Alpha Revolver Games

Reflection: A most useful tool.

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A lot of small, fragmented progress in terms of development as of late. We got the dodge level done, we have the find level mostly complete as well. As such, it was time to focus on what our next level would be. After much discussion, we arrived at a concept called the Jump level, which draws inspiration from multiple sources like Dumb Ways to Die and Flappy Bird. The pet, which as of yet is undecided, will be traversing a cavern rife with harmful obstacles. The player has got to avoid these obstacles in order to make it safely out of the cave system. The gameplay was relatively light to get working, as was the art etc. Although, having said that I did gain valuable experience learning more about game makers physics system, specifically about forces, local and global. Malcolms art is stellar as usual, and our design is remaining strong, and ever focused on producing an extremely high quality, yet economic and timely game.

The big thing i wanted to discuss this week was reflection. Since our development has been a little disjointed recently with Alex visiting and whatever else, I decided to bite the bullet and re-structure the entire code base.

In my earlier coding days, when i was using the Unity3D workspace to make my own projects, my naming structure for variables was like [oneTwoThree]. However in Gamemaker and its tutorials they encouraged you to name them like so [one_two_three] so i decided (for some reason which i have no idea why honestly) to come up with an amalgamation of the two like so [one_Two_Three]

Over time, this became more annoying than helpful and i found myself slipping into the more convenient [one_two_three]. This was also frustrating for me as i felt like i was compromising the integrity of the projects foundation by having an inconsistent naming structure.

In light of this frustration, and a little more free time, i decided to rename any and all variables in the project to the [one_two_three] structure. This in itself sounds tedious, and boring. It was. However it was also extremely valuable to look back on my code that i had written months earlier, to see how i had learnt and evolved with my time in Gamemaker.

There were instances of me doing the same exact thing two different ways in the same script, showing my messy attempt to claw my way through Gamemaker in the beginning. I also saw a lot of instances of inefficient code which worked, but was not necessary; entire chunks of code that the game would never actually need to use.

It was both funny in hindsight, and rewarding in light of my own personal and professional growth. Ultimately, I did a lot more than change the naming convention for the whole project; I changed a lot of variable names to more relevant names in context, I chose now to make distinctions between objects (obj_) and animations (anim_) for easier reference. This once over pass also acted as a general improvement on the games code base, make it more sound overall, and a lot easier for people who are not me to understand whats going on.

looking back shows us how far we’ve come.

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