Our blog has been around for nearly a year now and there was always a plan to start including some more personal touches. Sure, everything on here is written by us, so in that sense it already is personal, but while we’re very similar in many ways, Chris and I definitely have some very different interests in and outside of gaming. For me, that includes game development. So I figured that this would be as good a time as any to start doing some bi-weekly Monday posts on my personal experiences in game development. Let me kick things off this week with somewhat of an introduction then; a background as to what my skills and goals are, and what I’ll hopefully be sharing in these posts.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to develop video games, but like many of us, life can get in the way of our dreams. Without going into too much boring detail, I ended up spending my 20’s working as an IT and software design professional for a small insurance company. The pay was great and the work environment was good but the work wasn’t fulfilling in the way that I had hoped. In March of this year the company was purchased and the majority of the employees (including myself) were laid off.
For as much time as I had spent at the company, I was very happy to see it go and to feel free to pursue something else. Luckily my wife and I saw the end coming far in advance and were able to ferret away a substantial savings with which I could fund a new venture; game development. So over the last six or so months I’ve been mucking my way through starting a game development company.
My programming skills are somewhere between intermediate and advanced. I’m proficient in several languages and technologies. My art skills on the other hand, are not so good. I’ve always loved art and I’ve always felt creative, but learning the technical aspects of creating quality art isn’t something that I’ve ever taken the time to do. With all this new time on my hands though, I’ve been able to start pouring a lot of hours into learning and building art skills that can at least get me to the point where I can make art that looks good enough for something like a mobile game.
That brings me to business strategy. In the coming weeks I’ll begin to talk more about my feelings on game development as a business, but to begin, I’m going to quickly share my business strategy with you. For now I’ll be focusing on creating small games for the mobile market. For me that means focusing pretty heavily on HTML5 games. These types of games aren’t exactly the triple A titles that I dreamed of making when I was a kid, but my first goal is to create a business that is self-sustaining. If I can create a simple game every month, or every week, and it can make me enough money to pay my bills, then I can at least survive as a game developer. From there I can continue to build my skills and hopefully begin to make games that are slightly larger and more complicated. Eventually, ten years from now, perhaps I will be making triple A games. I feel that It’s important to learn how to walk before I attempt to run though. These days everyone seems to have a great pie-in-the-sky idea for a game. It usually involves a game world about twelve times the size of Skyrim, forty-two different classes, ten-thousand spells…you get the point. Before I create my magnum opus, I’d like to figure out how to make a small game fun. I’m interested in taking one gameplay mechanic and making it as fun as possible. When I can do that successfully, I’ll try two. When that works, well, we’ll just keep on leveling up I guess.
So over the next several weeks and months I invite you to come on this adventure with me. I’ll be sharing all kinds of thoughts. It will be everything from coding tips and tricks, engine advice, business experiences, art practice. Pretty much anything that I feel was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way is something I’ll be sharing to hopefully make any of you fellow aspiring game devs have an easier time than I did.