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Top 6 of 10 - 2015
28th December 2019  
A decade is over, and what have I done?
373 games, created a new blogging script for here, rewritten the Socoder forum, started a few new sites and more!
Oh, and a brain tumour!

It's been a wild and crazy decade, and over the next few days I'll be looking back at the best (and worst) games from the decade.

2010 - BlitzMax
2011 - Touch Control
2012 - The Bad Year
2013 - Monkey-X
2014 - OUYA!!
2015 - The Gap Year
2016 - Forget-V
2017 - Cuddle Me
2018 - Ringing the Changes
2019 - Overload

2015 - The Gap Year

This year was a bit of an oddity.
Often, as I throw out tons of games, people ask me what my creations might be like if I spent a little more time on each one.
I knew the answer to this. If I don't set myself a deadline, then I'll procrastinate, and nothing will get done.

But, in 2015, I decided to prove to myself that I have the ability to make games that are more than my usual AGameAWeek output.

Spreading things out to month-long, or even two-month-long projects, I aimed to show just how good I could make a "proper" game.
And ..

I ended up procrastinating a lot!


All The Games!

(in order of release)

Zzap Lines

First off, a little quick game to get things started.
A simple zapping game in which you can zap nearby bugs.
It didn't turn out like I wanted though. I was originally aiming for a nice big zapping chain sort of thing, but ..
I'm not really sure why it didn't end up like that.
I think, at the corner of my mind, I'd already settled on this being a Gap Year, and my head was starting to shut down!


A couple of weeks later, and "Gap Year - Long Game" number one appeared.
A sort of quickly made space shooting/hunting game with different types of powerups, and a bunch of mazes to wander around in.
It definitely has a vague Cybernoid vibe to it, and the level structure brings a lot to the game.

As far as "Bigger" concepts go, this one's quite nice.

Invisible Munky 2

Next on the list of "Bigger!" was Invisible Munky, which is actually a lot smaller than it appears.
Most of the complexity of this game was in getting the physics right, as well as designing the levels.
That's right, although they might not look it, those simplistic little levels were actually designed, one after the other.
Levels in a Spritesheet were converted to level data by a separate script.
I'm not convined I could make a random level generator to do it justice, so everything was done by hand.

.. And, honestly, it doesn't feel like I took that much time doing it!
Definitely a case of "Could've done this in a week", but ended up procrastinating.


SpikeDislike3 took another few months to get done.
This time around, I focused on creating a level structure, so that you could simply play levels through, opening things up that way instead of the Token unlock of the previous edition.
Splitting up the game into sections of 10 levels, with the 10th being a classic "Endless" level, allowed for much more variety in the gameplay.
And people hated it, and complained that "It should be endless, not levels. This is shit.."
Players couldn't be bothered to get through to level 10.
The game failed.

An absolute labour of love, with some of the best stylings of any of the SpikeDislikes, and a full soundtrack to boot.
What a waste of 3 months..


The Unexpected Gap Year Gap

Not long after the release of SpikeDislike2, Razer bought the failing OUYA, and what remained of Team OUYA discovered that a LOT of games would no longer be functional, if all the games were simply moved across to the ForgeTV system.
The main issue was that OUYA had its own controller code, whilst the ForgeTV used standard Android code.
This caused a MASSIVE issue, and they reached out to me to let me know early on that this was going to be a problem, since.. at that point.. I had 42 games on their marketplace that were all about to break.

They whisked me out a ForgeTV and I set to work testing new controller code.
Tweaking, fixing, testing, and then sending them about 20 or 30 test apk's that they also tested.
Somewhat fortuitously, PlayJam, the creators of the GameStick, also reached out to me at this time, to see if I could get my games working on their device, too.
Free consoles all 'round, as they sent me one of their GameSticks, and I got to work on trying to get my OUYA Framework to work on everything, all at one.

After a couple of months, I'd managed .. Most of it. :\

I managed to get One-Player single controller things to work in basic "Android TV" environments, as well as on the original OUYA, all at the same time, with a single compile.
But no matter how much I tried, and however much it seemed to be working on ONE of the three systems, my code would always seem to fail on the other two, when it came to Multiplayer controls.
The multiplayer Android TV component didn't like OUYA methodology, the OUYA didn't like Android TV stuff, and the ForgeTV OS was baffled further because it was trying to be both things at once!

Eventually I had to give up on Multiplayer, (JNK Bombers, NeonBikes) but for the other 40-odd single player OUYA games I'd so far created, it was time to fix them up, recompile them, remove OUYA references, add a better Quit Button to the menu for PlayJam purposes, and ship the updated games out to both OUYA and PlayJam.

One at a time.
Slowly but surely.
Usually Daily..
Over the rest of the year...


Beta Collexion

Whilst working on the big fixup list, I decided to start work on a new Advent Calendar for the year, and since this year was about "Bigger and Better", I tried my best to make all 26 games a little more substantial than they'd been the previous year.
Instead of silly 10 second games, these were intended to last ... maybe a full minute!?!
Some of these games turned out fairly well, others not, but in general the collection was nice and fun.

NeonPlats Cosmic Adventure

The final Gap Year game brought back the NeonPlat Adventures concept, expanding it slightly, but shrank things down quite a bit, too.
There aren't as many powerups as in the previous edition, and the care and attention wasn't put into the game.
It is, however, a perfectly playable game, with plenty of unlockable worlds, dozens of enemy types, and oodles of levels.

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