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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsPlugging In Simulator [puzzle game about plugging stuff in] SUBMITTED UNFINISHED
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Author Topic: Plugging In Simulator [puzzle game about plugging stuff in] SUBMITTED UNFINISHED  (Read 270 times)
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« on: April 04, 2022, 11:24:03 AM »

GAME SUBMITTED [incomplete]! See update in most recent post for more info. Play it here: https://yousayrandy.itch.io/plugging-in-simulator

Plugging In Simulator
A Puzzle Game About Plugging Your Stuff In
Game Development Blog

Who am I?: My name is Randy, a hobbyist game developer. You can find my introductory post at: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=45.11660 I am not the most experienced of game developers, but I've dabbled enough to be able to (hopefully) complete this simple game I'm trying to make.

Why are you doing this?: Because I hate myself. Kidding! I love gaming, I've loved making them, and I want to keep doing it and get better at it. I am also fulfilling a promise to myself to complete a game jam every month for the year of 2022, and this game is April's contribution. I am documenting this process to help myself and others with the whole learning game development thing.

Game Outline, Day 1:

Preface: Plugging In Simulator is a game being developed for [bWeek Sauce Game Jam April 2022[/b] which you can find more info about here: https://itch.io/jam/weeksauce-4 The theme of the jam is "Pick a MUSICAL GROUP you like and TURN THEIR NAME INTO THE THEME of your game." That's kind of a lame theme, insofar as it's barely a theme because it could be literally anything, but I am using the band "AC/DC" for my theme. I have seven NON-CONSECUTIVE days (used however I want over the month of April) to complete the game and submit it to the submission page. Since I am mainly doing the conceptualization of the game right now, it is inevitable that a lot of the game that is described here will change during its development (hence this section outlined as "Game Outline, Day 1."

I have also began developing the game at the time of the writing just to see if I could pull it off.

Gameplay Summary: The game is a pretty generic puzzle game and can be explained pretty quickly. You are presented with wall power outlets and a certain number of plugs. Your objective to plug them all in. That's it. The challenge comes from figuring out which plugs to put in which outlets, because some plugs have dedicated polarity (positive/negative prongs) and power bricks that can block outlets. There will be outlet expanders (such as power strips) to help you, and some may even have rotatable outlets.

It's obvious how AC/DC led me to this concept, but the idea actually comes from real life, where I'm constantly trying to manipulate plugs to get them to fit into the smallest number of outlets possible. This came to a head when I was collecting retro game consoles, because they oftentimes had massive power bricks that took up 2-3 outlets by themselves. I became an expert at creatively overloading power strips and outlets by cramming plugs into places they didn't belong.

It's not a crazy ambitious game, but it's far out of my comfort zone and way different than anything I've done before, and that's the point. It will be mostly object manipulation with the mouse, and I want to be able to do that. It's also a game I feel I will be able to make in a short amount of time -- at least enough of one to get the point across. So, that's what I'm doing.

Player Experience Summary: A slightly relaxing game where you use trial-and-error to put all the plugs into the outlets.

Development: The game will be developed in Unity and coded in C#. A development log post will be posted at least daily (or, at least, there will be a blurb about each day I've worked on it in my posts). Work on the game will likely be limited due to the nature of my schedule (nights and weekends). I will have to look up several tutorials to get my desired features, but I do know enough to get started... and I have done so!

Aesthetics: Due to the nature of the game jam's time crunch (and my limited skillset), graphics will be intentionally minimalist. Likely high-contrasting colors, simple shapes. The audio will be very simple, likely sound effects I record with my microphone using my voice. Music will be public domain or license free or whatever the language is for "you can use this for free."

Prospective Development Priority List:

1. Conceptualize game (done!)
2. Develop foundational game mechanics using placeholder assets (outlets, plugs, being able to plug stuff in) -- This is kind of done, although it's wonky.
3. Develop gameplay assets, such as additional plugs, outlets, and levels)
4. Make as many levels as possible and make them as interesting as possible.
5. Implement more complete visual/audio assets
6. Playtest and bug fix
7. Polish
8. Submit Game

« Last Edit: April 28, 2022, 04:18:12 AM by yousayrandy » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2022, 04:26:33 AM »

Final Thoughts:
Without getting too deep into the details of my personal life, shortly after I concepted this game, I lost my job. Me and my whole family depended solely on my job, and it was a huge blow to us. Obviously, there are more important things than arbitrary challenges about completing a game jam once a month. Still, I wanted to submit something, so I chipped away at it in between job searches and other adult obligations, as well as the emotional stress.

I'm not entirely displeased with the direction it was going. The code started out rough, but I ended up starting basically from scratch and did it in a better way, and after I did that, I was able to get the game to the state it's in within a couple of hours. There's still one major bug, but it's playable and people can kind of get the idea. There's no music, and I would barely say there's any graphics, but it's a game I submitted that you can complete. By definition, I fulfilled my challenge's requirements for the month of April.

At the end of the day, the damage caused by the sudden loss of my job (and the fallout from it) made it very difficult to think about this game at all. I associated the creation of this game with an entirely different place I was in, and thinking about that place was definitely hurtful. I deemed it better for my health and well-being to just move on. I'm excited about what I'm going to make next and what I could learn from it. I'm also pretty okay that I was able to submit something, and I also learned a few things in the short time I worked on this game, so it wasn't a total loss.

If you feel like checking out the proof of concept, the link is up in the main post. Otherwise, thanks for bearing with me, and I'll see you for the month of May!


-Randy Fluharty, Creator of Plugging In Simulator

-Randy Fluharty, creator of Stress CUPacity
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