This is a follow up to the personal challenge I set for myself this month where I had to make 5 HTML5 games in 5 days. I’ve been meaning to post about the 555 challenge earlier but my site was being transitioned to new hosting.
So, how did it go? Well, to be honest, not as well as I’d hoped. I thought I had chosen the perfect week to attempt this challenge but it quickly turned into one of my most hectic weeks ever. I’m currently in the process of moving houses and my taxes are due (for the first time) – both of these distractions messed up the first two days of the challenge, leaving me with only a few hours per day to work.
Day one started poorly. DropBox failed on me due to an OS update, and then I decided to update my template engine which was long-overdue. Later I went to some tedious meetings, arriving back home at around 5pm feeling quite exhausted.
I finished my first game early into the second day so I’d already broken my own rules. Naturally, I wasn’t going to quit the challenge despite the fact that I’d already failed it…but I was off to an awful start.
The first game did actually turn out well, though. It’s called Neon Challenge and is a variant of the classic Noughts & Crosses. The goal with this HTML5 game was to take an extremely simple concept and try and make it appealing. The visuals turned out nicely and I added a challenge by making each turn time-limited. The player only has three seconds to make their move.
The AI was the only complicated part, but even that was fairly simplistic. I coded perfect AI then added flaws to it manually. This gave the computer opponent some realism and made it easier for the player to win. Even though it’s an obviously simplistic game I really like how Neon Challenge turned out. I’m not entirely certain if my publishers will want it yet – only time will tell.
My next HTML5 game was called Seasonal Breakout and it also took two days to complete. I had never coded a breakout game before and didn’t think I ever would, so there were some interesting obstacles to overcome with this project. I gave the game a seasonal theme, multiple level variations, and a decent difficulty curve.
When I went to ship this game to my publishers a few days later I decided that it could benefit from some more attention. The mechanics are there but it’s just not quite “fun” enough…so I plan to revisit this project soon and add some variation to the gameplay before sending it on its way.
On the final day of the challenge I was disappointed that I’d only managed to create two games. While I was pleased with how they turned out I had expected more from myself. Aside from the set-backs caused by real life I had taken the wrong approach to the challenge…I was trying to create quality, completed games that I knew would be good enough for publishing instead of experimenting with basic prototypes.
The last game I worked on was never completed and was far too rushed to be worth showing or continuing work on.
Despite my failure to actually complete it, the 555 challenge did exactly what it was meant to: it tested my design skills and my attention span. I ended up with two new games that I’m proud of and got the chance interact with some other developers that joined in on Twitter.
After all is said and done, I’m glad I attempted this challenge. It was a great distraction from my usual routine and really motivated me to create some new content. What more can I ask for?