three years of gamedev

Saturday, October 30th, 2021
by tyler
what have I been doing for three years?

I just finished my tenth game, which was also my first done outside the confines of a game jam. It has over 10,000 views right now (thanks to Newgrounds), which is higher than all of my other games combined. sling 2, my favorite and what I think is my best, has under 1000 views on Itch and Newgrounds. All of my projects have been small, and while I'm going to keep doing jams, I am looking forward to some larger projects this year and next.

play panic on newgrounds

play panic here


Three years ago on November 1st I started my first game jam which led to my first finished game; rise. It is pretty hard and not very good, but I was able to finish a game in a month with multiple levels, multiple features and did all of the art, music and gameplay coding myself. I've done that jam a few years in a row now, and it starts on Monday. I'm not sure if I will be participating. On one hand it is good exposure and I can polish a small game pretty well in a month, but I am also devoting a month to a game that could be spent working on something larger.

Changing technologies

Most of my first games were made with Phaser, which I chose because of my couple years of experience in web development with javascript. I tried writing in C# with Monogame because of Celeste, Stardew Valley and others made with that (or XNA), but I ran into many roadblocks. I started dipping my toes into HaxeFlixel, but didn't finish anything with it until a year ago with the completion of nite, a weird platformer about jumping into people's minds that will hopefully get a spiritual successor someday. Some of Haxeflixel is written by Richard Davey, who created Phaser. This similar-looking API made picking up the library much easier for me.

my favorite game of mine, sling 2

my favorite, sling 2


I made a game called current for my first Ludum Dare. I finished in the top 1%! A couple people put it on their blogs, some of which were in Japanese. Very cool. I started making rhythm prototypes around this time. Bobby Burt of High School Bathroom Simulator fame suggested I put my games on Newgrounds as they would get more views and appreciation there. The success of Friday Night Funkin' encouraged me to finish some rhythm games. I made burgerline in two days and panic lazily over two months.

my first Ludum Dare game, current

my first Ludum Dare game, current

three years later

I am much more comfortable making games than I was three years ago. My design sense is stronger, I understand better what players want, and my games are becoming more cohesive. Haxeflixel now feels like a creative extension of my body rather than an obtrusive tool. However, I am forever learning. My design, code, music and especially my graphics can greatly improve. I want and need to focus more on playtesting, accessibility and marketing myself along with my games and skills.

In honor of three years making games, here's some advice to myself when I started:

I'm finally in a place with my skills where I can start making the things I really want. Here's to 3 more.

Tags: dev  gamedev  blog