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[DevLog] My Dreams Suck

A topic by qbradq created Jul 22, 2017 Views: 420 Replies: 17
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My Dreams Suck is a 2D horizontal shoot-em-up in which I explore the contents of my dreams. I struggle with depression, anxiety, and repressed emotions. I started designing this just after suffering a concussion. I think it shows.

Progress: Day 1

After a day's work with plenty of breaks - due to the concussion I am still recovering from - I have a functional h-shmup engine up and running in GameMaker Studio 2 using hand-keyed data for the levels. Unfortunately I've hit the free trial's limit of 10 scripts - GameMaker's term for functions - and I am a bit bummed. I won't be able to buy a license until Thursday. That's OK though, there's more to work on in the meanwhile. Plus I can only put in long hours on the weekend.

Today I learned to trust myself to make pixel art. Sure it's not the best in the world. And the subject matter is very literal in some cases. But I am very pleased with what I've come up with on a first attempt. And the background is all parallaxy :)

This experience has already been very cathartic on an emotional level. I am excited to see where the journey takes me next!

Wait, is that a brain firing text? So the text has a hitbox and that's what you're using to fend off the flying invaders enemies cigarettes? That's an interesting take on the shmup genre. Is it continuous or just one phrase at a time? Do you intend to have it bend as you fire?

Your pixel art is pretty good. Everything is distinguishable and the way you simulated lighting works great.

Thanks for the input! It's basically a shmup with letters for the player's bullets. Rather than random letters there are a number of pre-programmed phrases. Each phrase comes out last character to first so it is readable on the screen as it moves left-to-right. A slight variation on the speed of the letters as well as a different primary color combination is selected for each phrase to help it stand out among the word soup. The letters do follow the player (brain) as it moves, and when the player stops and resumes firing the letters stop and resume mid-phrase.

Thank you for your kind words about my art. I've always told myself I couldn't do game art. This jam has really helped me find my groove!

Dude this art is great! I just love how simple it is, and that moon is perfect, as well as the talking brain thing. It's all so interesting :D

Thank you for your kind words Kindaw!

Progress: Day 2

Today I did a lot of refactoring. First to take advantage of GMS 2's object inheritance system for code reuse. Then as a way to reduce the total number of resources so I can make more progress before buying a license. I also added player feedback in the form of sounds, visual cues, and animations. I was unable to work very much today as I needed lots of rest from the head injury. I won't be able to work a lot on it over the week as I have a demanding job. I hope I can finish off the first level next weekend. I think I will stick to a single level.

It looked like the brain was eating things Kirby style. Not sure if that's what you intended but I found it funny.

The player feedback looks and sounds great. All you need now is a catchy tune so you can get it stuck in our heads forever.

Thank you again for the feedback FrowningAsinus. I don't think I will be composing anything for this particular jam. I am capable of it but am very slow and only know tools for the NES platform. Maybe for My First Game Jam Winter 2017 my first will be learning FM composition software :)

I've seen the Godot Engine mentioned time and again. I finally googled it and am very impressed. I am a fan and supporter of Open Source Software and it seems way less technically restricted than GMS 2 in terms of the scripting language. I did not have any firm goal for the weekdays set. Now I think I will try to convert my existing project over to Godot Engine. If I can get that done by Thursday night I will not have lost any time on my jam plan. If I do not get that done then we'll see.

I really like the trees

Thank you for your support Angevon!

Progress: Day 3

Today work advised that I take additional leave based on conversations we had. I'll be out of work until at least Wednesday. At least it means I'll have more time to work on the jam :) Today I worked through all the Godot tutorials and moved all my assets over from GMS 2 into a Godot project. I also got up and running with the last open-source version of Aesprite. I am really digging the new tool set and think I will be able to make the games I want to with Godot. On Thursday I'll be using the money I had ear-marked for a GMS 2 license for an Aesprite license.

My goal for tomorrow is to have a basic scene working in Godot with my brain moving around and shooting letters against the parallax background. I think if I can get that far I'll be in good shape to hit my larger goal of feature parody with the GMS 2 project by end of day Thursday.

Thanks for the support Giant Gough! Yea it does have a lot of meaning in it for me. Unfortunately the game play is very lack luster. Normally I would consider this a problem but the goals I have for the jam are not to make a good game. I am trying to build my self confidence and skill set. I'll start on a game I intend to be good after this one :)

Progress: Day 4

I hit my goals for today and even got working enemies, collision detection, and response! However I spoke with my doctor today who was very adamant that I have to limit my time looking at any screen or reading anything for the next several days. So progress should be about the same pace I originally thought it would be even though I'm on leave from work. When working full time I only get maybe an hour or two a day to work on personal projects. That's what I'm limited to now :(

Tomorrow I want to get the second enemy type working again and the UI. Thursday will be level layout day.

It doesn't look much different. But now it's in Godot :)

OH wow, I really love how the bullets come out as phrases! There's so much narrative potential in that game mechanic :0 I'm looking forward to seeing more of this!


Your pixel art is great! And I love the idea of a shmup where you fire words instead of bullets. Like NNChan said, lots of storytelling potential there.

Wow! I remember making a shmup in C++ and SDL something like 7 or 8 years ago now and getting close to where you are now took me about a month! So, yeah, definitely don't feel pressured to work more than your recovery allows - it's looking great so far!

Thank you all for your support and kind words! I am so thankful for the community of this jam. You all have really helped me find the joy and creative outlet of game making.

Progress: Day 5

Today I made very rapid progress. I think I understand the architecture of Godot well now and do not have to reference tutorials and Q&A posts to get things done. And the rework due to learning is almost gone now. I am also very comfortable with Aesprite now and can crank out the graphics.

Today I added the in-game UI and added an auto-charging "crash" attack type to complement the shouting. I couldn't come up with an idea that fit the theme so it's rainbow colored generic space shooter junk. If anyone has ideas for what this larger attack could be that would fit with the theme of my inner self battling against my own dreams please leave a comment!


I had to stop working on the game to let my concussion heal, which it has. At this point I do not think I can make a complete game for the jam due to work. So I am going to have to bow out. This has been a great learning experiance and I thank each of you for the support and encouragement you have given. I am already thinking about what to do next :)


You may not have been able to finish a game, but you still made some great progress. Good luck with whatever you do next!

Thank you so much! You have all been so supportive. This has truly been the best game development experiance I've had.