Coding Labors of Love
|Character Artist||Sam McCollum|
|Head Writer||Isa Pinto|
|Environment Artist||Jasleen Rehsi|
|Programmer/UI Artist||Kelsey Watkins|
|Misc. Artist/Programming/UI Assistant||Kyla Hullick|
|Sound Design/Assistant Writer||Alisa Ryu|
If you would like to play it, it is free to download here (though donations are cherished and lets us know we did a good job): https://neitherworld.itch.io/labors-of-love
Despite going to Ringling for Game Art, I ended up doing the behind-the-scenes technical stuff for making a dating sim. That meant I was in charge of learning the coding language and putting the game together. If I didn’t do it correctly, the game would crash and be unplayable until the problem was fixed.
It was pretty stressful, looking back on it. But it was fun, and everyone was excited to be there and very supportive of each other.
Luckily for me, I wasn’t building a game from scratch. I was working through the programming language and software known as Ren’Py, a well-known dating sim maker. Everything I needed to know and bugs that occurred all had a troubleshooting and tutorial page online. I also had taken an Intro to Computer Science class previously, so I had a fairly good understanding of the python language.
Being the programmer meant that I needed to know all of the pieces that went into the game, so I had to delegate tasks to people based on what the game needed. At its core, a dating sim needs characters, different emotions, backgrounds, and different paths to take. If this was all done by one person, it would have taken much longer. Below is a screenshot of me calling the files before beginning the coding for the game:
After figuring out the basics of dialogue and how to show a character changing emotion, I thought things would be easy going forward. Of course, I didn’t stop to think about our complex path decisions we made. I found myself making white board diagrams to map out the paths needed and the endings associated with each. A lot of struggling was done when implementing our first ending path with the Hydra. Tom had already written up the entire path sequence, so I did it all at once. This was the worst mistake I could have made. I had made so many errors that I had to go back and fix all of them individually instead of just starting with smaller pieces added on a little bit at a time. This lapse in judgement set me back three or four hours, and is a mistake I certainly learned from.