Game Idea and Motivation

I mentioned in a previous post about exploring PyGame because I want to write a wargame in Python. I’ve had the idea floating around for a while and even wrote a whole load of story cards and some quick and dirty Python code to make a start. The main issues have been time and motivation. Time was, and still is, limited and my motivation was poor when I made my initial stab.

One big problem I have is that I’m very much a a daytime coder. When I get back home in the evening, I’m not a late night coder – it’s not my peak mental time and code I’ve written late at night often shows. I’d rather get up early morning and write code. I always used to joke that my peak time was 8:30am to 10:30am, but it’s partially true. I just feel fresher and more focused during the day. At weekends, other commitments eat heavily into my time which takes its toll on when I can code and how motivated I am.

But I really need to make progress.

After the hassles of a recent house move and the festive season, and a relentless deluge of projects at work, I really need to do something fun and interesting. I really want to get my game idea coded and released as an open source project, in the hope it is of use and interest to others. But I need to do at least the bulk of it myself first, for my own personal reasons.

I’ve decided to start from scratch, well mostly. None of that horrible old code, none of those story cards. A fresh start, using the ideas I’ve had sloshing around my brain for the last couple of years. The lack of time and frequent lack of energy is going to be focused into a positive thing: an incentive to keep things simple, concentrate on little tasks, set regular milestones to keep things progressing.

I’m not going to go into too much detail at the moment, but maybe I will in future posts. It’ll probably be easy to guess though. The setting is a historical conflict of the 20th Century, and the game will follow a broadly historical chronology with potential for divergence. It’s not intended to be an accurate simulation, but give a flavour of various aspects of the conflict. It will be aimed at solitaire play and the game should be hackable and, hopefully, flexible enough for people to adapt.

There are a few broad areas of the gameplay to deal with. The historical arrival and departure of forces, which will be affected by player decisions and external influences, will form my first major goal – since I have already assembled some data and even wrote a prototype last year. Unit deployment and movement will form the next major area and follows on from the arrival and departure of forces. This will include rendering of the game map, units and fog-of-war. After that is the handling of combat and other actions, including the effects of morale, experience, fatigue and supply. Finally will be the effects of politics, public opinion and events – both historical and non-historical. You get the idea.

I’ll post up my experiences as I code the game: to consolidate my own learning experience, gather feedback and hopefully offer some hints and tips for others working on similar projects.

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