The time has come for me to do something I have wanted to do for over 20 years. It is time for me to build my first game.
I have flirted with the idea of building a game for 25 years. I read through “The Black Art of 3D Game Programming” while I was in college. I used that book to build a couple graphical programs, but not any games. I have always run into a couple roadblocks.
The first roadblock was my lack of knowledge about how to build a game engine. There is a lot of low level knowledge required to build an engine from scratch. Yes, I could learn how but that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to build a game. The effort required to get even the simplest thing on the screen became a big deterrent to me.
The second road block is my lack of artistic ability. Obviously graphics are a huge part of video games. Not being able to draw something quickly stopped me in my tracks.
The good thing is both of these roadblocks can be overcome today. The first one can be overcome by using one of the free engines out there, like Unity. The second can be overcome by finding free resources online, such as Kenney Game Assets.
It is with these 2 things in mind that I have decided it is time to put up or shut-up.
There are 2 types of games I have wanted to build over the years.
- A Zelda-type adventure game
- A shoot-em-up (shmup)
Chris Zukowski over at How To Market A Game recommends building something small for your first game. He reasons the main, overarching goal of your first game is to get something released. If you are too ambitious, you will end up spending years on something that never gets released. By building something small, you can get a game published, which will help build momentum.
I agree with him. That momentum is key. In the end, I don’t want to just build a game. I want to build a game company.
Building a successful company requires steady income. There are 3 ways to accomplish this:
- Build a product or service people need regularly
- Build a new product for your current customers
- Market your product to a bigger and bigger audience
Free-to-play games use model #1. Game like Candy Crush are designed to continually bring current customers back.
Big Triple-A publishers and developers use model #2. Think Activision releasing a new Call of Duty game or EA releasing a new Madden every year.
Model #3 is used in conjunction with both models 1 and 2. However, there are diminishing returns to this. Games sell the best closest to release. Building a bigger audience is good. However, a game studio must engage in either model 1 or 2 if they wan to survive.
I want to build a company that is self-sufficient. I want this to become a full-time gig. The first step to making that happen is completing and releasing my first game.
It is with this in mind that I have decided to build a shmup. A Zelda-like adventure game would require more time and effort than I have right now. A shmup, however, is much simpler to build.
I am going to be fleshing out the design of the game I am going to build over the next few weeks. Be sure to sign-up for my newsletter to get updates on how I am doing!