For today's Gamasutra feature
, we present a postmortem for Scary Fish Ltd.'s FishEd
, a custom-built Blitz+ 2D map editing suite that aimed to be an "intuitive, user-friendly experience... not a programmer-centric tool."
In his intro, FishEd
creator and veteran Commodore 64 programmer Andy Roberts describes the need for a tool like FishEd and hints at the 'nightmare' ahead:
"In August of  I began learning the Blitz+ programming language, the aim being to produce a PC version of a classic Commodore 64 favorite of mine. I needed to re-invent my love of games from the inside-out, and this seemed like the best way forward; I would have complete control over every aspect of the project, and the ability to dictate exactly when the project should be released. The indie scene is increasingly overlooked by the industry it once spawned. I guess I just wanted to redress the balance.
During the research phase, it rapidly became clear that I'd need a map editor of sorts to put the levels together. However, having spent days scouring the internet for likely candidates it became clear that there wasn’t a single worthy contender. Ironically, the community forums were full of would-be programmers who’d also started writing their own editor, but most were only half-finished and thus fell woefully short of the mark.
It became apparent that the next generation of bedroom coders all went through the same process, that of re-inventing the wheel, creating half-baked editors instead of their magnum opus. The ratio of programmers versus the number of games being produced was (and still is) completely unbalanced, and the toolsets on offer to 2D game developers are exceedingly thin on the ground.
My motivation was therefore two-pronged; I could produce a comprehensive map editor so that the indie community could focus on making their games, and during the process I could learn the Blitz+ language, an invaluable primer for the skills I’d need to produce my up-and-coming game.
Plus, I’d never worked on a Windows application or an editor before. “Hey, this could be fun,” I thought, blissfully unaware of the nightmare/adventure that lay ahead. And thus I began working on "FishEd"."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic
, including the joy at choosing the right language for the job, and the later agony at having chosen the wrong language for the job (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).