Matthew Gatland


May 14, 2013

I said I’d release a game by Friday. I said that to put pressure on myself, and it worked a little bit too well.

On Thursday, I stayed up till 4 AM trying to finish.

On Friday, I decided to delay the release until Sunday.

I was busy doing other things over the weekend, which was probably for the best.

By Monday night, I had found peace within myself. I built a release, called it version 0.1 and put it online. You can download it right now from the Skate page.

OK, talk about the game

It’s a skating game.

It has a 3D character, rigged and animated, which are all firsts for me. I enjoyed the 3D work.

I spent a lot of time on making the character move right and feel right – for example, tweaking the running, jumping and landing animations.

Focussing on the second-to-second feel of the game was a change from my usual games, which are more about following the story, earning points or other medium-term concerns.

Room for improvement

Everything in the game is rough and unfinished. The character, animation, level design, physics…

The biggest problem is (very mild spoiler) the collectable items. They were added right at the end and they need another iteration.

Firstly, they’re too small. It’s hard to pick them up unless you slow down, and encouraging the player to slow down is not appropriate for a game that’s meant to be about the joy of going fast.

It’s also hard to tell whether or not you have collected one, unless you’re standing still when you do. The whole design needs to be changed to work better when the player is moving quickly.

The other biggest problem is the map, which has large, uninteresting areas and is too easy to get lost in.

What’s next?

I would love to spend another week (or month) on Skate, but rules are rules – I’ll start a new one-week game tomorrow.

As a proof-of-concept, Skate proves a concept: It’s a game about going fast and having fun. One day, when I have some time, I’ll come back and make it better.

A lesson learned about me: Deadlines are dangerous. I stayed up late on Thursday night, trying to finish; my sleep patterns still haven’t returned to normal.

If I’m going to do this week after week, I need to be better at living a normal life, working at a constant, safe, steady pace. I need to be awake during the day to buy coffee and see the sun.