Game development is fun. There’s programming, design, testing and just plain good old silliness. Here’s a brief snapshot - a retelling of what I did this weekend!
I was putting in a few extra hours on Minecraft this weekend, refactoring code so biomes could directly decorate the terrain themselves rather than having the terrain check the biomes manually. That type of work is mostly just busy work, so it wasn’t very interesting from a design perspective, but it was very rewarding form a programming perspective. Things were starting to fall into place, and biomes became much “cleaner”.
One of the results of that was the first draft of a swamp biome, which I posted a screenshot of. I got crazy amounts of great feedback on how to make it look swampier (it kinda looks like a happy grove at the moment), and almost all of them are entirely doable by only changing the SwampBiome.java class. Feels good!
While testing the biome code, I started running out of food in the game and started hunting animals. Cows would just stand there, looking at me as I mashed them over and over to get their precious loot, so I figured I’d just make that mechanic a bit more fun. Four lines of code later, and animals now flee randomly after taking damage. Hunting animals suddenly became a lot more fun and morally questionable as pigs would storm off grunting and chicken (or whatever the heck they are) would jump into ravines. But the real fun came later on.
Someone tweeted me about a joking campaign to add 3d modeled snouts to the pigs in Minecraft, so I did. While doing so, I groaned at how the Cube class has an “addBox” method that actually means “replaceBox”, and how it really should be a “Shape” class with an “addBox” method that actually does what it says. Right now every box in a model has to be individually animated to match the part it’s attached to, and there’s no grouping or hierarcy. This is the reason why the horns on the cows are in the wrong location sometimes. I didn’t fix the code for this, as I was running out of weekend, but I made a mental note to fix it asap.
Reddit loved my pic of a pig with a 3d snout. I got sooo much precious link karma.
Back to doing some further testing. I was exploring a forest biome, hit upon a river cutting through it, and walked over a small hill. On the other side, a wolf was chasing a sheep, but the sheep was running away. I didn’t have this in mind when I wrote the code to make mobs flee, but it ended up giving me an unexpected experience of having some kind of echo system of competing behaviors in various animals, and it just felt.. nice. It made me realize we should explore more mob to mob interactions, and have more chaotic competing behavior.
I’m doing a high priority secret project this week (a prototype for a future possible project), but I already have at least three things I want to work on as soon as I get back on Minecraft work next week.
The reason it’s still fun is you. The community. Thank you. <3