- If you’re in it for the money, you’re in the wrong business.
A couple of years ago Flappy Bird took the world by storm, with varying reports of earnings ranging from $50,000 a day up to over a million. Then there’s Mojang, the developers of Minecraft who were purchased by Microsoft for billions. Given those kinds of successes, it’s no doubt that more and more people will be diving into game development hoping to strike gold. Here’s what you should know though; it probably won’t happen that way. In fact, it almost certainly won’t happen that way. There are a thousand apps like Flappy Bird created every day, for the iOS store, the Android store, and flash based gaming websites. How many of those types of games are you aware of? Probably one, Flappy Bird. As for the whole Minecraft thing; there are a thousand Minecraft clones out there as well, but there is only one that has made any significant money, Minecraft. So if you’re interested in making games because you think it will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, you’re probably doing just that, dreaming.
- If you’re in it for the money, go away because we don’t need you.
Nothing infuriates me more than non-gamers making games. If you’re reading this blog post right now because you got here by googling “how to make games for money”,go away. First off, based on point one, you’re most likely not going to make any money anyway. And if you do, you’ll most likely make whatever measly amount you do make by creating clones of whatever game is popular at the time. Let me be clear, no one wants your clone of Candy Crush Saga, or Clash of Clans. All you’re doing is polluting the marketplace. I realize that you won’t listen to me because you’re here because you’re looking to make money anyway but I hope you seriously consider that I, and most of the gaming community, basically hate you. We’re not afraid to tell you , either.
- Making a games isn’t all fun and games.No matter how simple you think your project is, its more difficult than you thought it was going to be. If I ever get famous, I’d like that to be the moniker I’m known for, like Murphey’s Law or Pavlov’s Dog. This rule is especially true as a new developer. Just getting things to move on the screen the way you want them to can be challenging. Properly keeping track of a score can be difficult. Sure, these things become easier over time, to the point that they’re afterthoughts, but as they do you’ll introduce more complex concepts to your games, so even when the basics become simple, the more advanced stuff will still challenge you.
Making games is challenging. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. Making games will keep you engaged for as long as you allow it to. That said, the process can be downright infuriating. Sometimes I feel like making games is a lot like playing games; if the game was Dark Souls with an even more obtuse set of rules, even less guidance, and no ending. It’s fun, maddening, challenging, annoying, and incredibly rewarding; sometimes within the span of a couple of hours.
- It will probably take a while for anyone to notice you.
Very few people are ever able to make a game that people really love on their first go round. It is possible; the game Gunpoint was created by a first time developer and it got a lot of praise. For the most part though, creating a game is no different than honing any other skill. It takes time and practice and a lot of patience. You may very well finish a project, and it might be something that you really care about. And then, it might never get noticed or played by anyone. That’s how things go. You’re creating products in a marketplace that is already flooded with products, so to stand out you need to be either really great, really original, or really lucky (usually some combination of all of them).
- It is incredibly rewarding to make a game.
So provided you don’t believe that you’re going to be a millionaire tomorrow, that you’re not just in it for the money, that you’re aware that games are hard to make, and that no one may ever play your game, it’s still really cool to make a game. First off, it’s cool to tell people that you make games. Second, its fun to see a project through to the end. Third, it’s especially fun to see a project through to the end when it’s something you think is cool and others might think is cool too. There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not games are art, but there can be no debate as to whether or not games are creations. If you like creating, whether it be with Legos, in a shed in your backyard, or a painting, you understand the euphoria of finishing a project that you’re happy with. And if that isn’t enough for you, programming a game will teach you a lot about programming; a skill that you can use to make a lot of other interesting things beyond just games.