Pogo Fred

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Pogo Fred For Windows – 19.2MB – Windows 98/XP/Vista/7

Info

Pogo Fred was originally released in June 2007. The below text is taken from the original site. Please note it’s not what I would consider a complete game, and even though I mention it’s just “Chapter 1”, it’s a bit rough around the edges.

Pogo Fred is a fun platform adventure featuring blue pyjama wearing Fred and his new friend Adrian the Pogostick. Fred has no idea where he is, or what has gone on, but eventually with your help, he will learn the truth!

Pogo Fred was designed for my third year of Multimedia Technology & Design at the University of Kent. PF is coded in Blitzmax with music written (by me) in MilkyTracker and most of the graphics drawn in Macromedia Flash (and then edited in Paintshop Pro X). It’s taken 9 months to code and is admittedly a bit rushed to meet the deadline set but it has taught me alot about coding as well as the media that goes with it. I’ve also learnt an awful lot about planning and how important it can be to make a project run smoothly (recoded the editor from scratch 3 times :/).

Anyhoooo enough yapping, this is the first chapter and I hope you enjoy it!

Media

Pogo Fred Intro:

Image gallery

History and other stuff

I studied Multimedia Technology and Design at Uni between Sept 2004 and June 2007 and for my final year project we had to make some sort of multimedia something or other. I think I had already decided when I started Uni that I would make a game for my final year project. I had always struggled with keeping focus for game projects (having half started dozens of them) so I figured the pressure of screwing up my degree would be a good incentive to get things done.

I spoke with my tutor Dr Les Walczowski about my proposal at the end of my second year, going in to details of the type of game it would be, how you would navigate, graphics etc etc and he sort of gave me a blank look before saying words to the effect of…

but it’s got a story right? There needs to be a story.

 

I remember thinking to myself “you clearly do not have a clue what I just said” and it became apparent that he saw limited merit in a multimedia project that would have original graphics, animation, music and an original game engine if it didn’t have some kind of story. I remember him trying to maneuver me into making an interactive story driven web site or Macromedia Director (remember that?) project. In retrospect I think  he was worried about marking something he didn’t fully understand.

I comprehensively ignored him and decided to make the game I had been messing around with on and off for years before hand, Pogo Fred.

I have very fond memories of summer 2006, I was back at my parents working in the warehouse of Mr Fothergills Seeds, the company I worked at as an IT assistant before I went to Uni. During the day I would shift boxes around and load palettes with seed displays ready to be shipped out to stores across the country, before going home and working on Pogo Fred in the evening and early night.

There was something very refreshing about doing physical work requiring little to no brain power during the day followed by an evening sitting at a computer listening to music and working on game development. I think it inspired me to be more healthy, I got in to bike riding for a while and would even go to the local swimming pool at the weekend. It was recommended that we buy a book to study for our project, so I bought Rules of Play: Game Design Fundementals and would read it on Warren Hill overlooking Newmarket. I can’t remember too much about the book apart from the idea that a skill based game with consequences should never rely on luck. That is, there should always be some indication as to what you need to do next, e.g. you should never have to blindly jump off a cliff. Anyway..

Even before the third year had started, I felt I had made a significant amount of progress with Pogo Fred and naively thought “I’ve got an engine all I need now is to animate the characters and create the levels!”. I’ve come to learn that making a game engine is very easy compared to actually designing character and levels. The character part wasn’t too bad if not time consuming (sketch on paper, redraw in flash, dissect, animate, export) but making levels, wow.

I can honestly say I don’t struggle with anything game development wise quite like I do with making levels. My apparent inability to make levels was a big inspiration for wanting to make a procedurally generated game like Perling. The levels within Pogo Fred were if I am completely honest, shit. I think I had some good ideas (like the level where you start on earth and get launched into space) but my implementation of core level features was pathetic. At the time I remember looking at Super Mario Bros. and thinking to myself “how did they make these levels? What prompted them to put these blocks here and those blocks there?”. Even now I can’t help but wonder how Terry Cavanagh managed to make such amazing levels with such a simple mechanic with VVVVVV.

Anyway, I had given myself a good three months to make the levels and they were pathetic. I created lots of enemies and level items with interesting mechanics but I never bothered using them, what a waste. Midway through the third year I ran out of money so moved back to my parents to continue there. I was still able to do all of the other module work via an online portal so I wasn’t missing out in that respect. I had no excuses, I wasn’t being distracted daily by friends, I had so much time on my hands and I still couldn’t manage it.

I was happy to have “finished” (handed in) Pogo Fred when I did but I can’t help but feel I did not do that game the service it deserved. I had made a version of it years ago in a program called Click and Create and that seemed way more fun and complete than the new fancy version. Regardless, the feedback was surprisingly good and on the surface it was quite a good looking game.

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