finish what I wanted to do, but I made a racer demo. I followed a tutorial based from the LA based game development school, Gamegen. The tutorial tries to recreate the classic arcade game, Speed Race. The game is basically done, but lacks art. I’d like to explore it with a twist for a future project for A Game a Day. For now, it’s simple. You move with the arrow keys, and hold space for gas. I’m using a red square for the player, and blue squares for the rival cars. I have a few ideas on how to add a twist on this. I look forward to tomorrow. For now, I’ll say goodnight. Thanks for reading again!

 

A Game a Day: Day 16

Day 16

I once again focused on my mental health and chose healthy eating and exercise over my A Game a Day project. After all, this blog is designed to spread the word on mental health awareness. Prioritizing my mental health while on this journey is a must! In the first week, I was almost willing to sacrifice my health for the sake of producing more quality games, but it wasn’t worth the way I felt about myself. Now, I’m trying to be the best possible version of myself daily, putting my happiness first.

I want to forever destroy my depression. I don’t want to look back. I want to be like my infectious and positive old self. I believe I can. I spent the day with family, went on a hike, saw a waterfall, watched a terrible WWE event, and then ran at the gym for an hour. Afterwords, I managed to complete an educational game tutorial from Udemy.

The game is simple. Try to click as many correct answers as possible within 30 seconds. As soon as you click either the right or wrong answer, the next addition problem will display. That’s all there is too it.

Again, thank you all for reading. I’ll see you tomorrow as I try to make something new.

Total Time Developing: 1.5 hours

A Game a Day: Day 13

Day 13.

This will be short. I decided that the most important thing in this project is for me to have fun and to protect my mental health first. I’m trying to raise awareness for people with anxiety and depression, so it doesn’t make much sense if I’m triggering my own on a nightly basis. I’ve been a lot better about it for the last four nights, but I still have been putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. So every night after work, my health will come first. I’ve been hitting the gym and doing meal preps, and I expect to continue. With my spare time, I will work until I’m really sleepy. Depending on how I feel about my progress, I’ll consider posting the game for people to play. I’ve taken this approach for the last 4 nights, and it’s worked out sort of. The quality of the games took a hit, so now I want to perhaps avoid that. I’d rather try everyday, and build off good ideas.

Earlier I spent my hour lunch break working on one project, and for the last 2 hours, I’ve been working on an entirely differently project. Not smart. I decided to work on a UFO based minigame. I’m experimenting with gravity again. I have a strong idea for a game, but I’m certain that I need a lot of time to devote to it. Additionally, having just ran for an hour, I’m exhausted and calling it a night. My demo will not be playable tonight, but I’ll share some detail of what I managed to get done.

I have a ufo that moves in all directions with the arrow keys. When holding the Space bar, the UFO’s beam spawns, flashes, and picks up any animals near by. I had some friends on facebook express that they wanted me to make a game about cats, cows and UFOs. I wanted to take a crack at it, but first I needed to make sure I could create a UFO-like object that can make things levitate. I can confirm, I got this working, however we all need sleep for our happiness. I don’t want to neglect that, so I’ll see you tomorrow hopefully with a finished version of this game. Thanks for reading!

Total Time Spent Developing: 3 hours

 

A Game a Day: Day 12

Day 12

I tried squeezing a small game out of today, which was hard since it was an eventful day. I was at E3 from open to close, then headed to the Women in Games party. I had a ton of fun, played way more games than yesterday, spoke to developers, and received amazing advice. I’m feeling motivated and positive. I managed to drink only green juice again with the exception of two bananas and two apples. I was feeling really healthy, but I’m extremely tired. My legs and back are sore from the show. I got home from the afterparty around 10pm(early I know), so that gave me little time to make a game. I did make something however. It’s the simplest game. For now, it’s called Red and Blue Bullets demo.

You control a square’s state in the center of the game. It starts off red, but if you hold down the space bar, the red square becomes a blue diamond. Red and blue alternating bullets start firing at you from the left, then the right, and then both. You have to absorb all the bullets possible in 60 seconds. Absorb the red bullets when you’re red, and blue bullets when you’re blue. Simple. Fun. I made something. It’s not too late. I’m exhausted. Time to sleep because I’ve got work in the morning. Additionally, I’m happy to report that I felt no feelings of depression today. I’m not sure if it’s E3 or the green juice, or both, but today I felt very in control of my thoughts. Thanks for reading! See ya tomorrow with another game.

Total Time Spent Developing: 2 hours

A Game a Day: Day 10

Day 10

I actually devoted a fair of time to myself today. I wanted to try to regain control of my mental health. I prepared a lot of green juice that I like to make. It was all my meals today, and honestly I LOVED it. I felt so much better, happier, and in simply in control. I worked all day, came home, made my juice for tomorrow that I hope can be permitted into E3. I went back to the gym and did an hour of Cardio. I even went an hour and half early to work, just to get some time on my game. I no longer want to lose sleep because I saw what it was doing to me. It was making my situation of dealing with depression significantly worse. I wanted to correct that completely. Today, was a mission accomplished for me.

What about the game?

This time, there’s a bit of a situation. I worked about 5 hours on a game that I’ve been playing with for the last three nights. I was basically designing a single player version of my platform-spawner series. Just a little while ago, I got a major portion finished, but it’s not done. I would need to devote at least another 4 hours or so, and I’M CHOSING MY MENTAL HEALTH. With the proper sleep, I’ll be a happier person, and I’ll get to really make a dent. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not submitting something. I totally am. I was looking for a game I made a while back in a matter of two hours. This isn’t so much of a game, rather than just a drum set to play with. I call it Drum It Out. I was a drummer years ago and I’m constantly beating my keyboard with my fingers. I decided to match the keys I usually hit with different pieces of a drum kit. It’ll serve as my 10th submission. If you wouldn’t like to count it, well then consider this, I made two games the night I submitted Piñatas, which was just an extremely bare bones version. So, we’re totally still at ten.

Check in tomorrow with me as I’ll be riding on the E3 buzz, deciding to not attend the after parties in order to complete a game. I look forward to showing off the project I worked on today. Thanks for reading. Stay Healthy.

Total time spent developing today: 5 hours
Total time spent developing Drum It Out: 2 hours.

A Game a Day: Day 9

Day 9.
On a personal level, today was rough. I was mentally at capacity but needed to find the energy within myself to finish something. I was feeling awful both mentally and physically, had a massive headache, and felt oddly empty when I picked up my E3 badge. The depression was here and in full effect. I came home after to try to catch up on my lost sleep. I’ve decided to not overwork myself nightly and actually go to bed on time. I’ll feel happier. Bottom line. I know the quality of my games will take a hit, but it’s something I should do. My health is priority here.

Always take care of yourself.

I managed to devote a few hours to work however. I took the same code I was working with from the last two platformer multiplayer games and built a new mode. I creatively called it Combo Mode-Platform-Spawning-Demo. The rules this time around are similar to The Floor is Lava. You have to build platforms which give you points. If a player touches the ground, they lose all their points. The player with the most points after 1 minute, wins. Simple. The game quickly starts getting intense as you rack up a long combo score.

Play it and let me know what you think. Once again, thanks for reading. See you tomorrow with Day 10’s game.

Total time spent developing: 2 hours

A Game a Day: Day 6

Day 6!!! I’m feeling the momentum. I’m actually behind schedule on submitting this. Funny story. I almost didn’t make a game. No, I wasn’t ready to quit. Last night, something weird happen after I was readying to go to bed way later than I should. I laid down, and then felt a lot of heat. I opened my eyes and saw a tiny fire about 3 inches wide on my bed. Yep! My computer’s charge cable was damaged and sparked a small flame. I slapped my bed twice and the fire was no more. I disconnected the cable and saw it sparking rapidly while in my hands. Scary stuff! Imagine if I fell asleep earlier. It looks like staying up late and working on a game was meant to be.

I was having trouble charging my computer recently, so I went ahead and ordered a new charge cable that arrived tonight. However, since my computer is old and needs to always be plugged in, and since I feared I’d make something catch on fire, I decided to not take my computer to work. So, because of this and some of life’s curve balls, I was running behind schedule on making a game. However, it’s 3:30am and I submitted something. What did I submit?

I made a game that’s lazily called Race to Space.

Race to Space is exactly what you think it is. Two players are trying to blast their rocket furthest into space by button mashing. The person that button mashes most in a matter of ten seconds wins. I spent some time challenging myself with a basic animation that occurs at the end, creating the feeling of movement without actually moving the sprites and by toying with simple sound and fade effects. Additionally, I challenged myself by making this game in a really short time. I started working on this at 11pm, so I’d say I did ok with it. I’m excited for the weekend where I’ll have more time to pursue a more deeper game I hope. Thanks for reading and checking out the game. See ya tomorrow with the 7th game.

Total time spent developing: 4.5 hours.

A Game a Day: Day 5

Day 5 started off different. I woke and didn’t feel like myself. The lack of sleep really caught up to me. For those that don’t know, sleep deprivation can contribute to feelings of depression. And for those that experience depression and/or chronic anxiety, lack of sleep can severely worsen your experience with depression. To be as transparent as I’ve already been, that’s what happened to me today. I woke up in a rough state and knew I couldn’t attend work. I used a sick day. And people, please don’t be afraid to use sick days for when your mental health needs your attention. With that said, I made a game and I was a lot more successful than yesterday. What did I make?

I made a game simply called Piñatas.

That’s right, a 2nd piñata based game. This one started off as a tutorial I found on youtube. It was an easy-to-make physics based cannon game. I wanted to cheer myself up, so I added a swinging piñata to try to shoot. I added a timer, some health to the piñata and the game was done. The goal of the game is to try to diminish the piñata’s health before the timer of 30 seconds runs out. I worked on it for about 3 hours and declared it finished. I had lunch and then I noticed I still felt uncontrollably anxious and depressed. I decided to add more to the game as a form of medicating myself. I added items that spawn sporadically. I added an hourglass, a metal gear, mini piñata that serves as health, and fun music. The hourglass adds more time, but if the piñata collides with it 5 seconds is removed. The metal gear turns the swinging piñata into well…a metal piñata, and makes it invincible. The best thing to do here is to try to shoot the metal gear so that the piñata doesn’t get it. Also, metal music plays if this happens. In the end I felt a lot better. It was one of the rare times that game design actually helped me through an episode of depression. I knew PLAYing games could help people with depression, but I wasn’t sure than designing and developing could help.

Today it did.

With that said, play the game and let me know what you think. Do you like it? Do you think it’s one of the worst pieces of garbage that’s ever been garbaged? Tell me. Also, feel free to share this post and/or the previous ones, games, videos, and click like. See you all tomorrow with my 6th game straight. Thanks!

Total time developing: 7 hours