A new post just in time for the new year. Hello again, I’m Sutorcen and today we will continue our discussion about lessons learned in game development. So let’s get down to the rough parts.
Lesson #6 – No one cares about your idea
Yes, noone does and chances are your idea sucks too. Actually that is not entirely true. People might care about your idea once you show them something tangible, concept art, a demo level, something. I had to find this out the hard way when I tried to assemble a team to make this game. Many people joined, but even more reacted badly to the “idea man”. There is a reason why. It’s like someone knocking at your door asking you to leave everything behind and follow them because they’ll make you rich and famous. Would you follow them or would you think they are insane? If you want to convince people that you are serious about game development, do just that, make a game. Make a simple video game for your friends to play. Prove, first and foremost to yourself that you have it in you and then maybe convince someone else too. Just make a game.
Lesson #7 – No one will make your game for you
Just as noone cares about your idea, noone will make your game for you either. Unless you have a friend, crazy as you that wants to make video games. Unless you have a stack of cash, then chances are you are alone in this. You see, people who want to make video games are actively pursuing it and are not waiting for your or my idea. It is common practice to send emails or to approach game developers with an idea, asking them to bring it to life. Even I have received such emails. My friends too have great ideas that they believe I should turn into a game. It doesn’t work that way. If you want to make a game, make it yourself or find like minded people. In this day and age with everything at our disposal there is no excuse for not finishing a game. None. It doesn’t have to be the equivalent of Uncharted or Mass Effect, just make a simple shoot em up, an endless runner, a first person adventure, something, but do it. If you are not willing to put the time and effort to finish your game, why would anyone else do it for you?
Lesson #8 – Being a gamer and being a creator are two different things
Did you ever have a dream that you are up on a stage, rocking the crowds? Have you tried learning to play an instrument? If you already know hot to play one, have you released a song? Chances are most of you haven’t. Just because you have been listening to music all your life doesn’t mean you can be a rock star, just like that. You might learn to play an instrument but it will take time and practice to be good at it. The same apples to game development. Just because you are a gamer doesn’t mean you will become a creator or a game designer and a good one to boot. If you believe that, then please, make a game, what ever you like. Chances are most of you will try but will not finish it. But, you know what? It’s fine, because game development may not be for you. It takes dedication, sacrifices, hard work, a lot of guts and luck, let’s not forget that, to succeed in anything you do. Most of all creating video games is a calling, it’s the labour of love, it is magic. So when you begin your journey as a game developer, keep those things in mind, because it will not be an easy one.
Lesson #9 – Time is of the essence, and you won’t get it right
Planning and time management are essential almost in all aspects of our life, even more so video game development. You might think that since you are alone you can manage your own time efficiently. That may be true. The fact is you don’t when you’ll catch a cold, your computer will break or something will come up in your life. That is working solo work with other people the above problem multiplies exponentially. Always put some buffer in your planning, always. If you think you will finish a task at a given time, calculate that it will take you twice as much. Just to be on the safe side. Usually I advise fellow developers to not compare themselves with the big companies, but when it comes to time management, please do. Not because they do a fine job with their time management. Because despite the specialized personnel they have for this kind of job they too fail to be on schedule. So will you, so will I. It’s OK, it is normal, as long as you have prepared for it. Always put some buffer in your timetable, always.
Lesson #10 – Guard your ideas
Although noone cares about your idea, there are many out there that will not hesitate to steal it. Most of us romantics are just happy and excited to exchange ideas about games, stories, gameplay mechanics and such. But, there are a lot of people out there who don’t think this way. As a teacher once taught me, there are no original ideas, only a clever rearrangement of existing ones, even so, everything starts from an idea. So guard that idea, with an NDA or whatever works for you and start working on making it a reality.
Lesson #11 – Made a game? Congratulations, first step complete
Well you know what they say, you never forget your first time. It is the same when you actually finish your first game. It is like conquering a mountain or passing a huge gate into another, beautiful world where the first thing you see in front of you is another steep mountain for you to climb and conquer. Welcome to the game development club.
That’s all for now. If what I wrote sounded a bit arrogant or even aggressive, I am sorry. As most people will tell you, developing games is a tough journey, especially in the beginning. Maybe you love video games deeply and you truly believe that you might actually make one. Maybe you are just naive or a romantic… in a good sense. Either way, my goal with these posts is to spare you the pain and humiliation you will face when full of passion and naivete you will pitch your “awesome” idea to the world. My one and only advice to you is to keep making games no matter what. Keep trying even when you fail, which you will many times. You will make a lot of mistakes, and fail again, but don’t give up because it’s the best and only way to learn. Until next time check out our news and tutorials. Form everyone here at Hotgates we wish you all a happy New Year.