Over our many lockdowns, I’ve been learning C++ and video game development. I’m not sure if I’m creating something enjoyable or even playable but I’m having fun. The bugs I leave in my regular projects usually reveal themselves in logs and error codes. Bugs in a video game result in heads leaving bodies and slowly shuffling offscreen, animals turning inside-out, and (at least in my game) spontaneous frame-rate-tanking orgies. I’m laughing a lot even if no-one ever plays this.

I wrote the first version of the game in Godot. It was spectacularly easy to get started and I soon had completed my first goal of a randomly generated creature:

(I love him and he remains my desktop wallpaper to this day).

It soon became clear that I had set my sights on something horrendously complicated and I was struggling to make that work with Godot. It’s brilliant, do not get me wrong, but it may not be the best option for a code-heavy simulation game. I had also read that it’s a good idea to rewrite a game from scratch once the basics are in place so I decided to do that, just in another language and framework.

As I’m writing this on my lil 12” Macbook but am aware that most folks playing games do so on Windows, I looked for something cross-platform. I settled on C++, the SDL framework, and XCode as my IDE. Lazyfoo.net’s SDL tutorials were rather necessary to get me started.

Over a year I’ve built an engine, named Flower 🌺, that includes a little 2D texture generator, an audio synthesiser, and many features geared towards a pixel-art simulation game. The game itself is now playable and I’m working on refining the basic gameplay before I start adding game-progression and story elements.

There’s two videos on my YouTube channel where I talk about the game at some early stages: Introduction and Second update. I should create another soon!