What I learned from launching a Commodore PET game in 2021 - My Indie Game Experience So Far

in #stemgeeks3 months ago

Untitled presentation2.png

Like many people I grew up dreaming of developing computer games.

Not sure what held me back, other than time. In January this year I finally released my first game, and I targeted the Commodore PET of all things. This was prompted by a "make a game like Frogger" challenge in a retro facebook group.

You can see my work here:

https://makerhacks.itch.io

Why write a game?

If you want to learn programming then games are a good project. You learn to write for speed, for size, and you learn graphics. When you learn for old retro systems, those things are really important!

Why the PET?

I am working through all my bucket list of retro systems, and PET seemed like a decent choice as a test. Amiga was my first test to see if people would enjoy retro programming tutorials.

The limitations of the commodore pet actually make it a really good basis for learning - everything like "blitters" and "hardware sprites", even sound chips, are stripped away. You are left with the microprocessor, textual display, and some ram :)

https://makerhacks.com/retro-computer-video-games-timeline/

Despite my making the game free, so far I have made $42 without any promotion other than mentioning it on my twitter and the group involved in the original challenge.

Screen Shot 20210209 at 9.47.16 AM.png

Obviously that is not a lot in the scheme of things, but it is more than I have made from Patreon or Ko-Fi, or Hive for that matter (I am still thousands of dollars down from when I bought into Steem which is still a point of frustration for me!).

The best thing out of this is the stronger connections I have made in the community and what I have learned.

So what next?

I will cover C programming on the PDP-11/Unix - C being a highly useful and valuable language regardless of what system you develop for! Learning with a goal in mind really helps make anything easier to get your head around, and you have something fun to show for it :)

Sort:  

Pets were amazing. I wrote my first simple relational database on Pet in basic. Firstly, define the arrays lol....long time ago!

Yeah the PET can be charming, and PETSCII forces a lot of creativity :)