April 19, 2013 2:38 AM | Staff
[Written by Mike Rose]
You've probably never heard of Dustin Gunn, or at least you'll only have a vague recollection of seeing his name mentioned somewhere.
The indie developer likes to keep himself to himself, although he's been actively involved as part of the deeper indie community for quite some time now. You may perhaps remember his last game Sombreros, or quite possibly the Indie Gaming Bingo blog he used to run.
Now Gunn has released a new game, and it's a bit of a special one for the dev -- at 10 years in the making, it's kind of been his own personal analogy to Duke Nukem Forever.
Mayhem Triple is a 2D platformer that plays off the idea of movie-like set-pieces and fast gunplay, with plenty of diving, wall-jumps and overly violent bunny-killing.
"It took a ridiculous amount of time, probably mainly because it came at a period where I was rapidly increasing in skill," Dunn tells me, "so I kept replacing parts of it for years."
The final design for the game was actually settled on around five years ago, but it was Dunn's decision to use Clickteam's Multimedia Fusion tools that turned out to be his undoing.
"Multimedia Fusion seems fine for making games, at first," he says. "It feels perfect for platformers. At the start of Mayhem I barely knew what reusable code was, so I didn't worry about not having it."
But as he began to build games in the engine, the cracks began to show. He notes, "I started making levels, and wanting things changed. For every level I now had to duplicate every new feature or graphic."
Indeed, copying and pasting events (essentially game code) between levels was the bane of many MMF developers' lives. But soon afterwards, Clickteam added a "Global Events" tool which allowed for events to be carried over between levels. However, this came with a catch.
"Global code could not use 'qualifiers' (what they call classes)," he says, "so in its own way, code was just as un-reusable."
"Adding to this was the inability to label variables in global events, and as my project grew in size, it became a mix of copying and pasting dozens of groups of qualifier code between levels and having massive walls of unlabeled variables on the global side," he continues. "I couldn't be sure of which object's 26 variables were used where, and often overlapped their usage, leading to weird bugs."
Dunn finally had had enough, and decided to abandon both the project and MMF. But he returned to Mayhem Triple recently in a bid to finally get the game out to the masses. He capped it off at where he was up to with development -- around the halfway point of his original plan for the game -- and padded it out with some time travel segments.
Now that Mayhem Triple is out in the open, Dunn's relieved that he'll never have to use MMF ever again: "After this I'm definitely going into Unity development and hope I can make something I feel good enough about to sell," he says.
And on that topic, I asked the dev why he isn't charging a single penny for such a huge amount of work, or indeed why he's never charged for any of the games he's created before.
"It's just a matter of not thinking people would pay money for these very short games," he says. "I might make some cash, but I'd probably lose a large amount of players and I'd rather have the players."
[Mike Rose wrote this article originally for sister site Gamasutra]