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December 2, 2014 / gameofslaves

I gave this one some thought…

Lately, my blog posts have been stream-of-thought, and I’m not sure they’re very helpful or insightful to people outside my head.  Inside, however, find interesting what comes out and how it comes out.  This time, I put some thought into it.

Between sessions of Assassin’s Creed, I’ve been reading and continuing my research.  I also played a couple of IF (interactive fiction) games.  Again, learned a lot.

While FoE, CoC, and several others look good in Flash, the best usable dev tools are expensive and proprietary.  I have seen better and better games coming from Java applications, though…  I’ve also been looking at the Unity3d dev engine.  (Not the one from Assassin’s Creed: Unity; they use AnvilNext.)  It can do 2D and 3D games and has strong scripting to allow for nearly any configuration… with a huge amount of flexibility, especially if you pay them for a Pro license.  (Honestly can’t see spending “$1500 or $75/month” for a hobby pursuit where I’ve yet to release anything nearing ‘done’.  …which feeds into why I haven’t purchased Flash.)

I have several game ideas visualized, and I have the know-how to make a good majority of it happen…  I do, however lack a few critical things before I can make the games into realities.  More on those things later…

I was reading GameInformer magazine (yes, print!) and they have several articles about “indie games”, including one which focuses on a Q&A session with several people from small game studios.  Several of the people had many years of experience in game design and development, and some had worked at big studios.  It seemed like a nice well-rounded mix of people.  Questions were asked about tools, required skills and traits, and common mistakes.

It’s a good article, I suggest you read it.  (I don’t know if there’s a freely available version of the article, if someone finds a link then I will post it.)

A few things were touched on which reinforced some things I already knew:

  • Very few people have all the skills necessary to produce an A-class game.  Some people get lucky, though.
  • Unity is very popular as a development tool.
  • Twine was mentioned as an option. It has visibility of industry pros!  …they did mention that you ‘cannot do real games’ (paraphrasing) with it… NOT TRUE!  I’ve seen some very clever things done in Twine which I wouldn’t have thought possible.
  • Feature creep can affect even seasoned veterans of the industry, and they must stay vigilant.
  • And a critical skill / talent was to actually finish your games.  Yep, they really mentioned that.

So… yeah.

The most important thing for me to focus on is getting something completed.  From there, it’ll be gravy… until I decide to add graphics.  *grin*

Now, to be clear:  I’m not looking to make a career making games.  This is a hobby.  I do want to do well, of course.  I find it heartening to see that industry pros have the same issue as I run into.  The article I read was one of the first I’ve seen which mentioned Feature Creep as a caution. (…though not by that name.)

TL;DR: Still working on things, even though inspiration is low. It’s a grind. Learning by playing other games. Really! Read interesting article, helped me feel better about some of my challenges.

– Cam

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