Synergism Devblog Week 1

In my previous blog post, Committing to a Project, I talked about getting started building something. Well, I rummaged through the Vault of Unfinished Ideas and rebooted it. Future posts I make on this subject will likely be shorter, and more bullet-pointy. This one is more of an introduction.

As so often happens, a while back I pinged my good friend Stuart Langridge to get a sanity check on a game idea. I sometimes ping him with ideas, and he does the same with me. Our Telegram chats frequently start with "Hey, here's a game idea I just had". We then discuss it over minutes, hours or days, bouncing ideas back and forth. Finally we squirrel the idea away in The Vault to gather dust.

This one dates back from May 2018. I've dusted it off. It's going to be a game called "Synergism". Thanks to Stuart for the name!

It's an online multiplayer game, which is ambitious, for me. I'm using Construct 3 to develop it. Yes, I could probably have used some other toolkit, language or framework. But I didn't. There's a ton of reasons for choosing Construct 3. It's a "cloud based" development environment. So no matter what computer I'm sat at, I can just launch a browser tab to and continue working. 

Construct 3 generates HTML5 & Nwjs based builds for numerous platforms including the main desktop environments, Windows, MacOS and Linux. It can also create builds for mobile platforms and the web. I'd like to make this game as widely accessible with minimal platform-specific changes as possible. Construct enables me do that. 

Construct is also super easy to use. I'm "Not a Developer" but have enough coding "skills" to knock a game together. However I don't want to have to code everything. I like that Construct abstracts away physics, OpenGL, audio subsystems, tilemaps, sprite layering and all those other trixty things.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. I started work on this a week ago, and have managed so far to knock together a very simple title screen and lobby area. This won't be pretty initially as I'm just trying to make it all work. So if you see any prototypes or demos linked from here, expect them to function, maybe, but look like hot garbage :D

I appreciate I haven't described the game at all at this point. That'll come. It's all a bit up in the air right now. I'm kinda designing as I go. I often fall into a trap of planning everything out too much and not actually getting anything done - see previous blog posts on this subject. This time I've mostly just dived in, followed a couple of tutorials and hacked about some code.

Here's what I have done so far.

  • Start new Construct project
  • Configure saving to the cloud
  • Create layouts for Title Screen, Lobby and Game
  • Create a super basic title screen using a large word and "pretty" font
  • Build Lobby screen 
    • Accept a player name
    • Allow player to Host or Join a game
    • Offer a game code (to share if hosting) or allow picking a game code if joining an existing game
  • Generate Web, and Desktop Linux builds to test
  • Upload game to

Next up I need to register each player who joins and then allow the players to actually start the game. Then, you know, develop the actual game. Tune in next week to see how far I get! :D

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