The game is a Zelda-inspired, first person, 2.5D dungeon crawler written in Java.
1) He first built a robust engine, very powerful from a game developing standpoint. Building the various types of blocks (walls/grounds/objects) and entities (player/ennemies/bullets/boulders) needed remarkably little code afterwards.
2) He used Paint.NET as a level editor, and color-coded the blocks and entities. He used the alpha channel to identify the switches, the doors, the ladders and the ennemies (from 255 downwards). Doors and switches are automatically linked by id. This allows to put all the level design logic on the map.
3) The most important: short iterations. He spent more time play testing the game than writing it, systematically retesting the old stuff when he introduced a new feature, or even after changing a detail.
4) He's sharp, knows his tools, edits the code very fast and makes few mistakes. He also has a lot of experience, which allowed him to make good initial decisions that facilitated the development process.
Java+Eclipse turns out to be an excellent platform for writing games.
While it doesn't have a REPL, its debugger allows to patch the code while it is running, offering a very dynamic environment, especially to tweak the gameplay. It felt very lightweight. I wonder if the other JVM languages have similar debugging facilities.
The simplicity of the language makes the code easy to read and modify (provided you have a sound initial code base). Once you get used to it, the boilerplate becomes transparent (like the parentheses in Lisp).
The refactoring abilities of Eclipse are excellent.
The speed of the JVM allows to write fast low level code, and its object system make it straightforward to organise the high level logic.
All textures are drawn in 4 shades of gray, then colored when they are loaded. It allows to reuse the wall textures for all levels, and to differentiate the bosses from the normal ennemies, at no cost, etc.
His playsound function creates a new thread every time it is run.
If I counted properly, there is at most one level of inheritance, even where more would have made sense from an orthodox OO design standpoint. There's some code duplication, but he only duplicated robust, well tested code.
The low resolution and limited palette allows the rudimentary graphics to look good (old school). The animations have only two frames.
On a side note: Did someone save fist few hours of the stream, when he wrote the 3D engine? I couldn't watch the process, and his Livestream account has been deleted.
I saw it from the beginning and watched the whole weekend.
He started out with some basic swing component/boiler plate code.
This is the third time I have watched him make a game like this. The last time he made a dungeon crawler but did it in a really novel way.
Just like last time he had the pov moving back and forth while he tweaked the walls and floors while in debug mode. This allowed him to tweak each part and get them looking correct. He spoke a lot more about what he was doing in the beginning and spoke less as the weekend went on.
The resolution on livestream was not as good for me as it was on justintv so I could not see what he was writing to get that affect. I assume it was nothing more than sin times some fraction over the x axis.
The time before that was metagun. A fantastic 2d platform game.
The thing that impresses me is that he doesn't stop to think too much. He just goes for it. I think I need to employ more courage to writing code like that when it comes to competitions.
I always get inspired watching these. I learned a ton.
I ran out of time to do my game this weekend (Other insanities were going on, unfortunately. I managed to only spend about 5-6 hours on it all in all), but I might as well show what I did make for those curious. It's more of a concept than anything else, but I did make a couple of things that I can carry on to my other FlashPunk project, so it's all good in the end! It was a lot of fun and I wish I could have done something more, or at least relinquish myself to a simpler idea.
Noted! I'll have to check that out. I didn't do a whole lot of testing outside of the flash player/in firefox, so it may be a bug inside Flashpunk for all I know. If so, gives me a chance to do a little bug fixing for the community. :D Thanks!
On peepcode.com you can find several screencasts where you can watch experienced developers working on a mini-project while thinking out loud
The series is called "Play by play".
Here's the one with Zed Shaw:
I know one could watch the complete livestream, but I wonder if the source is also available somewhere. I'd love to dive in and understand some of the complexities without time constraints. Great game.
Tens of thousands of non-programmers. A few minutes spent in the livestream chat feed was enough to drive a sane man to madness. 50% of comments were asking if the stream was minecraft 1.8, the other 50% were rude comments about Notch's marriage/weight/work ethic/etc.
The MC 1.8 people were, but a LOT of people were also "what compiler is he using?" and other similar questions that showed the one asking had little to no knowledge of programming. I'd bet at LEAST 60% and probably more like 80 had minimal to no knowledge of how to write real code.
Including this guy right here. While I'm a programmer, I've never done any games programming, and most certainly have never done anything in 3D -- it was a learning experience for me to watch him. It was also inspiring, such that I may eventually enter an LD event myself.