Game Dev Haikus

I want some coffee
Consistently it’s crunch time
Yet I’m still happy

Programming is hard
Which is why I always strive
For the Ballmer’s peak

Working for hours
On a feature no one will
ever care about

Making games is fun
Also making games is hard
So don’t be stupid

Creativity
Is an awesome force to have
To steal ideas

Complex mathmatics
Intricate logic problems
All for boob physics

Narrative in games
Is still in its infancy
Go and save the world

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The Top 5 Pros of being Indie

SubliminalGaming

A few days ago I did The Top 5 Cons of being Indie to let those know some of the down sides of going into indie game development. I hope I didn’t sound too whiny. So to put the other side of the perspective here are the Top 5 Pros of being Indie!

5) You get to work your own hours.

Don’t like sunlight? Want to sleep past 1pm? Don’t want to work today at all? Hey that’s cool if being indie is your only thing! Being indie means that you get to shape your time how you want with your production. This is a cool freedom that many people don’t get but its also a challenge that you have to face. If you don’t take time to make games then you’re not a game developer.

4)You get to work where you want and wear what you want.

Game Dev on a side walk in Santa Fe

Game Dev on a side walk in Santa Fe

These two I mashed together because in some ways you have to be mindful of what you wear if you’re out. Now if you work at home the entire time and only want to wear those space invader socks while you program thats cool, but it might get you arrested if you’re working at the Starbucks down the street. But yes you get to decide where you are when you’re working. Heck the developer of Incredipede,  Colin Northway, travels around the world as he works on his games. So enjoy being naked while working in the rainforest!

3) You get to tell people you’re an Indie Game Dev

Being indie is like being a pixelated wizard

Being indie is like being a pixelated wizard

This one may sound like a cop out but seriously it’s a cool perk! Think about it, there’s still a sense of mystery and allure to game design because of the higher wall to climb to actually make games. This sense of wonder still keeps the masses in awe of the creation process and makes you seem like the wizard in the high tower tinkering with the elements of the world. When you tell people who are interested in playing games an energy begins to emerge as you two converse about running the magic behind the scenes of this amazing medium. Just remember to keep your ego in check and to inform them instead of gloating to them.

2) The community

Game developers are really awesome and this comes from the eclectic cross disciplinary skills required to make interactive experiences. You can talk to someone for hours just on the narrative aspects of game design or the creation of shaders or awesome techniques artistically for 3d modeling or pixel art. Yes you can talk to them about games and game development but also when you start talking about things outside of games is pretty great. Architecture, theatre, quantum physics, humanities, pop culture, business practices, travel, Doctor Who, sports, economics, cosmetology, horseback riding, and the proper way to say the plural form of platypus are all things I have talked about with game developers both from the indie realm and the corporate, and there’s a ton of stuff I left off. The community is great and is only to become greater as more people enter the industry.

1) You get to create what you want

That freedom to create, it’s intoxicating, sought after by so many, obtained by so few. It’s a scary place to be and exhilarating all at the same time. It’s romanticized so much because it deserves to be. You get to create anything you want, however shallow or deep, terse or subdued, is all up to you.

If you want to create you can and you don’t need to worry about someone telling you no because the investors are not aligned with your idea. If you want to make a text based MUD that describes the various methods of polishing marbles then you go out and make it! Perhaps you could get a KickStarter and grab for the marble polishing enthusiast.

It’s ok to be silly, or dramatic, or be purely about the gameplay. It’s your creation. Just remember, because you have the freedom to create you also have to take whatever good or bad comes from that. You could make a hit and make millions or you could create a game that will gain you death threats (probably cause you made a game that made millions).  So enjoy your freedom and don’t be a prick.

 

Edit: (Additional Pro) Showing your game to people (and they like it)

It makes you feel happy 😀

Well those are the Top 5 Pros of being Indie! Make sure to check out the Top Five Cons as well!

If you liked this please share with your friends and family and whoever else using those spiffy share buttons.

Comment if you would like to converse with others who read this post!

And if you want to follow and tweet at me on twitter you can @Subliminalman

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The Top 5 Cons of being Indie

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Me with my cats by @Shandiin Woodward

So I wanted to write this to give an insight on being an indie game developer in Albuquerque where the game dev scene isn’t too big. I’m going to do the Top 5 Pros of being Indie later.

5) Not having a “real” job

The people around you judging you believing that you do not actually work. This one is due to the fact that a lot of people will be very judgemental on what you are doing with your life. I work on my game a lot but from an outside perspective people will think that you are not doing anything or what you are doing is a waste of time. This is due to the fact that people believe that making games is like playing games and that you’re just being lazy or because they do not believe that games are a viable means to make money, especially in a indie setting. Who could blame them? When you’re starting out you usually have to rely on an outside source of money whether it be parents, a partner, friends, and you usually work at home or in a public setting like a coffee shop.

4) Low / No Income

Making games is hard and takes a lot of time. If you do not have a financial backing it makes it even harder. I have to take on an additional job in retail and am doing a contract job for an additional game. This stretches me but I have to do what I do at the moment, especially to get to things like IndieCade. If you do not have a hit or if you are working on your first title then this is one of the harder truths to come to.

3) Showing people your game

It is scary. Seriously. What if they don’t like it? It is hard to separate yourself from your work in this manner even if the game doesn’t have a special artistic message or anything. You put hundreds to thousands of hours into this game and then someone dismissing it kills you on the inside.  Getting past that and taking their feedback without being defensive (which is super hard) to apply it to improve your game takes a practice of patience and the ability to break down what they’re trying to actually say about your game.

2)Social Segregation

If you are really trying to be an Indie Game Dev then you will work long hours and not have a social life. You will miss out on parties, hanging out, and face to face social interaction with your friends. It sucks, seriously. I try to go every once in a while but many times it’s perceived like I’m just trying to fill a social quota so I don’t have to talk to my friends for a few more months.

1) Depression

I’m excited about my game coming out and I can’t wait for people to play it! Just really blows that it’s not out yet and it feels like I’m stuck. This can happen on longer dev cycles and when you’re working on something you want polished. At the beginning things are faster and you see things being made really quick but a few months in you are dealing with a large code base. It can be depressing when you work for a few days and your game still looks kinda the same because you are working on trying to speed up load times, or optimizing code so you have more memory to work with, or a new feature that needs to be implemented that is a small addition but adds to the aesthetic of the game. This can happen especially if you’re on a small team since you have more hats to wear and have to do more. Just make sure to have an outlet and keep goals in mind.

This article makes it sound like its all bad but it most definitely is not! Check out the Top 5 Pros of being Indie!

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The Role of the Console.

So I noticed many hardcore gamers questioning why people still use consoles and why they don’t just jump over to PC. This is coming after the reveal of Xbox One from Microsoft which caused much confusion within the gaming community, my self included, when they (kind of) made their stance on used games which sounds like you will have to pay a fee to play them. First of all this upsets me. Microsoft is pushing games as a licensed service rather then keeping them product based. From their view this makes perfect sense seeing the success of the software sold for their use not the ownership with their operating systems. So now I must think what is the role of the console.

I’ve been playing games since I was 2 or 3 and I always thought of it like buying a book. You purchase the book from a store and you can do what you want with it whether it be reading or burning, it didn’t matter since it was mine. I lived near my best friend Perry and our favorite games included things like 007 Golden Eye, Smash Bros, and pretty much any racing game on the N64. We both had the console and we would walk to each other houses with the games that the other didn’t own so we could play splitscreen multiplayer. Just slap the cartridge into the slot and power on. Simple. Thats what a console is supposed to be, simple. We did not have any restrictions on what we could do with the game except for the actual game rules, which we would often break anyways.

So the role of the game console is to be an easy to use appliance type of device that plays games purchased, rented, or borrowed. It’s the family device, or if you rather the community device. Much like the television where many people gather around to watch the console is used to bring one or more person to the device. This is where it differs from other gaming devices such as computers, phones, or mobile gaming devices like 3DS or Vita. These devices, while still able to create a small audience, are not meant to  have multiplayer within the same screen space. If you are having a gaming experience on these devices they are usually single player, meaning that one player on one device, and depend on digitally downloaded titles except 3DS and Vita which can use physical storage devices.

Nobody got time for used games!

Xbox One

So does the gaming experience as appliance still have relevancy within todays world where everything is being tailored suited to each consumer and there is always a personal screen within pockets reach? I hope so. This may age me, which feels weird, but I personally don’t want to lose the experience that console gaming provides. I hope it expands with the generation of Wii U, PS4, and Xbox One, but what Microsoft and potentially Sony are doing with Digital Rights Management seems underhanded and not thinking of the consumer. If they fail I hope they fail fast and correct their mistakes to make a better game market.

So tell me what you think of the new generation of consoles and if we should all just jump ship to PC.

Also follow me on twitter @Subliminalman

 

edit: 6/5/13 11:57am fixed Digital Media Rights to the actual term Digital Rights Managment.

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Pixel Art for a Pixel Party

So my birthday just passed and I am going to be having a pixel party to celebrate. Why a pixel party? Because I love video games. If you’re reading this and couldn’t tell that then you haven’t been here long.

Here’s some of the pixel art that has been created by my girlfriend Shandiin Woodward and one by me. Guess which one.

Tell me what you think in the comments below and follow me on twitter @Subliminalman

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I want to show you so badly!

Oh man I am tired. Like that kind of tired where if you were walking in front of a cop they  would make you perform a sobriety test and you would fail. That kind of tired. Not that I’m complaining really. Actually I’m kinda happy about it. I’m working hard on something that I would love to show but can’t. Well I can, but I won’t.

It actually is really hard for me right now not to show the masses, if you want to call my blog audience the masses which I do, because I know that it is not good showmanship. If you reveal your climatic piece before providing ample build up it comes off bad. Really bad. So we must wait.

But I do want to show you. So at the vary least I can tell you we’re getting our current game ready for the Game Developer’s Conference to show the industry. So you can expect an announcement then and not me being an ass talking about how I can’t tell you about our spectacular game.

So why did I write this post? Well I have the predicament of funding. Yes the bane of a many an indie project. No, no I’m not asking for money. At least not yet. I’m going forward continuing development where I can and planning for what needs to be done once I am able to get the tools I need. If you’re wondering what could be so important that we actually need money instead of building our own tools then here let me tell you.

We work with Unity 3D. Yes it’s true. I love that game engine. But damn is it expensive! I know its no Crytek, or Unreal and they’re supposed to be great with indies, which they are, but forking over $3700 per seat for what we need is still crazy expensive!

Yes we need it. No I don’t want to waste time making my own engine that does multiplatform. Do I want to do crowdfunding? Maybe. I’m looking at doing other things for money to, like extreme garage sales, or since I live in Albuquerque following in the footsteps of Walter White.

 

Whatever happens, I know that it will be ok. You will enjoy the game. Cause if you don’t then I will have to slap you.

It’s going to be world changing.

I guarantee it.

 

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The Legend of Example!

So if you didn’t know this about me before then you’re going to learn it now! I teach for the University of New Mexico in Los Alamos! Yep it’s true. I teach Middle and High Schoolers how to make Video Games! What’s really cool about that is this is going to be my fourth year teaching, that means I’ve been teaching since a little after I graduated High School.

Now you’re probably wondering how I got this cool little job. Well if you’re not

Oh man what was I thinking?

wondering (which I never really do when somebody says that I’m probably wondering)  then I’m going to say it anyways. Back in early 2009 I went to UNM to go to a local Game Developer’s event. I happened to be starting a little program with a bunch of schools in Albuquerque to create an after school club to teach video game development so I brought along fliers. About mid day I met someone (unfortunately I do not remember his name… I should look it up) and handed him a flier (they looked like shit by the way) and he asked if I could take this program up to Los Alamos. I quickly said yes. Two weeks later I get an email and I’m hired! I’m so awesome.

Well today I am going to show you the game the kids are going to make this year! I seriously just finished it 15 minutes ago and still have to write all of the documentation for it. Also I need it to be tested so put bug reports in the comments below.

May I present to you the amazing, stupendous, exhilarating  game

The Legend of Example


Arrow keys to move, Space Bar to Attack

This game took me about 40 hours to complete which is unfortunately a bit long  for my usual development cycle. It was created in Stencyl Works which is the first time I ever used that engine, hence the long cycle. The game is set in a mysterious dungeon and you have to go up against some pretty fierce monsters and solve mind bending puzzles to get the grand prize in the amazing treasure chest!

If you didn’t notice, yes it is a Zelda clone. Why? Because I like Zelda and it is a great starting game for beginners since it covers a lot of the bases. You may be wondering why no items. Well I want to leave that to the kids. They get all of the basics here so with a little guidance within my handouts they will be able to make things like bombs and arrows. If they’re really daring then they can make a boomerang also. Thing is we only have a week so those really are extras.

Maybe I should dress up like the old man…

I could totally pull it off

Right Click and Save to download the game here! 

Well tell me what you think of the game in the comments below, share the game on twitter and facebook, and download this cool desktop wallpaper!

Just looking at it makes you more awesome!

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