Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pyweek 9: Feather

Pyweek has, since I first heard about it, been one of things I've always wanted to have a stab at, but never got around to. For pweek 9, with the benefit of enthusiasm from fellow members of CTPUG, we managed to get an entry together. We ended up with a rather fun little strategy game (in my completely neutral and unbiased opinion, of course), called "Fox Assault".

The whole development experience was quite interesting - I'm still somewhat amazed on how quickly we seemed to hit a concept in the initial discussion and were able to just run with it. Based on this experience, and the momentum the initial concept discussions gave us, for any future team entries, having an initial in person discussion & planning session is will be most useful.

The pace of development was more than a bit breathless, and, on a couple of occasions, I watched a throw-away comment in the code suddenly arrive in the codebase turned into something awesome, which was quite gratifying.

The way the game took over my week was a little unexpected, and contributed to rather less sleep than was probably healthy (the VTES social and a C. J. Cherryh novel didn't help this either). Some of other events of the week really quite surprised me, such as #ctpug suddenly becoming our personal source of additional testers.

Our one major error was not looking taking more time to familiarise ourselves with pygame and the available support libraries more beforehand. We chose to use Phil's pyGame Utilities almost on a whim, and, while it helped a great deal in providing several useful framework tools, and did save us quite a lot of time initially, it also forced several compromises and hacks onto us, partly due to design decisions taken by pgu, and partly due the time pressure favouring "It works, that's good enough" over pretty much anything else.

Overall, the whole experience was simply gosh-darn FUN, and while I would like to see our game score well, I'm overall really not bothered about that, since I know it's quite cool. I'd certainly like to do this again, although I'll probably try and plan to have a day's leave towards the end of the week for the next one.

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