Great Bee - First game: done!

May 12 2018

I just finished my first game! It’s called Great Bee. You can play it online on itch.io or download it for free. Please share it with your friends if you like it and feel free to write any feedback on the game. In Great Bee, you play a bee that have to forage all the flowers in every level. The frog and the sun are your enemies. Colliding with them kills you. The sun is moving slowly, but the frog is accelerating over time. The sun can also be helpful because when it touches a flower, it will turn it into a strawberry. When you eat a strawberry, you become a super bee for a few seconds and you can slap the frog to reset its speed. If you are interested in the full story about the game’s creation, you can find it in the paragraphs below. If you prefer to play the game first, it’s here.

Early this year, I started to make video games again. I wanted to start with something small, a project I could finish with only a few hours of work, not weeks or months. I knew I wouldn’t have much time and I wanted to release a polished game, test it with friends, tweak the game according to the feedback, advertise it and build this blog. With this in mind, I searched for a game idea for the PICO-8 virtual console. At that time, I remembered an arcade game my father programmed on an old Amstrad computer. It was called “super beille” and I knew it has solid game mechanics. Great Bee is a remake of this game.

I kept the core concepts of the original game, ported it to the PICO-8, tweaked some timings and mechanics and finally created a set of levels. I’m very happy I started with such a small project. I learned that making a game is not a piece of cake. First, there is a lot of stuff to do: code, graphics, sounds, music, levels. But the most time-consuming task only begins when the game seems complete: playing the game over and over, making tweaks, changing things until we are happy with it. Then, I let other people play with it and started changing the user interface and the levels again. This small game will help me a lot in choosing my next project and its size.

The most rewarding moment happened the first time I let my wife play the game. I was watching her and I saw a lot of things I needed to improve. I wrote a 13 points todo list on a paper, and ask Assma to give me the computer so I could make a few changes. She refused and kept the computer until she was at the last level because she wanted to keep playing. At that point, I knew the game was working and she was not playing only to please me. It may not be the greatest game. Well, it may not be a great game at all, but it is working and one can enjoy spending some time playing it. This means a lot to me and gives me a lot of motivation to keep making games.

If you are interested in Great Bee’s source code and assets, you can find it on my Github. Feel free to modify it or use any part of it to make your own games. It would be very nice of you to give me some feedback if you do so.