Chip – Conception to The Public Release

Sometime in 2010 a professor recommended I look into the Flixel library for Flash when I expressed to him both my interest in making a game and my complete lack of technical skills. I had almost no programming experience whatsoever.

However, given that piece of advice I decided to dive in. Below is a quick overview of the process that ensued before I ended up with this game Chip that I recently “released.”

After installing FlashBuilder (as I work on a Mac this was my only option), I started with the Flixel Hello World tutorial. This great resource talks you through setting up your Flixel Project for the first time, which can be overly intimidating due to small annoyances such as the need for a blank Default.css file and the additional compiler arguments you need to go with it in order to get the Flixel Preloader to run. (This may be fixed in a new version, but I still use flixel 2.34).

After that, I had no concrete idea for a game, but figured a 2D platformer would be a good learning exercise given the resources available to me. I read through and followed along with these two tutorials:

http://chipacabra.blogspot.com/2010/12/project-jumper-part-1.html

http://www.zoklet.net/bbs/showthread.php?t=140683

Both were fantastic, but again, may be slightly out of date now with newer versions of Flixel. At this point I, like Chipacabra, had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand the code I was frankensteining together, but slowly I would play around with variables, parameters, graphics, etc, until it started to feel like mine.

Eventually I tweaked the enemy A.I. enough to the point where I had this weird robotic, slow enemy that trailed the player around. Some more tuning of the physics enabled this sort of fun “Make your avatar avoid the enemy for as long as possible” type play, that soon became, “lead the enemy to a certain spot without letting him catch you.”

The rest was months and months of learning what my code was actually doing, learning how to use the Deadly Alien Map Editor to create levels, and all of that other miscellaneous knowledge that the Flixel forums provided me with.

Unfortunately a bit of game design and polish fell by the wayside, and this first passion project of mine lapsed into an idle state on my computer while I moved onto other prototypes and full time design jobs, a trend that seems all too common among other indie developers.

Almost a year and a half passed since I stopped working on the game. A few weeks ago, however, I got bored. After a bit of research into potential release avenues, I decided I didn’t care about (or expect to make any) money, and thought I’d just put it up somewhere public just for my own sanity’s sake. So while unpolished and full of unexplored potential, the game that came to be known as Chip is a relatively complete experience, and you can play it here:

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