Game Dev Log: Deux

Is making this game an impossible dream? I often wonder…

This post may sound like a discombobulated mess. A lot has happened between October 2020 til now.

Well… It’s been a long time since the first post. My apologies. Even though at this point in time no one knows about this website. I haven’t stopped working on the game. In fact, the last couple of months have truly tested me. I did take a mini break around December. I was stuck at a dead end and when I came back I thought to abandon my initial idea on making 3d human models with custom animations for the cafe. The animations weren’t working well with Buildbox. It took so much time to make it in blender and honestly I just gave up. There were just too many problems. Maybe one day I might revisit that idea but I took a different approach. I think it was a good idea considering the characters themselves in the game are not human. It only makes sense to have the actual character shape appear in the cafe. It was very hard to take a different path considering I spent months trying to make it work. That’s the first part of the many problems I am facing with making this game.

The second and most time consuming is optimization. When I tested the game on mobile in March it was very slow, unplayable slow. It was a huge blow since the game is not complex at all and I was only testing 2 levels and the cafe I created. So… from March til now, I’ve been working on optimization. I bought a new phone (new to me but it’s an old flagship phone) and all the progress I made towards optimization for android went out the window. I was shocked to say the least when I saw how game looked on the phone. I was almost back at square one but since I was paranoid with saving almost every change I made in buildbox, all I had to do is backtrack my progress to the best version of my game before I started making serious changes. I’m happy I created the shops before I started making optimization changes. It would have been a nightmare to start from the beginning. I’ve been working with buildbox for less than a year and I think it’s fair to say I have a love/hate relationship with that software.

I know for sure this game is going to look horrible on older devices. I had to make a compromise. Either optimize for new devices or older ones. The game looks terrible (too fast and glitchy) on newer devices if I keep the optimization settings I made the last two months. Or… it looks horrible (too slow and lags) on older devices if I keep my original settings. I’ve tested many times on both phones. I hate that I have to make this compromise! My “older” phone, which is not a flagship but works well can handle games that are much more complex. I’ve done everything possible to optimize this game to work well on android but I don’t think there’s much more I can do other than to make this choice. I choose to optimize for newer phones because I think that’s the best decision at the moment. There a small part of me that feels permanently defeated. In my heart, Joebar will be a failure because of this predicament and it’s taking everything in me to keep going. I am trying my best but I don’t think it’s good enough to make a decent game.

I will continue to update this website. Right now, sad to say I’m only 15 percent finished but since I’m finally passed the optimization hurdle (for the most part) I can continue making levels. I’m using Bluestacks to test my game on several devices outside of my phone. It looks good but those devices are all flagship phones. After all the missteps and issues, the best positive is that I’m happy that I finished the first Joebar Cafe. It took me several months to finish and I made a custom design pattern. Since I plan on making 54 main levels, there’s five more designs I need to create and make 3d models of those designs in blender. Hopefully that won’t take as much time as it took to make the first one, lol. I’m new to blender and I’m grateful to make this game because it forced me to work with this wonderful software. It’s a complicated beast that I was intimidated to touch before I started making Joebar but now… it’s still a beast but my eyes are open! My designs are coming alive with blender and it’s great! I’ll never be an expert with blender but it’s nice to get my feet wet, if you know what I mean.

I feel like making this game the way I see it in my head is close to impossible. I really hope I can execute the vision. I am struggling big time and feel very overwhelmed. I have to finish making this game for my dad. He’s the only reason why I haven’t completely given up. I know that I can’t give up even if it’s going to be a huge failure.

 

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