A Week a Game (AWAG)

So over the last few months I’ve been extremely busy with work and with family. My daughter just had her first birthday and my wife and I are exhausted! It’s great being a parent, but sometimes it leaves little time for anything else.. especially with a full-time job.

If you haven’t been following this blog, or my twitter, you probably have no idea what I’ve been working on. Basically I’ve been making my first game, a little procedurally generated platformer. I finished making the assets for the mockup and started with the level generation algorithm. I was definitely making some headway but the going was slow. Then one day, in search of a little R&R after work, I stumbled across a game put out by my favorite video game publisher, Devolver Digital. I’d heard good things about it but hadn’t played it yet, so I picked it up.

Enter Downwell..

That game was Downwell. I was blown away by it. The controls are simple, with only 3 buttons, but the gameplay is surprisingly deep and lots of fun. The art style and animations are great. You play a little guy falling down a well, shooting enemies with his gun boots. There are lots of cool enemies and interesting power-ups.

Knowing that every game Devolver Digital publishes has an interesting backstory, I wanted to know Downwell’s. Long story short, it was made by a guy named Ojira Fumoto AKA ‘Moppin’. He had been making a game a week after reading this article by Rami Ismail over at Gamasutra. Downwell was the game he made in his 13th week. Well sort-of. He had made a much simpler version of it but knew he had something special, so he continued working on it and that’s how Downwell came about.

The Epiphany

So after going down this rabbit hole and reading the article that inspired Moppin, I was likewise inspired. ‘That’s what I should be doing!,’ I thought. A practical, hands-on way to learn game design and Gamemaker Studio 2, all while keeping it fresh. A new project every week. That will keep things flowing. So I put my procedural platformer on hold in favor of working on these AWAGs. I plan on picking it back up later but we’ll see what happens. Granted I’m a dad with a full-time job and other things that come up so instead of ‘a week a game’ it may be ‘a week give or take a few days a game.’ The point is, bite-sized projects, to learn. So that’s where I was one week ago and in the meantime I’ve finished my first game! You’ll be able to play it in my next post.

Oh and I’m calling these AWAGs (A Week a Game) because it’s easier to say as an acronym than AGAW.