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A Lesson For Wannabe Game Developers - A brief rant

04-23-2015, 08:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Location: Ireland
Posts: 87
A Lesson For Wannabe Game Developers - A brief rant

In the summer of 2014, bored, hungover and looking to be entertained by the God that is 'Netflix', I stumbled across a documentary titled 'Indie Game'.
Having heard nothing about the documentary, I decided to give it a go. What harm could it do? After all, I had already re-watched all of 'It's always Sunny in Philadelphia' for the 100th time.
The Indie Game documentary followed a couple of Indie Game Developers as they worked on and released their games to Xbox Live. Teams of two people were creating beautiful interactive art and making tons of money from it!

Over the course of 90 minutes, my whole career path had changed. That is exactly what I wanted! Who wouldn't want to do that for a living?? I had never been more inspired by a piece of film.

I was going to become a successful Indie Game Developer!

I spent the following few hours googling information about game development. One of the pieces of advice I read online was to just 'make something small first and learn how everything works before developing something big'. Probably the best advice any Game Developer could give!

That evening, I downloaded Unity 3D and began to explore. I decided that I was going to make a simple asteroid defence game for Android within 2 weeks! (At least, that was the plan...)
I thought that making a game for mobile would be a good place to start off since releasing a game is very easy on Android.

Within a week I had built a really simple game. The aim of the game was to protect Earth an endless number of asteroids.
The artwork was OK. The controls were simple. I built the game to my tablet and showed it to my brother(who like me, is also a software developer). He thought it was cool but really boring. He was right but I explained that this was just a simple project for me to learn about game development. He suggested adding guns to the planet so that there was a connection between it and the player. I said I would explore it and come back to him next week with an update.

Fast forward 8 months, that simple asteroid defence game is still in development. What started off as a fun and educational mini-project has turned into the most stressful few months of my life. I left my job as a software developer at Apple to work somewhere where I could work on the game outside of work hours. (Apple doesn't let staff make apps outside of work..).
I've started a media company on the side along with my brother. We dedicate all of our spare time to our first game. The both of us have become obsessed!

Last edited by David_Don_13; 01-15-2016 at 12:05 PM.
04-23-2015, 02:21 PM
Thanks for sharing.

I guess I'm lucky that before I released my first game on iOS, I've read numerous cautionary tales of indie failures which prevented me from being too optimistic.

Apart from the itch to create, another of my motivation came surprisingly from TV actors who moved on quickly onto their next show once their existing ones got canned. Strange I know, but it thought me how to fail fast and just shrugged your failures and soldier on.

04-28-2015, 08:53 PM
Joined: May 2010
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 306
If you aren't having fun doing it then why continue?

Developer of RTS Machines at War 3 for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows.
RTS Land Air Sea Warfare for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows.
04-29-2015, 03:32 AM
Originally Posted by Rasterman View Post
If you aren't having fun doing it then why continue?
To be honest, we are wrapping up our game and have become quite miserable. Finishing the product is just half the job: we still need to market it. Between two guys we are quite busy juggling everything. I guess we suffer for our art.

Roguebox Studios
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05-03-2015, 11:14 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Location: brooklyn
Posts: 48
I feel the same way buddy. My first app was supposed to be a super basic top down shooter, but it was really basic and boring so i decided to give it "JUST ONE" more feature, and fast forward 1.5 years later i'm FINALLY about to release it this week.

These last 12 months have been full of emotional ups and downs, dealing with bugs, dealing with soul sucking job, dealing with really really demotivating development articles(they really do write them in a depressing way...), moments of joy when something finally works or i finally figured out some bug, positive responses, negative responses, its been a ROLLER COASTER RIDE!

hell i could keep going, dealing with new plugins, dealing with software updates, dealing with optimization problems, artwork problems, marketing problems, apple store requirements, google play requirements,

Basically having to work on things that are not directly related to the game like facebook and twitter sharing, leaderboard, like and follow buttons, making menus to have everything cohesive. Doing tiny adjustments here and there to make everything feel like a finished product, PLAYING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN to make sure everything is BALANCED, making tiny tweaks and then PLAYING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN to then tweak something again... and so on and so on...

I don't think it's enough to just "I LOVE GAMES, SO IMA MAKE GAMES!!!"
I'm motivated by the lure of freedom from my day job, I don't really like coding that much either, i don't even like sitting in front of the computer for 16 hours a day. Any business you enter requires TONS AND TONS of hard work. This is what separates the average chump from the entrepreneur who achieves greatness, those who are willing to put in the work VS those who give up, and most people give up.


anyway rant over... i could keep going on forever...

It's All Good Games
05-03-2015, 07:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Location: China / Canadian
Posts: 605
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You are going through the natural emotions of creations and once your are finished with this game and even if it becomes a big hit you will be faced with the same emotion when you start on your next game.
05-05-2015, 11:37 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Posts: 43
Unfortunately after 1 year of developing your game its probably IMPOSSIBLE for YOU to balance it, unless you are doing a lot of testing with new people who have never seen the game. Ship it already and start gathering real data about how people use it from analytics and customer feedback.

Mark J, Hit Tennis 3 maker, @markjnet