News Archive for ‘Game Making’
A great movie I watched recently was Indie Game The Movie recommended to me by Marty. I highly recommend watching it to see a sort of different side of game making. The maker of Fez has a really rough time with lawsuits and the whole process in general. He ends up quitting game making after the 4 year development of Fez. It goes to show that sometimes it can be very rough and stressful dealing with it financially. It's definitely worth a watch, also has great success as well like Edmund's game Meat Boy.
Finishing a simple small game is better than having 9,999 small projects you never finish. That's my opinion. The hardest part of game making is finishing the damn game. The first 50% is always smooth and fun. Ideas flow out quicker and easier then soft serve icecream. Yet once you throw all your mash of ideas in and need to start doing some "real coding" not just prototyping. Then all of a sudden your motivation hits a wall faster than a kamikaze plane.
This is when you gotta push though. I guarantee you'll learn more about game making by finishing that game off. Those final polishing teaks give you so much information back on what's popular and what will do. Even if the game you release is a failure and lots of people don't like it, it still gives you valuable information about your audience and what to work on next. Basically finishing a game gives you your kick start to game making. You gotta take it from there.
I finished a few small test games in school for fun. More practice than anything, but it wasn't till I finished Draw-Play and got it sponsored that I really got the biggest motivation boost possible. It was my first sponsored game, I only got $400 which is ironic because I've gotten thousands for bigger games that have done a lot worse. When it's your first sponsor deal you will get offered a lot less. You have to start somewhere. I then went on to sell the sequels for thousands though and so begun my game making.
FINISH YOUR GAME. Even if you have to force your eyes open. Stab your leg with a pen to force ideas out. Drink copious amounts of coffee to stay focused. Just get it done. Once done you will feel this enourmous burden lift off your shoulders and you realise you could have made it so much better. Finish it, don't realease it just yet, polish it and watch as the last 10% of your game you finish truly makes it shine.
FINISH YOUR UNFINISHED PROJECTS!
A major step to making games is to remain optimistic and keep on dreaming. The fact is indie game development is not an easy career to take. In fact most people will end up broke and only keeping it as a hobby. Even though I myself have been successful in the past, it's slowing down a lot now. I will have to evolve a few things with the times like getting onto mobile. Either way that means you have to keep staying optimistic and keep your eye on the prize. If you can forget about the money and just enjoy the game making then you will do a lot better.
Work on an idea you love and slowly build it up from the ground and eventually you will have a great adventure for people to play. None of these great games are done as quick as you think. Just add a little bit each time and don't stress out or put yourself down. You will quickly head towards burnout otherwise. A lot of game devs burn out thinking they can survive on simply heart and mi goreng. Even though you can get pretty far doing this. Trust me, you will hit a wall after a time.
I leave you with this great picture to inspire you. (Right click open image on it for bigger size)
Ahh level design. It's a subject that makes you excited and want to cry at the very same time. When you've got everything done in your game except for the levels it feels scary. Sometimes enough to make you procrastinate. I should know, I'm a professional procrastinator. I should get a certificate or something!
The key thing with level design is to make it challenging but not frustrating to the players. It's not easy though. I've made something like 10-15 level based games each with say 20-40 levels. That's around 300 levels in total, give or take 50. It's insanity to even think that I've made that many over time. Even though I've had so much practice I still fall into the old guilty traps every single time. I make levels too frustrating or difficult. It's why the The Unfair Platformer was so great for me because all I had to do was design levels like an asshole and people loved it. Do that in a normal game however is bad :P
First of your first levels are always the easiest to make as you can introduce each new type of feature in your game and make that the focus of the level. After that is when it starts to get tricky. A general goal is to make the puzzle seem obvious to solve but they need to work out how. This gives people a sense of reward when they work out a goal from start to finish. If you make it so they need to guess too much they will feel they are doing something too random.
Stuck for level ideas? Try these tips
- Base an entire level on a particular feature
- Put the start and end close together and make them do a full circle of everything to get back
- Make them use a specific game feature in each area so it becomes more useful as time goes on
- Make the last level really hard, and the first level really easy. Then work in between for a difficulty curve.
- Make a big object in the middle the level focus's on that interacts with everything
- Get friends to have a go making a level, maybe make a level editor.
- Play level based games in the same genre to get ideas.
- Drink 99 cups of coffee till life seems like a level and draw it (just kidding... or am I)
- Filler levels can expand on earlier levels with adding in more enemies on the same puzzle
These are some general tips to pump out some levels. The more you make and the more games you play you'll start to see general patterns in game design on what levels are used often. It's when you're past the first 10 levels you really can show how smart you are as a game designer to come up with intricate traps that really make them think without pushing them to anger. It's not easy. What may seem easy to you, will be hard to someone else as they haven't made the game from scratch like you so it won't come naturally so be careful and have a lot of people test the game.
Good luck, level design is a science as much as an art. So experiment with lots of ideas.