The Experience of making a Multiplayer Sandbox Game

I've been making a game for the past few weeks, and the experience is amazing.

I'm no stranger to making games, of course. I've posted about my other work basically everywhere except here. But I don't think I've enjoyed it this much since I made my first project in Gamemaker 8. Since then it feels like it's been a downward spiral. Every project I did felt less satisfying than the one before, resulting in me getting burnt out quicker and quicker. Since Gamemaker, shifted from one development I didn't like to the next, never finding something that felt right.

Gamemaker was a special experience. It's objectively terrible, lacking common OOP standards and having a terrible user interface (even in the newest version, fight me.) But what made it fun was how easy it was, the more I used it though, the more it's issues bit into me, and jaded my point of view. I eventually felt like I needed to completely move on from Gamemaker, and I made a promise to myself to not go back to it.

But it wasn't better. Every other framework or engine that I used was either way too pandering and simple (Unity, Unreal), or way to down low (LibGDX, LWJGL.) But I kept pushing myself away from Gamemaker because it felt like a step down, and eventually I got so burnt out that I took a break from game development completely. And then I found Phaser.

Phaser is this amazing, Open Source game "engine" running on top of Javascript that is super versatile and easy to use. (I put "engine" in quotes because it's more of a framework, it's very low down, Javascript-wise.) It can only do 2D rendering, but that's all I wanted for my project. The only limitation with Phaser, as far as I'm concerned, is the lack of proper documentation, and inconsistent functionality. If you're in to Phaser Development, you know what I'm talking about. But as soon as I used it, that fire was back. I knew it was time to start my game.

Here are some screenshots of the game from a few days ago:

Debug Squares

Debug Squares

A random placement of debug tiles I made.

Gateway

Gateway

A gateway to another realm! Or nothing, I guess.

Graffiti 1

Graffiti 1

A block placement fight I had with one of my friends.

Who are you

Who are you!?

Asking the questions which have to be answered. I was trying to identify which friend was piloting the character on top of the stairs.

CS

CS

The friend identifying himself using blocks, because there's no usernames yet.

Graffiti

Graffiti 2

Some grafitti.

I won't go to far into the game development process, because the game isn't anywhere near completion. I'm really in the beginning steps here. But something awesome happened yesterday that I need to talk about. The game has a functioning server backend which is running on a VPS of mine, which means that anyone can connect if they know where the game is hosted. I showed a few of my friends the game that morning, and then I left for school. When I came back I found that they had built tons of stuff, even with my ridiculously limited mechanics. Some of them didn't even know there were more tiles than just dirt!

That shocked me. Everyone who's made anything creative before knows the empty 'Oh, cool' response from uninterested friends, and before now that's all I got. Usually it means that what you made isn't actually that engaging or interesting. But to give someone a stripped down, unfinished, objectively bad version of you work and to have them play it long enough to leave a graveyard of creations in your map shows something else. It shows that they actually like it.

So without further ado, here are some things that I found when I got home from school:

Tank

Tank

A tank! It actually looks decent, even with my incredibly limited tileset. I have to commend the person who made this for their creativity.

Clawed Hand

Clawed Hand

This clawed hand was the first thing I saw when coming back to my computer.

Fighting

Fighting

A stickman fight scene.

Arc

Arc

A sort of halo/arc. A player is meant to stand in the middle. This was one of the creations where the person didn't know there was multiple tile types.

Discord Logo

Discord Logo

What would a group of friends who I met on Discord's creations be without the logo of the software I met them with in it?

Browsers

Browsers

The logos of Firefox and Chrome. Two browsers which we were testing performance on.

Welcome Platform

Welcome Platform

A partially griefed welcome platform which was built below the world spawnpoint.

Tongue

Tongue

...Gross...

Face 1

Face

A face!

Face 2

Another Face

What it says on the tin.

Something...

Something...

I'm not really sure.

I wanted to share these creations, because they're awesome. So there you go.

May 23rd 2018