Week 0 – Rationale

As you might have read in the sidebar, I am a 29-year-old Software Engineer currently working in the Netherlands at a major financial institution. I have a great team and we are specialized in mobile, cloud and (less and less) web development. As much as I love this job, I’ve always had the dream of developing my own game.

Due to planning and prioritization problems, I’ve started a lot of projects, but didn’t finish any one of them. This eventually led to my close ones ridiculing me last week when we had a discussion about our New Year’s resolutions; I told them I would love to create a game and they didn’t take me serious. And I can’t blame them, as this is indeed, by far, not the first time I’ve said that.

So this got me thinking. Starting a lot of projects did give me a lot of experience (which among others gave me my job), but did not result to anything other than education. I have decided to shift my New Year’s resolution a bit:

Finally create and finish my game by the end of the year.

This blog is serving as a stick, or lever, to kind of force me to measure and share the progress of this project. I think it might be a great way to keep motivated. I also hope my experiences can help others, or at least be entertaining to read.

The game

I love movies like Ocean’s 11, Logan Lucky, Heat and Going in Style. The ‘heist’ theme clicks with me, it’s an interesting thing to get the audience identifying with someone doing something that is not considered moral. Gameplay-wise, this gives me a lot of freedom.

So that sets the theme. Now mechanics. I love games that make you think and gameplay that is not linear. I’d like the player to control one or more characters, from a top-down perspective. The characters can interact with the world, and the world reacts to the player’s actions. Think Commandos combined with Hitman.

I want the game to be played on traditional gaming platforms (PC, Consoles) as well as a mobile version (at least iPad/tablet). As mobile development is one of my passions, I have a strong belief in the platform. Also, I think a touch interface is very suitable for strategy type games, and I think it is underused. The release of Civilization VI on iPad showed us that there is a place for triple A games on iPad and other tablets. If you are still not convinced, think about what way Nintendo is heading with its latest console.

The challenge

I think the game described above is both interesting enough, as challenging enough. It is not something that is going to be finished in a few weeks, but also not something that is going to take multiple years. This blog is going to ensure I am going to justify every decision. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to help me prioritizing when you feel I’ve lost track or am biting off more than I can chew.

To start the project, these are the first issues that I have on my mind right now:

  • I will need to use a Game Development Platform like Unity or Unreal. Probably Unity because I love C# and have some experience with it. I have the knowledge to code a game engine myself, but I already feel like this projects is going to be huge, so I need take a shortcut like this whenever it is possible. Also, Unity can target all platforms I’d like to target without much effort. Win for me. Don’t you agree? Leave a comment!
  • Programming is my strongest skill. So things like game logic, AI, technology and performance is going to be something I’m very comfortable with. Given the game I have envisioned, this is going to be the make or break for the gameplay.
  • 2D and 3D Graphics are my weakest skills. I know that and it will take me a lot of time. Also, for every hour I spend on graphics, someone else can do better in 10 minutes. I have a (small) budget for graphics (2D stuff like UI, and 3D stuff like models and animation). This is going to be a challenge, as I really want the game to look gorgeous. I will have to settle for something that is not photo-realistic. I am thinking of a rather stylised and low-poly look, but not too ‘jolly’ that it becomes cartoony.
  • I have a big passion for sound and music. I want to do a lot myself, but as with graphics, I think it might be a better choice to outsource some of it to someone else. I think most of my time will be best spent in the code and Game Editor.
  • I am going to target iPad first, PC second. If there is time, I might go into consoles.
  • I need to keep motivated. I am highly motivated at this moment, but I usually lose motivation partway in. This is going to be a problem in a few months (tops). I need to find a way to fix this before that happens. Please help..!

Don’t Quit
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

– Edgar A. Guest

  • Thanks for reading! I would love to hear from you!