I was tinkering around with Facebook the other night when I came across a message I had overlooked. Someone had contacted me because they played a game that my son and I designed back in 2008. The writer of the message said some nice things about the game – a project that I had completely forgotten about. So I found the game and played it again.
But first let me give you some insight into how we created the game. We did an internet search and came across a free product called GameMaker. I checked to see if they are still around and they are. Here is a link to their site and their latest version of the software:
We were brainstorming on ways to raise funds to pay for a grand scouting adventure, an 11 day hike through the mountains of New Mexico at Philmont Scout Ranch. The cost of the trip was over two thousand dollars each and we didn’t have that kind of money.
So we gave ourselves some criteria for making a game. 1. The game needed to be a puzzle game 2. The game needed to be simple 3. The game needed to be something we could actually make and finish. With those goals in mind, we started to use the GameMaker tools. I found an online game that I enjoyed called Splashback. It was a game that involved drops that would grow until they burst into four directions. The goal was to create chain reactions and earn more drops. That gave us the inspiration to try to make a copy of the game concept, but instead of drops, we would use money.
First, Nate took the lead by designing sprites and then assigning properties to them. He made pennies become quarters, quarters become dollars, dollars become piggybanks, and piggybanks that would explode into pennies going four directions. We learned that even programming with GameMaker was a challenge. We had to take every possible action into consideration such as what would happen when the pennies hit the boundary walls. Nate also worked on the particle effects for the explosions. Then I went to work on programming the rules and the levels. I designed it so that you would be rewarded with items for the hiking trip as you earned the money. The most challenging was programming the increase in difficulty as you neared your goal. Compare a picture of our game with the original.
I know our game isn’t as pretty but it works, it really works! I discovered that Road to Philmont is still on the GameMaker website. If you want, download it and give it a try. http://sandbox.yoyogames.com/games/19951-road-to-philmont I know it works on Windows XP and it works on Windows 7. No promises on any other operating system. I had a Click to Donate link but it doesn’t work any longer. Want to guess how much money the game raised? Fifteen dollars! Good thing we had a car wash, a yard sale, etc. It was an interesting and educational experience to make a working game. It gave me a sincere appreciation for well designed games of all types. Give the game a try and let me know what you think!