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I took a screenshot every time I compiled and ran the game while developing, two years plus of development screenshots condensed into a 5 minute animation.

Nick Donnelly, Blogger

July 20, 2015

2 Min Read

I sometimes like to find early screenshots of a game I’ve worked on to see how much everything changed during development.  It can even be quite motivational too - if you are in the last stages of game creation, and progress is feeling like a grind, taking a look back at everything you have accomplished so far is a great way to spur you on.

When I started working on The Dungeoning, it was my first Java programming project, and I especially wanted to document the game with screenshots from the very start.  In fact, one of the first things I added to the game, after getting a sprite displaying on screen, was a facility that would automatically save a screenshot when I exited the game.  Looking back, this was especially important to me, as the very first screenshots show the very first placeholder graphics, the first sprites and level tiles.

If you watch the video below, you’ll see the whole two years plus of development condensed into a 5 minute animation.  I’ve added some annotations to the video to explain whats happening at certain points.  The video is comprised of 3045 frames, I used a version of Windows Movie Maker to compile the animation and add annotations and music from the game.

The video shows a game growing and evolving from a handful of hastily drawn test graphics to a fully realised game.  Along the way you can clearly see where I figured out how to implement a new technique, From displaying one texture, then a whole screen of tiles. Basic character movement, scrolling, lighting, collision, entities and projectiles, particle effects.

At a certain point I realised there might be a better way to trigger the screenshot capturing. And I came up with the idea to have a countdown timer set to a random value between 30 seconds and 1 minute.  When the timer reaches zero a screenshot was taken, then the timer was randomised again.  If there had been no controller input since the last screenshot, the system would skip the saving part so as to not take similar pictures when I left the game running.  This random timer idea is something I would do again, as I was able to sift through the screenshots that were saved while doing final game testing and find interesting shots to use on the Steam store and to send to press.  It’s quite hard to take a good screenshot while playing, and after gathering enough of the randomly taken ones, there were plenty of decent shots to use.

Anyway, here is the video, I’ll be happy to answer any questions on it as best I can!


Nick Donnelly

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