Archive for category: Indie Life

The Door Problem

22 Apr
April 22, 2014

AKA, how to explain what a job as a game designer entails.

The Door Problem.

Spot on. 😉

Over The Hill

01 Apr
April 1, 2014

They say the last 10% of a project is the hardest, and that’s certainly true.

But I’ve also found that there is a tipping point. It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill. You strain and you grunt and you push that sucker up against gravity and your own desire to just say “fuck it” and have a lie down. And there just seems to be no relief in sight. But somewhere along the line, you crest that hill. And then, without noticing it, you’re over the top, on the other side, and it feels like the project takes on a momentum of its own, picking up speed and pulling you along with it, like it did in the beginning when everything was fresh.

I’ve hit that point again with System Crash. The decision to do some major reworking was, honestly, a bit demoralizing. It’s like burning every drop of energy in you for the final stretch of a race, being right in front of the finish line, and then having that finish line suddenly teleporting a few hundred meters away. Wrenching.

It’s been hard to retread code/design I thought I’d finished. Hard to dredge up the motivation. Hard to find a third wind.

But I’ve crested the hill again. Everything’s coming together, motivation is welling up without effort, every day I sit down eagerly to tackle my dev list. System Crash is almost feature complete, now. Seven tasks remain on the list, which I hope to complete by the end of this week. Then it’s a month of revamping the content of the campaign and commissioning new art for that content, followed by a month of packaging it all up for sale and prepping marketing. I’m aiming for release in June.

And then it’s done. Two and a half years of work, fifteen years building toward this moment, to releasing my first commercial game. What a ride. Whether it’s a commercial success or not, I have done what I set out to do, and built something I’m proud of.

Wanna make the next Flappy Bird? Buy a lottery ticket. Wanna make a great game? Start making small games and see what happens in 3 years.
– George Broussard

Motivation Strategies – Let Yourself Play

04 Mar
March 4, 2014

Sometimes, game dev gets hard. Your motivation drops to zero, and you find it hard to summon the discipline to force yourself to work regardless.

Well, here’s a trick I got from Cliffski. Save yourself some fun tasks, and when you really don’t feel like it, let yourself work on those. Doesn’t matter if there is something more pressing or more important. Add that particle effect, wire up sound effects, put in some transitions. Whatever feels most like fucking about, like play.

You’re trying to game your own psychology, see. When you least feel like working, find the work that most feels like play, and do that. Your internal procrastinator will kick up the least fuss. And once you get going, you’ll often find the motivation has returned.

And if it hasn’t, that’s fine too. You still got something done, even if it’s a trivial task from the bottom of your priority list.

That’s what happened to me, this morning. Woke up feeling crap, convinced I was coming down with ANOTHER flu. Didn’t want to get out of bed, never mind work on my passion project.

So I set myself to hooking up some swooshy UI transitions. Minor stuff, but they look pretty, I think. Didn’t get much else done, but I’m still that one step closer to finished. And that’s crucial. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually you get to your destination.

Steam allowing developers to create their own sales

27 Feb
February 27, 2014

Huh. Ok, this is (maybe?) a big thing.

Steam is now letting developers create their own sales. It won’t get you the eyeball-boost of being on the frontpage, but you can certainly trumpet it around the net.

I wonder if this makes a difference, compared to simply having discounts on your own direct sales portal? I know some people will only buy on steam.

Would be interesting to get feedback from any devs already on steam who try this in comparison to sales on their own sites, gather statistics. Let’s hope someone tries the experiment!

Indie Game Dev 101

11 Feb
February 11, 2014

Oh hey, I think I know that “Gareth Fouche” guy discussing game dev over on IGN.

Blimey. He does ramble on a bit, doesn’t he?

Some System Crash Art

04 Dec
December 4, 2013

I don’t think I ever posted these on this blog. So let me rectify that. Here’s some of the latest art I did for System Crash.

I actually would have preferred to pay a professional artist to do them, as it actually isn’t cost effective for me to do so. I’m not as skilled and I take longer (2 days apiece). Which, if you translate that into hours spent, means it costs me more to make an inferior product. My internal business manager grimaces at this.

But what can you do? I ran out of money. There is at least some consolation in having enough skill to “fill in” for an artist in situations like that. Wearing multiple hats is actually fairly tiring, but the alternative, needing some asset and not being able to afford to pay for it, sucks more.

Anyway, art.