DevBlog Indie Game #1 : Join me on my Journey

Stardate : 6 May 2020

For a long time now I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a game.

NO – my first game won’t be a huge space odyssey. Instead, it will be a 2D single and multiplayer card, board, or platform game. Hopefully, it will be a game that is full of strategy, wonder, fantastic art, and will be highly replayable (Not asking much).

In this blog series, I am going to document my journey into game development. I’m hoping it will work out – but it may just as easily crash and burn.

And so the journey begins…

I guess it all started when I was browsing the Subreddit gameideas.

Sadly, it contains lots of game ideas that will never see the light of day. However, occasionally, a hidden gem appears. With a bit of tweaking and lateral thinking, I figured I could take one of the ideas to use as the basis of a game I could tackle.

My criteria were that it needed to be a fairly new idea and that it needed to generate a fair amount of discussion. My thoughts were that if people were discussing the idea (in a positive way), then it probably has a potential market if the idea could see the light of day.

With the advent of Covid-19 and being locked down at home for weeks on end, I figured it was a great time to start exploring the idea to see what I could achieve.

Having been a software developer with several vertical market packages in my business life, I probably already had the programming and business skills I needed to have a chance at succeeding.

My programming skills could easily take care of the logic behind the scenes. However, my drawing and art skills are an entirely different story.

For me, drawing anything other than a stick figure would be a real problem.

With graphics as one of my biggest challenges, I quickly came to the conclusion that a 2D game would give me the best chance of success.

If I can’t draw a stick figure, the thought of managing a moving 3D model was well beyond my capabilities.

At first, I thought I might develop the game using C# and creating my own framework around some assets I could purchase from the Unity store. But after lots of research, and many sleepless nights, I decided that I would be better off looking at an established framework that would eventually integrate with Steam.

The top candidates turned out to be Unity or Gamemaker Studio 2D. Both of them have graphic and sound handling built-in, could work with network games and could be published to Steam (if I ever succeeded enough to be considered an indie game developer)

It turns out there are a lot of resources available for game developers. Buying graphics and sound packs are not that expensive. To my surprise, many of the assets on the Unity store contain PNG files that can be used in other development platforms. There are also plenty of super talented artists on Fiverr.com

When it came to game mechanics, looking at some of the top games on BoardGameGeek would become my go-to source.

Finally, I wanted the game to eventually allow multiple players to battle it out over a network (not a problem), but I also wanted the game be to be playable by a single player at home. It quickly became obvious that I would have to learn about game AI. Right now, I’m not sure where I will find out how to write the AI, but I also thought that as I got deeper into the indie game scene, I would be able to find something (or someone) that could help.

I am realistic about the timeframe. The journey could easily take 6 months to a year (or even longer). Developing a minimum viable product/game is the top priority. I can always go back and make it look pretty once I know it will work.

If you are keen on following along, subscribe to my blog. I will post regular updates.