The question was - Can I make a game in a weekend? The answer was no. Or yes. Or, well... maybe. Kinda. I don't know...
Last Friday I started work on a totally new game - Zombie Survival. By the end of the day Saturday, I did have a playable "game". Or more accurately I had a working game mechanic. There was a good guy, zombies, an objective, and it was fun to play, it even looked pretty good. I guess that could be called a game. Except, it can't. Not really.
A game is more than just the mechanic and the graphics. The mechanic is what really matters at the end of the day, but there's a lot of additional stuff that you have to pack into your game no matter how simple/casual the market - this stuff isn't really optional anymore.
It took an additional four evenings and nearly a whole Saturday morning and early afternoon of effort before Zombie Game was ready for the marketplace. In that time I added screens for highscores, help, gameover, paused, etc, saved/read settings and highscores to/from persistent memory, improved the look and feel throughout, implemented sound and music, did some refactoring (I'm learning as I go, so tend to clean up / rework as and when I have a lightbulb moment), playtested and tweaked difficulty to get things just right (the fine line between challenging and frustrating is where the fun is found!), carried out lots of testing on multiple devices, and did a little bug fixing.
All in I reckon it took about 45-50 hours effort spread over 8 days to go from nothing to published, and I'm really pleased with that. But 48-ish hours effort is not the same as 48 hours elapsed time (lots of problems solved themselves in my head overnight, the subconscious mind is a wonderful thing!), I guess Ludum Dare will have to wait.
I'm sure my girlfriend will be glad to know that I'll be giving it a rest for at least a week or two now... A full time job plus putting in full time hours on an android game resulted in this being quite the antisocial week! Anyway, the game is up on google play, and it's a free download, so why not give it a go? Cute zombie fun just in time for halloween :)