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My experience as a (wannabe) game developer

04-07-2011, 03:43 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 12
My experience as a (wannabe) game developer

As a gamer one of the things that’s most interested me is, well, making games! So, in the last couple months, that’s exactly what I did After releasing my game I found the experience really interesting and I wanted to share my experience developing a game from scratch with a bunch of people who would also find game development fascinating…fellow gamers!

So I recently released my iPhone game Quantum Cannon (http://itunes.apple.com/app/quantum-cannon/id427407981?mt=8 ), it took me about 2 and half months and cost around $350 to make. It really was one of the most fun and frustrating 2 months of my life and I would encourage anyone who is passionate abut games to give it a go. So this is basically just a blog talking about my experience as a game developer and giving some tips to anyone who wants to try it out.

All right, so, when making a game the first thing your gonna need is…a game to make! It might sound obvious but if you actually have an idea and some basic concepts floating around your mind of what you want to make, it will be a lot easier to actually make something. Take it from me, I was so over excited that I bought a MacBook pro, downloaded a bunch of programs, watched a bunch of videos about making apps and then at sat down in front my MacBook at went “…Wait, what am I actually making!” Luckily for me, my game sort of came about naturally. As I was teaching myself how to create various mechanics such as make an object accelerate, follow your touch, go up and down etc., I kept adding these mechanics onto the same level and eventually thought “hey, I can make a game outta this!”

So the first step would be to get a notepad and just sketch out a few levels, write down what kind of ideas you have and draw some concept art. This way, once you get down to making the game you’ll have a clear goal and actually know what you want to achieve, instead of doing what I did and spending hours just randomly making things accelerate into each other in the hopes that something brilliant would occur (spoiler alert: nothing brilliant will occur).

The next step would be to research how you are going to make the game. Do you want to use Unity or torque or Corona? Your decision will depend on what kind of game your making, what your budget is and how much time your willing to invest. For me, I knew I was making a 2-d action/puzzle game so any 2d engine would be fine, I also knew that I wanted to make my game as quickly and cheaply as possible, giving myself a 1 month deadline and a $100 budget (both of which quickly and inadvertently expanded).



Once you know what you’re making and how you’re making it, the next step I would recommend you do is get your graphics in order. I say this because of what happened to me: I made about 20 levels before I started working with artists for my graphics. Now, I had an idea of what I wanted the game to look like and had based by 20 levels around that idea, but then the artists sent me my graphics…and they were nothing like I wanted! They were however COMPETELY SUPER MEGA AWESOME! Now this lead to good and bad news. The good news was that I had COMPLETELY SUPER MEGA AWESOME graphics, the bad news was that when I put my graphics into the game, all 20 levels became utterly useless. Everything was sized wrong, rotated in the wrong direction, placed in weird positions and was just a complete mess in general. The moral of the story is, make sure you know what you’re doing before you do it. I had based my level around shapes and sizes of objects whose shapes and sizes I didn’t know and it meant I had to start everything from scratch. Now if your making your own graphics then this may not be a huge problem a you can control what your art is going to be like. But if you’re hiring an artist then this goes back to my first point of drawing up your levels first, simply because, it’s a whole lot easier to edit a pencil drawing than to remake an entire (edit: 20 entire) game level(s).



Once that debacle had been rectified it was on to making my game. And this brings me onto my final piece of advice for this blog. Be a business owner. Its one thing to be a student in your bedroom trying to develop a game as quickly as possible and with no budget. It’s a completely different thing to be a game developer trying to make a profitable product. As I said, I started out with a deadline of 1 month and a budget of $100, but somehow I ended up releasing after 2 and half months with $350 sunk into the project. So you need to be a business owner, you need to manage your time efficiently and plan ahead taking all costs into consideration from the get go. For example, here’s a fun fact, Apple take 30% of all your app sales! Oh, wait you already knew that? That seems fair does it, considering they let you develop and sell on their platform? Well here’s another fun fact, Apple charge $100 just to have the privilege of being able to develop and sell on their platforms. Wait, that was a mistake, they charge $100 annually. Now in my excitement to make a game I neglected a lot of research and only found out about this cost after I was committed to making my game. I also severely underestimated how hard it would be to make graphics and how expensive it would be to hire an artist. These and several other factors meant that I hade to go WAY past budget to make my game and if I had known it would cost me this much to just put a game out which would only return 70 cents per sale and give me a recurring cost of $100 per year, I would have seriously reconsidered! (Although, if that were the case, then the world would have missed out on the awesomeness that is Quantum Cannon, so I guess in the long run it was all worth it ).

So there you go! My tips on stating an iPhone game, I hope you enjoyed the read and learnt from my many, many mistakes and I hope this encourages some people to get out there and start developing! And if your feeling really generous why not check out Quantum Cannon and tell me what you think!

Also, note: “Hey babe, want to have some fun touching my quantum cannon” is NOT a good pickup line…believe me, I tried
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04-07-2011, 07:37 PM
#2
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 12
Oh and I forgot to add, anyone interested in starting out, Corona SDK now has an unlimited free trial, so get out there and start developing!

04-07-2011, 08:27 PM
#3
Welcome to TouchArcade

I always find posts like these really interesting. Hearing indie Dev stories can be inspiring and sometimes funny. I have no intention of making my own game, but I'd imagine the process would be a lot smoother and more rewarding if I learned from others mistakes before I started.
04-07-2011, 08:30 PM
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anithmuk View Post
Oh and I forgot to add, anyone interested in starting out, Corona SDK now has an unlimited free trial, so get out there and start developing!
To clarify: The Corona SDK is free for trial use. However, once you want to put it on the app store, the cost is $200 per year subscription. (according to the Corona website).

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Last edited by Red1; 04-07-2011 at 08:35 PM.
04-07-2011, 09:24 PM
#5
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 230

Youtube link | Pop Up


Your iPhone screenshots might be incomplete. Vedio trail looks better.
04-07-2011, 09:35 PM
#6
What is your background in coding? I'm interested but I know very little about code

GC: phillipsteak
04-07-2011, 09:47 PM
#7
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 12
@ Red 1, yeah thanks for the clarification I forgot to add that

@phillipsteak I had no background in coding, but you can use Corona SDK which really simplifie things for people with little knowledge of code. Check it out! My next game will be made with the pro version of Corona so it will let me publish to android as well (as soon as I get the funds to buy it though).

@alain 91 Thanks for linking to the video

Last edited by Anithmuk; 04-07-2011 at 09:49 PM.
04-07-2011, 10:59 PM
#8
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradiso View Post
Welcome to TouchArcade

I always find posts like these really interesting. Hearing indie Dev stories can be inspiring and sometimes funny. I have no intention of making my own game, but I'd imagine the process would be a lot smoother and more rewarding if I learned from others mistakes before I started.
You're a careful person. But anyway, if you're afraid of making mistakes and don't wanna try, you'll never really know how to make a good game.

now playing Tiny Wings, Fruit Ninja, Real Racing 2, cut the rope & Mission Europa
04-08-2011, 01:52 AM
#9
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atischery View Post
You're a careful person. But anyway, if you're afraid of making mistakes and don't wanna try, you'll never really know how to make a good game.
Yeah, I reckon in the end the best way to learn is to learn from your own mistakes!
04-08-2011, 05:07 PM
#10
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: California, USA
Posts: 4,476
double-posted. Hate when thay happens......

Last edited by bigrand1; 04-09-2011 at 01:16 PM.