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Project JPacman: Week #1

spanish Puedes leer este artículo en español en papagamedev.cl.

Some months ago, I found the source code of a project on which I worked about twenty years ago. It was a Pac-man clone and, in a massive attack of creativity, I decided to name it JPacman: my name JP + Pacman.

The source code on its own did not allow me to do that much. I worked on this in 1998 and 1999, so the game was developed using tools from those years, many of which are currently obsolete.

However, the old backup disc did not only contain the source code. There was also an executable version of the game! Full of emotion, I wanted to try the game immediately, and I watched incredulous how the intro sequence that I had coded a long time ago started to play.

 

Intro de JPacman
Seventeen years ago, I was determined to have my own videogame company. I was going to name it JPL Soft, another remarkable spark of creativity.

Earlier this year, I meditated a lot about my last year’s experiences and I even wrote an article about it (“Farewell 2015! Two short stories and new challenges”). I felt it was time to get down to work, so I decided to revive some of these projects during 2016.

The time has come to revive JPacman.

Project JPacman objectives

When starting a new project (or resuming a twenty years old one), it is good to consider some goals. What does it mean to resume a project like this one? What is exactly what I would like to do with the game?

I must be realistic. I can’t forget that JPacman is a Pac-man clone, a well-known game whose license is still alive and pretty active. Indeed, Namco Bandai, the franchise owners have continued to publish several official Pac-man games.

The last one they published is called Pacman 256 and it’s available on Android (link to Google Play) and on iOS (link to Apple Store), and maybe on other platforms. Not only it’s a fun game, but it has also been pretty successful, both commercially and review-wise.

 

Imagen de Pacman 256
Pacman 256, published by Namco Bandai. Although a successful game , IMHO they killed the spirit of Pac-man with the game mechanic changes they made.

I’d like to be very clear (and put it in written) that my intention is not to infringe the Namco Bandai copyrights, so I know I can’t publish  JPacman on any online store as it is now.

So why do I want to continue the project? I think it’s a mixture of nostalgia and love for technical challenges.

Nostalgia, because JPacman is one of the projects that I devoted more work and passion in my early videogame developer years. I also feel it will be a fun technical challenge: it is not trivial to resurrect a project that was developed with tools that are no longer available, or at least most of them are obsolete.

Hence, the first goal is to have a version that can be built with existing tools. After that I will see where the project will go.

(continues on next page…)

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Juan Pablo Lastra

Juan Pablo makes videogames since he was 8 and he is a father since 2004. Today, he has three children and he has worked in more than 20 videogames. He got interested on how paternity and the videogame industry are related and he decided to write about it, founding "Papa Game Dev"

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