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Finn Pickart @finn378



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Development Story of My Garden

Posted by finn378 - May 15th, 2021

My Garden is my 7th released game and I'm really proud of it.

I'm a really big fan of life-sims, especially Animal Crossing, and I've always wanted to make one. And now, there is My Garden.

My Garden was made for the Spring2DJam 2021. A 48-hour game jam with the theme: Growth.

The Jam started at 19:00 (in my timezone) and for the whole rest of the day I had no ideas. Nothing.

I went to bed and the next morning an idea popped in my mind: Having a garden and being able to grow flowers. It was simple but it fit perfectly. I liked the idea and I began to work.

The first thing I wanted to make was a procedural-flower-generator so every flower would be unique and I don't have to make hundreds of sprites.

I've spend hours trying to create a flower-generator but I've had no experience in creating procedural things and no ideas how to accomplish this so I scrapped the generator thing and made all the sprites myself.

2 flower-species, 9 colors and 10 growth-stages. 180 different sprites I had to do.

To be honest, it wasn't actually that hard.

Only 2 of the growth-stages used the plant color and the basis of both plant-species was the same, but 180 different sprites sound cooler.

I've made a character, a simple day and growth system and it worked. It was a huge milestone. The base of the game worked and I didn't even used half of the time.

So I've implemented another feature that was important to me: Reproduction. I didn't want the player to be limited by the number of plants and reproduction was the big thing I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted this feature to define the game. I've made a simple reproduction system and it worked. I was surprised that I didn't ran into any issues (Little did I know what would happen).

At this point I had to change the day-system. Every second starts a new day. This was for debug reasons so I can see the flowers growth and reproduce much quicker.

But in my vision for the game, the player had to go to bed to start a new day. So I created a bed which I placed in the garden and everything worked fine.

Until I created the house...

Every time the player goes into the house the garden gets reseted.

Nothing gets saved, all your work, all your flowers are gone forever. I couldn't let that happen. This defeated the whole purpose of the game.

I've created a save system and it seemed to work but than I noticed that the flowers weren't growing or reproducing anymore.

One bug gets fixed and another shows up (and this continued)...

I've made a signal that fires when you come out of the house and a new day began.

And again I thought every thing was working fine. The flowers were growing.

I felt a relief until I noticed once the flowers are a full grown "adult" they evolve 1 stage back and change the color and type to a white hanging flower.

I was so confused. I didn't know what was happening. This made absolutely zero sense. The flowers never had the ability to evolve backwards or even change their color.

I've spent hours trying to hunt down the bug without success. I thought I have to give up the whole project. I looked at the debug scene tree during runtime a last time. And then I noticed something.

The standard sprite for the flowers was a stage9-white-hanging flower. The same flower in which every other flower turns once their an adult.

I looked at the code and the solution popped into my eyes.

I didn't change their sprite to their current once they're an adult. I didn't had to do this when the garden didn't get reseted but since I had the house and the save-system, the garden gets reseted every time and with it every plant.

I simply had to assign them their current sprite after they're an adult and the bug was fixed.

The bug that looked like a mysterious game breaking bug, was just a little mistake in my code which can be fixed in a couple of seconds. I felt stupid and happy at the same time. The bug that cost me so much time was fixed in a couple of seconds...

But I could continue adding new features and this made me happy.

I've added a watering mechanic, a plant moving mechanic and everything else you could play in the 1.0.

I never ran into bugs again during development and had a peaceful release of My Garden.

This was the development story of My Garden. I hope it was interesting for you and I would be really happy about some comments. Maybe you have a story too that you want to tell :)

And if you haven't played My Garden now, it's free and playable in the browser so try it out. An update is already released which adds features like decoration, visitors, a better save system etc.

Have fun,

Finn Pickart