I tried to learn Python by making a game with the Pygame graphics library for the Pygame Community New Years Jam. In 2 days, I was able to put together a simple game (Flappy Bird meets Cookie Clicker?), and I learned a lot along the way!
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0:41 Setting Up Python
1:29 Game Idea
2:25 Implementing Basic Gameplay
3:15 Adding Sprites
4:06 Collectible System
5:18 Basic UI
6:01 Upgrade System
7:42 Fancy Background
8:09 Finishing Touches
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I thought it would be fun to try to learn Python by challenging myself to create a video game in under 48 hours (2 days) using the Pygame graphics library. Yes, I know Python probably isn’t the best language for making a real-time game, but it’s definitely fast enough for my simple 2D games, like the one I created with SDL2 in 48 hours for the 2020 GMTK Game Jam.
For this devlog challenge, I found a week-long game jam: the PyGame Community New Years Jam, but I decided to shorten it to 2 days and give myself only 48 hours to make a game.
First things first, I had to set everything up, which actually ended up being pretty easy. I ran the Python installer for Windows, added the Python extension to VS Code, and installed Pygame through pip. Now we can get into the actual game-making! I decided to try to make a game similar to Flappy Bird, but vertical—you would collect coffee beans to upgrade stats like flap strength and speed in order to fly as high as possible.
I found a Pygame example that showed me how to draw a square to the screen. Next was gravity, which is very simple for a game like this. Every frame, I add a fixed value to a y velocity variable, then I add the y velocity to a y position variable, and I draw the square at that y position. Then, I figured out how keyboard input worked in Pygame, and made it so when you press a key, the velocity variable is set to a negative fixed amount, allowing the blue square to flap. I also gave the player an x velocity that flips if its x position is less than 0 or greater than the screen width. Now the core mechanic of the game is done—you can flap and bounce off the walls.
I created graphics for the player and coffee bean collectibles, and created a “camera” that follows the player—basically I just offset everything on the screen by the player’s y position. For the coffee bean functionality, I made a Collectible class with Vector2 to store its position, and wrote a function for rectangle collisions. I draw a list of beans above the player, and if any bean collides with the player I reset its position to a random range above the player. And with that, the main game is finished.
I finished off the project by adding UI and other visuals, like a colorful background, and creating a shop (using bean currency) with three upgrades—one that increases your flap strength, one that makes you faster, and one that makes more coffee bean collectibles spawn. And that’s where the challenge ended! This was learning Python in 48 hours with Pygame.