As a young game developer, it really interests me to look at the development of video games, how the process worked, beta builds, cut content, everything. So today I’d thought I’d talk about one of the development tools used for everyone’s favorite (or maybe only) Switch game, Breath of the Wild.
A few months ago Nintendo tweeted out a picture which showed what looked like the original Legend of Zelda being played on a screen. Really though, it was a 2D build of Breath of the Wild!
Well, no not really. It was just a 2D manifestation of the game which demonstrated some of the key features of the actual game. The idea behind it was to use it as a testing ground for the features that they were adding to the game. This way they didn’t have to wait until the game was fully finished to get the balancing and features completely down, there was nothing substantial in the build as it was just to test things.
While the build remains out of the public’s reach, there has been an individual who has recreated it and it’s available for download here. There’s no set price but you are allowed to donate however much you want.
Having early builds or a sandbox for a game in development really helps a ton. It’s near impossible to just look at the code and try to determine if it will work or not, you really need to run the code and see exactly what will happen in every conceivable situation you programmed into the game. This is why game testing is actually way more redundant than you might think because you have a laundry list of features that you’ve gotta make sure are working perfectly in order to ensure the game doesn’t break immediately on launch.
Writing code is tough, writing code for a game even tougher. If you have a basic game engine you can build off of that takes some of the difficulty away, but there’s still so much that can go wrong in a program. And I speak from experience. You can have all the code in the universe that works together perfectly, but the moment you upload another chunk of code in the file, s**t can really hit the fan fast.
In fact(funny story) I have to be on my way in an hour to fix some code for a game I’m making with a couple guys, I wrote a big part of code that makes the program crash on startup. The problem is tough to get to when you basically have a finished game to sift through and see where exactly the error is occurring and then you have to figure out a way around the issue. Tweak some methods, merge some classes, change the places of a few variables, or even change a 0 to a 1, the problem could be really simple but in code, there is always a butterfly effect where everything branches off each other.
Well, that was a nice little personal reflection, all I’m trying to say, I guess, is that there’s more going on behind the curtain than you might think. And if you’re a person who feels strongly about video games, you might want to check out exactly what the process is in making video games, it can be pretty interesting.
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