Monochrome Heights Devlog #5 – Persistent Bugs, Persistent Dev

I’m making a video game. It’s an indie 2D pixel art platformer titled Monochrome Heights.

Recently I’ve been focused on polishing all the item and platform game mechanics by building levels based around them. Many of the mechanics are requiring small tweaks due to small bugs I discover as I go beyond simple testing into heavier use and more edge cases coming up. A small few mechanics are presenting bigger problems with more persistent bugs.

A GIF of Happy the Robot in a loop moving between conveyor belts. IMAGE CREDIT: One Frog Games.

Moving platforms and falling platforms in particular have been the bane of my development in this game. While I had some programming experience coming into this project, from other game jams and from a programming certificate program I completed a handful of years ago at the community college, much of my experience coding for game development is self taught. It’s good to remind myself that I’ve come a long ways, but when I bump up against difficult problems I can suffer from a bit of imposter syndrome and a feeling that I’m in over my head.

The falling platforms in particular have been giving me a headache over the last few days, but I think I’m close to solving most of the issues. In a precision platformer like Monochrome Heights, you really want the controls to be tight and responsive, and for the game to feel fair, even if it’s tough, and thus free from jank. For a while, the moving and falling platforms were heavy on jank. 

A GIF of Happy the Robot jumping from falling platform to falling platform. IMAGE CREDIT: One Frog Games.

But just as the bugs have been persistent, I am trying to remain persistent too. By sticking with the problem when I have the energy for it, and by taking breaks to let the questions simmer in the back of my mind, I have come up with some designs that avoid the bugs, and modified the code to eliminate many of them.  I’m not 100% out of the woods, and I’m sure that after playtesting many more bugs will be discovered, but I’m increasingly confident that I’m up for the task.

If you’re interested in following along in more detail, sign up for the Monochrome Heights mailing list here. You’ll get exclusive access to early demos and additional short updates. Until next time. Thanks for reading! 

Share any thoughts on the game in the comments below or come find me on the Boss Rush Discord.

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