I mentioned in my first post that we are creating this game in a program called GameMaker and I figured I would talk briefly about it. When it comes to programs used to create games some of the big names that come up are Unity,Unreal Engine 4(an upgrade to UDK), and CryENGINE. However, in addition to being fairly expensive, those programs specialize in the high end 3D graphics. They can do 2D but its a bit harder than GameMaker who was initially created for making 2D games.
GamerMaker is great for making 2D games at a fast pace and is also used for creating quick prototypes even for games which are going to be made using a different program because of the ease of adding some quick placeholder art and coding what you want to try out.
I want to avoid sounding like an advertisement so I will mention one issue that pops up frequently for me. Quick coding to try out an idea might have a few quirks and glitches. It’s acceptable because the goal is to test a general idea. However, for the final project you do want things like the object collisions working perfectly or else you will get things like bullets that can go through walls. Every program handles collisions differently but GameMakers always seems a bit finicky to me. I often have to code a work around for code that appears like it should work but does not. For the Air Balloon mini game I worked on the enemies could be insta-killed by attacking the left edge of the hit box, draining their health instantly despite code forbidding it.
Still, designing games and testing the idea always happens quickly. It is those finishing touches that always takes the time.