Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My First Game: Capture The Frog

Capture The Frog Screenshot
Low-quality screenshot of the finished thing (which can be played here (Newgrounds) or here (Kongregate)). Read the post to learn more! Maybe!

Ever since high school, I've had an idea for a certain game bouncing about in my head. Granted, it's nothing at all special or new; the programming class I took in high school required that we make a game using the programming language we were learning (Turing, in this case). The game I attempted to make was "Capture The Frog", a mix of Frogger and Capture the Flag. Each player was a frog on opposite sides of a highway and river, and each player had to get to the other player's starting point, grab the flag, and head back to its own starting point to get a point. With Turing at the time, I managed to get the player control working, the highway's cars and river's logs moving, and the scoring system working, but the collision was always a hassle. Collisions for everything but the river worked; even if a player jumped on a log, the game would count it as a death. It was something I was never able to fix in the class, so I submitted what I had, and moved on.

The end of 2009 and my first term in college, though, brought this little experiment back into mind. I had just been taught the bare essentials of Adobe Flash CS4's ActionScript 3, and alongside my introductory knowledge of C++ programming from my one-year stint in university, I felt confident that I could slap together my first honest-to-goodness game (with a menu and everything) during the break between terms. When deciding what to make it about, Capture The Frog instantly shot into my mind since I could never get it fully working. It would be killing two birds with one stone; finally closing the book on that old game, and making my first real game (which would also be my first Flash game).

I made good progress during the break, but development time went into the start of 2010 and my second term as well. This was mainly due to feature creep; the initial Turing game was a two player competitive game, but I had decided that this version would have the option of a computer-controlled player 2 as well. I also decided to add sound/music and a timer. Additionally, I came into contact with the website of one of my professors – Ryan Creighton of Untold Entertainment Inc. – and while browsing through found an interesting series of posts about monetizing a Flash game (Pimp My Game). This inspired me to add MochiMedia ads to my game even though I knew I would make next to nothing (if not purely nothing). By the time I was done with all of this, it was coming close to February, so I made a deal with myself that February first would be my release date.

Oh how I was punished for my hubris.

The weekend before February first, my computer decides to barf up some blue screens. This almost derailed everything, but after taking the weekend to figure things out, I managed to salvage my laptop and submit my game to various places on the planned date.

Bullet == dodged.

So the game is now online at Newgrounds (game is here) and Kongregate (game is here). I have also submitted it to MindJolt and am awaiting to see if they deem it worthy of hosting (I will update this with a link if it works out) (*EDIT* MindJolt didn't accept my application. Oh well. *END EDIT*).

And thus, after all these years, Capture The Frog finally makes its way into a working version. This humbly begins my game-making career, and I am excited. Yes, this game is pretty crappy (hell, it doesn't even use classes) and more of an experiment in making a game than anything else, but it's there.

Play it, enjoy, and drop some feedback if you want. In the meantime, I must work on my various assignments for this second term. One of those assignments is another Flash game, so expect to see that April-ish (I think that's when the term ends).

So yeah. Once again, the game can be found here or here (so far). Woooo.

(SIDENOTE: I also made a Tenacious D Flash animation a while back that I have not mentioned as of yet. It can be found here.)

I whipped together a gameplay video. Here it is:

(Direct YouTube Link)