Donut Simulator Exists NowOct 06, 2016 in programming, meta, life (sort of), game development
Hi, blog! Been a while, huh? I’ve been busy lately. I’ve been working on a lot of stuff, but haven’t really been posting about it here, because I keep abandoning stuff before I feel like it’s ready to show the world. Well, no longer! Here is a new thing I’ve been working on this past week. I call it Donut Simulator, but that name isn’t really super descriptive. It’s a little population simulator; it randomly spawns a bunch of little circles with brains and they have to try to figure out how to eat food and reproduce. It’s cute and it’s been preventing me from getting actual stuff done because I keep staring at it, which I think is probably a good sign for a project.
It’s not nearly finished yet, and it runs kind of slow when you get a bunch of creatures on screen at the same time. I’ve been working on optimizing it, although at a certain point I’m not sure how much optimization you can do when you’re trying to simulate 250 little neural networks at the same time. Still, I’ve made progress in speeding up the rendering and stuff, and there’s progress to be made. I’ve never really had a program that runs so slowly I’ve had to optimize code before, so this has been a good experience for me.
I’m also writing the display code for it with the pygame library, which I had tried to use before but didn’t manage to get a very good handle on. After putting in some effort to figure it out, though, I really like it! I might actually keep this in mind for any future game projects I decide to do. It definitely seems easier to work with than SFML, and it doesn’t require a whole special IDE a la Godot, so it seems like a nice middle ground. Plus, I like writing in actual python more than Godot’s fake-Python or, god forbid, C++.
As you might be able to tell, I’ve been struggling after wholesale abandoning Flash as a development platform — it wasn’t great, honestly, but it let me express myself fast and organize things in a way that made sense to me. I’ve got a number of projects under different frameworks going right now, but I think I have a tendency to over-plan and give up when I run into hard bugs rather than redo a bunch of code. Plus, I want to make big ambitious games but often don’t have a good handle on what the actual events of the game should be outside of gameplay, so I don’t really know where to begin building things. This sort of mirrors my problems with writing — I love writing tiny scenes, but writing larger stories often eludes me.
So I think my relative success with Donut Simulator is that there was a lot of stuff to create, but it doesn’t have to fit into a coherent narrative or anything. Honestly, it isn’t really even a game. But it’s still fun to watch and create your own narratives. So I guess that plays to my creative strengths. I’d still like to make a game with more of a narrative, though. One step at a time, I guess!
Anyway, this post sort of turned into me examining my own creative issues, but a little introspection never hurt anyone. Plus, I wrote a blog post for the first time in like 6 months! Wow! I feel good about myself. You should download Donut Simulator. There’s a bunch more good information at its github page, so if you want to play around with it, you should check it out. It’s still in a pretty early stage, though, so maybe you shouldn’t download it yet. I don’t know!! HERE ARE SOME SCREENSHOTS.