Windows Knightly Dream. My first game)

Hey guys! I’ve just posted a project that I can call a game and I am very excited about it)

In this post I just want to share my dev journey story with you and my thoughts on being an indie game dev from the perspective of a complete beginner.

First of all, I love games and being 33 y/o I still play games every day. Like a lot of people last year, I found myself stuck at home and I was able to partake in activities I usually don’t have time for or energy to concentrate on. One of those things was doing something with my gaming hobby but just playing games. The problem was that I have zero experience in programming/art/game design etc. Just a lot of experience playing all sorts of games.

So, I decided to purchase Game Maker Studio 2 and give it a try. The reason I chose GMS2 was simple – Yahtzee mentioned it in one of his YouTube Videos and recommended it. After that I spent several months trying to get my head around programming principles, learning gml, that thankfully is pretty easy to understand, and following just every tutorial I could find. And, honestly, I found that programming is a thing I greatly enjoy – it is like a puzzle game itself and I spent hours trying to solve problems and fixing bugs. The whole experience motivated me to try and learn other programming languages and see what I can do with that. By far the hardest thing about programming the game was AI. I understood that programming an AI that is even a bit smarter than “run to player, hit player” is a very complex task. I wanted to have an enemy that would chase you throughout a level, jumping from platform to platform analysing where you are and path finding its way to you. But the task is beyond my abilities and it was added to one more thing to learn)

The harder thing to get a grasp on was art. Like with programming, I started practicing, following tutorials and ended up with a bunch of hours in Aseprite. I went with low-def pixel art since it is the stuff I like – I love old NES, SNES games and modern stuff like Shovel Knight, so the choice was simple. And since there are not many pixels to work with, I found that it can be manageable for a newbie to work with 32*32 sprite resolution. And here I have an advantage because my wife is an actual artist and she helped me greatly with understanding colours, composition and shading. It was very easy for her to point out my numerous mistakes)

After getting some experience with programming and art I started experimenting and mostly adding or changing stuff in tutorials I was following, but at some point, I realised that it leads nowhere. So, in the end of December 2020 I decided to create something finished. I wanted to make a game that has a menu, some options, several levels, a boss, save/load system etc. It is always fun to create a concept, but I wanted to come up with a thing that I can call a game. So here is the result:

It took me about 6 months of on and off work and if we count learning I have 405 hours in GMS2 and 181 hours in Aseprite right now. While working on this small project I actually became more and more respectful of indie game devs and discovered a whole new world of What still kinda shocks me is that a solo dev needs to be everything in one. And I am not even talking about programming and art, I was surprised to find game design and level design is actually not easy at all. Despite playing a lot of platformers (I beat every 2d Metroid and Castlevania game for example) it was still not easy to come up with even the tiny levels that I have and make them all a little bit different from each other. If I start thinking about designing a metroidvania game I can’t even imagine the amount of work that you need to put into that kind of a map. Some things that I took for granted in a lot of games are actually a result of an incredible amount of work and it was a revelation.

Another thing that took me completely off guard is sound design and music. This is something I pay a lot of attention to when I am playing games, but how to make it or even find proper licensed music made by someone else was a challenge. There is also sound mixing, volume levels and other things that I know nothing about. When I started working on adding sound to the game, I found myself in a whole new sphere of confusing information and software that honestly, I had no passion to explore. Thankfully, I managed to find a person, Benjamin Burnes, whose music I could use for my game and thank gods for Bfxr that is a simple way to create 8-bit sound effects. Here I am actually very interested in how people solve this gigantic problem of making good sound for their games, because I would imagine that many indie devs don’t do it themselves and the only other way to do it properly as I see it is just spending a lot of money on it. But what if you are on a tight budget? I am still very much confused about that.

And finally, after the project is done there comes marketing, which is another thing a solo dev has to do. And this post is essentially a part of it for my game, because a project isn’t whole if it is not shown to people). Honestly, social media and internet marketing nowadays is a pit that I’ve never really jumped in. But I would be happy if some people play my game and tell me their opinion (also test it since no one but me played it). I totally realise that it is just another small game on itch, but it would be nice to hear opinions, including suggestions and criticism. I wanted the game to be simple and dynamic so while making it I cut a lot of features and ideas and I personally enjoy the result. But there is a thing that when you play a game too much you get used to it and stop noticing problems, so I would very much appreciate any response even if it is negative)

If we talk about plans for the future – I am not planning to stop developing the game. Since it is so modular, I want to add more worlds, more bosses and more enemies. When I was planning for the game I came up with a bunch of monsters and boss concepts that didn’t make it into this build, but I am still interested in making them something more than a concept and maybe someday I will be even good enough to add procedural generation and have limitless levels, but as with AI it is something for the future.
If you made it this far reading this – Thank you! I hope you download the game and play it)


Game Description
While you were resting in a forest the Dark Wizard put a curse on you trapping you in a nightmare.
Defeat all the evil creatures and your deepest fear, the Bane of the Forest, to wake up.

Or die trying...

Controls: (Controller or Keyboard)
Movement: Left stick/d-pad or arrow keys/wasd
Jump: A or Space
Attack: X or K
Down Attack: Down + X or Down + K
Dodge: B or L
Pause: Start or Esc

Controller is recommended!

Tl;dr I made the first game, please, play it)
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