I finished an animation, it was a rough 3D model of a soccer player juggling a ball. It had a whole stadium in the background. Created with 3D Studio R4 (yes even before Max) This was more than 16+ years ago in HighSchool. After all these years I find myself currently updating skills and learning yet another software package and thinking back on all the software that I had to learn/relearn throughout the years.
Before I made the decision to go indie. I thought about my strengths and weaknesses as a game developer. It’s an honest exercise to see if the skill sets align to make sure I have what it takes to be able to make it as an indie. A lone game developer has a lot on his plate. Artistic ability, technical ability, design skills, business, self-promotion etc. All this required knowledge could be intimidating at first. That’s why I think the most important ability in indie game development is having the right mindset.
So is the decision to go indie crazy? It’s the question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. On one hand the opportunity to work on self directed game project is very intriguing on the other hand I do realize the sheer amount of work that it takes to improve on the current skill set to be able to release something that I’d be happy with. The scope of knowledge required is a challenge and a learning opportunity for me. It will require recognizing strengths and weaknesses and finding the time and putting in the effort to improve upon them.
Out of nowhere on Dec. 23 in the early hours of the night I get email from Unity3D informing that a new 3.5 Beta and a Developer preview is available for download. Included was news about a Flash in a Flash contest with a Jan 5 Deadline. What transpires is a two week fairly intense game jamming session where the result is Pigment Hunt. Three levels of Pigment collectin fun while avoiding oinkers full of… you guess it, pigment.
First Contest Ever
I’ve never entered a game contest before. I’ve always somehow found an excuse not to enter. This time was no different, it was Christmas and holidays, I had plans, my automatic response was no way. The plans changed once a friend of mine had to cancel last minute due to family reasons. No more excuses, I decided to give it a shot.
The rules were simple and fairly open, use Unity3D 3.5 Developer Preview and make a game or interactive presentation using the new Flash Export. Submit a link before the Jan. 5 deadline.
For the last couple of months I’ve been involved with a couple of freelance game projects. I’m happy to say that they are healthy and going well. Freelancing is something that’s new to me and I’m still trying to develop a better opinion about it, but currently the Freelance/Work On My Own Indie Game Projects hybrid works for me.
What’s one thing an indie game developer can do every day to improve upon his craft and keep the momentum of working on his game projects on daily basis?
It’s a common habit for fiction and non-fiction writers to write at least 1000 words per day rain or shine. The idea behind it is to practice their craft everyday and to create a consistent output outlet. This got me thinking about what could possible be the equivalent for indie game developers?
If only it was as easy as coming up with ideas, prototyping, creating gameplay, creating assets, testing, bug fixing, promoting, shipping etc. We’d all have several games finished and shipped by now. Unfortunately there is a whole new side to indie game development and arguably to most creative endeavors that constantly stops us from finishing our game projects. The following are my ten mental roadblocks/demons which I’m fighting on daily basis to finish and ship my games.
Animators use quick rough sketches of key poses. Artists use thumbnails. Successful comedians practice their jokes with a smaller audience first. The equivalent of quickly testing your ideas in games is prototyping. Here are my thoughts on the process.
Initially I didn’t plan to share this but now I think it could be fun. Over the last few weeks I’ve been challenging myself to recreate some of the classic game mechanics we all know and love with Unity3D. I find this a good practice, something perhaps equivalent to sketching or doodling. I’ve been using Unreal/UDK for the last few years, I thought I give Unity a try. I’ve managed to get several game mechanics/classic style games done. One of them was this remake of the classic table tennis type of gameplay.
Now some of you might think this game resembles that game which starts with P and ends with Ong. But I assure you that there are some major differences, the story is different with a different ending…