Midnight Flash Game Design #4: The Cold, Clammy Grip Of Reality

Well, my plans for working an hour a night on a game in June were completely thwarted by reality.  After 3 days of development, a friend of Jeff and mine requested help to finish a project.  We spent nearly 7 days helping to build this game for the Bridezillas TV show.   We only worked for about 54 hours programming and debugging, but that was spread over a week, and with that development, and the ensuing issues with my family afterwards (“you spent the whole weekend working on that game!”) I lost nearly 2 weeks of development time for Fireworks Blast Challenge.  

This is the reality of Midnight Game Development.  When you give yourself such a slim margin for error (27 hours in 27 days), anything that gets in the way has the potential to be ruinous.  Right now, on June 28th, with 3 days to go, I have only spent 6 hours working on Fireworks Blast Challenge in the month of June.  My dream of having a fun game completed by the 1st of July, that could become viral by the 4th, is almost completely destroyed.  However, I’m still pushing to get something done.

In this build I have added the edited music loop (taken from the public domain music source I mentioned a previous entry) , added fancy background graphics for the night-time (modified from some royalty-free photographs), added a scoreboard, and limited the firing of Red,White and Blue shells to the [z][x][c] keys respectively.

You can play a demo of this build of Fireworks Blast Challenge here.

I’m now working on the next build that will turn this thing into a real game.  The reality of this has also hit me pretty hard.  Some of the issues I’ve discovered are:

1. Shooting as many fireworks as possible is fun, trying to hit targets turns the game into a sub-par “Missile Command”

2. The keyboard+mouse controls seem to work, but are difficult to learn.  Adding mouse control turns the game into “Whack-A-Mole”, which is something I’m desperately trying to avoid.

3. I want to have some “background” fireworks going off, timed to the music loop.  To do this dynamically, it would require some kind of real-time audio spectrum analysis.   This is not possible in Flash 8/AS2, but it is a feature of the Sound object in Flash 9/AS3.   However, if I re-do the game in Flash 9, I will be set-back even further.

So there you go.  I don’t feel like a failure.  I just feel like a victim of reality.  The month is not up yet though, and if I give myself until July 3rd, I still have a chance to create a working, viral game.   The next week will be very interesting for me.

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