Posted on March 28, 2019
I got an idea for a game yesterday, basically, you play an alien and you sole purpose is to abduct people. I immediately found a game for mobile that was just about that, but it was a few years old, hadn’t had an update in nearly two years, and clearly had no retention .
Still, this started making me think about how I should go about doing research for an idea. It would be nice to just to come up with an idea, and then explode all over a unity file and have a game done. Obviously, this isn’t the right idea. So many of the ‘others’ mention researching as one of the first steps of developing a game. And by others , I mainly mean the youtoobers who youtube about their game making shenanigans , Thomas Brush, and Tim Ruswick to name a couple .
Obviously, researching should be done to see what the viable audience is, so looking at very similar games and seeing how well they did. Then to find the ‘model’ of the game idea, and identify the ‘improvement’ I plant to implement.
Then I have to develop the prototype. I did this for my pong clone, and I am glad I did, because it was at that point I realized how boring the game really was. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think every single person was super excited to see this game and play it, when it was 1980 , but these days, we need something a bit more involved and captivating . The prototype can not only tell us what and how to improve the game play, but if it is even worth playing in the first place.
Then comes polish and level development, and a whole lot of testing and so on. Probably the best part of making a game is at this point. Still, staying organized and not getting overwhelmed by my own mess is going to be paramount to success.
I am hoping to involve some people in the production process, namely someone who loves games and gaming and can come up with a good idea, test like mad, get others to test, and market the crap out of it, and develop levels and such. Would be a all star cast if I can get an artist as well, though I know a couple of people, I am not positive if they have the time to do it. I am thinking we will get the prototype in really good working order and then walk around the internet asking people to draw for us (lol) .
All of these projects are about love and passion, and getting our art to others, so involving more people and splitting the profits is a no brainier.
See….. this post is supposed to be about staying organized and proper planning, and I am not sure how effective that has been , but it has definitely been effective in showing how easily I can be distracted and start yammering on about random crap that might not even be related to the starting subject…… Gawd have mercy!
Posted on March 12, 2019
And the sad part is I knew this, I watched it walk away, and I actually would condemn myself for even thinking or wanting to play. It wasn’t until about five years ago, when I was fired for the first time in my cooking career and left to be on unemployment and jobless, I picked up my sons xbox after about ten years of not playing video games and fell in love with minecraft. I think I played everyday for about a month. I would take the kids to school, go to the store and buy coffee, soda, and some snacks, and then come home and play straight until I had to pick them up. I would battle through the guilt I felt because I wasn’t looking for work or working on anything else, but now I realize the beast I created all those years.
I started off my teenage years wanting to make video games, I started learning programming and had made a couple of games on my Mac PowerPC . I spent a few years going to college and working on music, getting accustomed to living on my own, and then my son was born.
I decided I was going to make money on my computer, and before I knew it , I was doing web development. I did that for a decade, never once thinking about games or anything creative, except for music here and there.
I probably have repeated this story a million times.
Part of this is the fact that I am a creative, and I haven’t created crap for about five years, since the last time I recorded some music.
In the span of twenty years, other than my music, I haven’t created crap. Every year, I say I am going to create an asset , something that is creative, that feeds my desire to create, and that can be sold.
Here I am, twenty years later, and I have nothing to show for all this time. So, its crunch time.
About ten years ago, I wanted to play D&D again, and bought a couple of books. Its hard to play when you haven’t played and you have no time. I wanted to write a book, but never really got around to it. I spent a couple of year studying the markets, no regrets, but I didn’t work on anything during that time. If you could see the history of my blog, it has been restarted, on average, once a year.
I say all of this, because this is it. I am deciding to be a game developer, and HAVE TO PUSH THROUGH in order to keep my sanity. I am having a mid life crisis, and I need to find my identity.
I tried to be a chef, and just couldn’t. I tried to be a web developer, and did well, but that ship has sailed. I am still a musician, and I could probably calm my nerves if I just made some music, but it won’t make me any money. So….. lets do this, RIGHT?
Well, once I did a few tutorials on untiy, and realized I am still completely capable of coding, and that its okay that I am not the greatest visual artist, it occurred to me I could make any game I wanted to. So, what do I make? I have to think of a game?…. which, twenty years ago, I could have come up with a million ideas a second, where right now, I am getting one a week. Sure, when I was a kid, out of a billion in a day, one might be a good one, but it wouldn’t have been just good, it would have been great. The one I am coming up with now,….. probably isn’t so great.
Where is that tap, that faucet , that flow of creativity? I remember it so well. Anyone can, if they just think about it, or watch a toddler play. They don’t care, they don’t judge, they don’t even care of the quality of the game they are playing. They make it up, as they go, they edit the rules, not to what favors who is playing, but to what favors more fun. When we are kids, we know exactly how to have fun, and even when were not on the mark, we play test until its super duper fun.
Sorry, I have no idea how to make this happen. But I do know that being aware of it, allows your mind to roll back the years of ‘adulthood’ .
Posted on March 11, 2019
So I decided that my blog is going to live in its own subdomain, making it to where my main site can be left alone with all of this non-sense. This blog has really just become a place for me to just blah blah about all the blah blah that seems to blah blah into my life.
When I made blog.davidkilmer.com , I then realized that I could my make pages for all of my games using subdomains , which, i don’t know, seems to make sense to me. I mean, the game could be a direct clone, or a useless game, but to me, it deserves the same treatment and I should practice being on top of it – from concept to publish, regardless of how crappy it is.
Tim Ruswick ( I hope I am spelling his name right ) said you should make a pong game for your first game. It was like, in his video where he says a lot of new devs ask “what game should I make” which is a question I have been awkwardly asking myself. I started to go into production on a game I started within a tutorial, and I felt like that was stupid as shit, I mean, I got the whole idea from a tutorial. Not just that, it really wasn’t that fun.
So I started about games that I could do, and hell, I know I could do anything I want, but I understand first hand how much work it is, so I want to do something I really want to do in order to promote finishing it.
And then my stupid ass is now enrolled in college, started last week. so really, when is this all going to happen? I have no clue. To make matter worse, I am pretty sure I am going to setup a portfolio page so I can start freelancing again, because I am broke as a joke and it just isn’t cool.
Games are, once again, being placed on the back burner.
Oh freaking well. I am going to make a pong game, not just cause to learn the ropes, but to do it. I also happened to watch a documentary on the rise and fall of Atari and of course there was a lot of talk about pong, things I didn’t even know, and that very same day, I watched Tim’s video about how you should make a pong game. I said, I am making a pong game!
Sparkle Seven Slap Ball! Sparkle, because there is going to be a lot of sparkling effects, Seven because it will be a seven point round, best out of three rounds, and Slap Ball because Slap starts with the letter ‘S’ and I didn’t want to call it pong.
The game will have a leaderboard, a input layer, a one player option so an AI , and a multiplayer which will allow you to play against anyone or play against a friend. port to computer first, than Android and then iOS, which makes me wonder if the game will automatically allow multiplayer among different platforms? The features not involving game play are going to be more of a learning curve than the actual game loop, which is why I think this will be important.
Anyways, upward and onward!
Posted on March 9, 2019
There is so much information out here, and so many talks done at game conventions is on youtube, it is mindblowing. A lot of this information, though given out freely, is extremely relevant, not just to this industry but any extremely competitive industry.
Just like in the game dev community , though it is so saturated and highly competitive, the people come together to aid, train, assist, and teach just as much as other communities that are just if not more competitive. Like day traders. An absolute zero-sum game, yet they are always trying to help one another.
My point is, it is important to keep these little tips in mind at all times.
” Do your research and get prepared “
This piece of information is priceless, and I know it before I have ever developed my first game, because it is absolutely true in any industry. The bottom line is still do what you want and be creative, but before you start, do your research and get properly prepared. Doing research prevents the possible waste of time working on a game idea that has already been done, and being prepared helps promote longevity in the project and to see it to the end.
” Start Marketing Now “
This one, I really have no freaking clue. I mean, I guess I am trying to market myself right here, but c’mon, how many people actually come here? I need to think about this and start the ball rolling. I don’t intend to be making any money off my first games, but I should be getting into the habit of it sooner than later. I just need to first figure out how I am going to do that.
I found a talk where the guy was the lead developer for a game that didn’t do as well as they were hoping, which got him into analyzing the available data to see where there product lacked. A lot of the data I believed was actually trend data, and though it was what it was, it will change, and has changed. The important thing here is, be connected. Knowing what is being released, playing these games, and being part of a community.
” Game Design “
When I was younger, there wasn’t as many designers and developers and therefor the market was lean and mean. There were many types of games never even thought of before, and that innovation gave plenty of room for new ideas. A design of a game and its mechanics should be organic, copying a game is not only shallow, but could be a major risk. Most clones do not make it, and therefor , the real challenge is coming up with a new idea.
As far as “new idea” , you probably won’t be as lucky to design a completely new sub-genre , but the way sub-genres were discovered was by just doing it. How WarCraft became the first ARPG and Wolfenstien was “3d” and Doom had less straight edges in it is an idea of great lengths. It can be a lot simpler as well, like machinegun toting heavy metal pigs, or a 2d character in a 3d world….. A simple mechanic is nothing without a good story and design.
So , this can be worrisome to anyone developing a game, because what if it isn’t that interesting, and how do you know. I think a big part of this is going to be solved by proper research, quick prototyping, asking friends and family, and then a group online that you can trust.
” Lean on your strengths “
This , I believe , is huge. I know that my strengths in order is Music and storytelling. I am not a very graphic person, and what I really mean is I can’t draw human faces or hands. So what, right? If my strengths were art and storytelling, would I not make a game because I can’t make music? The point here is, do what needs to be done, and figure the rest out. Since I know I can’t draw humans and humanoids, and I don’t have a budget to hire as of yet, design a game with no humanoids ….
” Become a prototype ninja “
The first order of business after the story is made, the mechanics are decided, and the research is done, make the prototype, and make it well. The prototype is litterally the foundation to the whole game, and this is where I will spend the most time on game play and feel, and mechanics. Since I am only focused on that, I can then write the code in the most cleanest way possible, allowing for expansion.
” finish the game “
This is obvious, but with anything, you have to finish it. This is great, because there is plenty in my life I haven’t finished, and I often think about how I will finish, but you have to finish.
This also requires that the scope of the project is something that is tangible and small. Creating a game that is unlike any other, or is a lot like all kinds of games would make the scope huge, and therefore, you would be working on the game forever.
Finishing the game requires a lot of planning, but it is also important to do a game you want to do, versus something you do not want to do. Being prepared and loving the idea of the game you are developing will better increase your odds of actually finishing ( so I hear ).
So obviously, there is a crap lot more info out there, but these are the few I am finding to be super important, not just for game development, but in life ( hence why I wanted to write about it ).
Posted on March 3, 2019
A lot of the conversations I am finding by developers who are on youtube and elsewhere, have a few very common points. One of my favorites, which has brought about a couple of ideas which may or may not be churning a larger idea in my mind is:
Play To Your Strengths
Well, what are my strengths? Sure, I am a somewhat savvy person when it comes to food and cooking, but I don’t think that would translate to well to a video game, and I have tried making it into a story…..
I am a musician, at heart, and to the core. Being a creative , this desire to create is much more the reason behind any of my adventures. So what is my biggest strength? Music. Heck, when I first decided to start attempting to develop a game again ( after some fifteen years of giving up on the idea of being a game developer ) was the desire to make the music.
So , this is great, even though it really is only great for myself, to realize that is my strength. Coming in second is my ability to at least code enough to get it working, I still need to work on organization of my code, but maybe we all feel that way? I don’t know, but I do know, that when my code breaks, its because I broke it trying to mess around in my messy code.
Music, kind of like code, is organized chaos. And within that organization, it either works, works well, or is complete shit. I feel that my ability to make music works really well, and my ability to write code, usually just works. Good, that is my strengths. I wish I could draw better, or even draw free hand, but I can’t do it all to well, and not even by a working standard. So, that will have to be the latter of my strengths. Obviously, the first person I will hire in my studio, is an artist. Fine, great, at least I know that 🙂
As I was thinking about music though, I started thinking about a game that would revolve around music , in some sort of way. Though, at this point, I feel like it might only be an aspect of the entire game premise, I still think it is at least a good start in the right direction.
The player, would be collecting musical elements, as the traversed through the level. So, at the beginning of the level, only ambiance could be heard, and maybe some residual from the post story. As they progressed, they would collect elements of what would play in the background as the music. The player than could end the level, in what would be a level with multiple exit points and different routes within the level leading to different elements at different times depending on the rout chosen. This would lead to a different song based on elements for each play.
The elements would be a eight or sixteen loop of an instrument, and maybe we could even find bridges, choruses, and leads to open the song even further.
Again, I feel this is only an aspect of the entire premise, I still haven’t really figured out the Who, Why, What or How as of yet.
I do feel like I want love to be part of it. Maybe, the protaganist is a lot like Eric Draven from the crow, a guitarist song writer who loses his and his finaces life to a group of gang members on Devils night.
Jesus hell, I really don’t want to remake the part of raising from the dead, or having a lifeline to a crappy ass bird, but the part of being separated from the love of his life could be the driving conflict that pushes the character to solve something in order to change the events.
Still a bit fuzzy on the Why the music and being in a situation to find it, but obviously the protaganist needs to be a starving artist. My most favorite part of the Crow was that Eric and his Fiance were living in a loft, not poor, but without much and yet in the presence of true love – the greatest riches of all.
Music embodies that feeling – something fleeting, yet something so ‘in the moment .
Our protagonist will be dead, and maybe his soul is now in a dimension, where he finds him self peiceing together music, which brings back memories, and slowly we find clues as to how we can set things right. Again, multiple endings to each level, as well as the entire game…….
I like this a lot. And from what I can tell, that means more than enough to start pecking ( no Crow pun intended ) away at this and turn it into something.
So, enough with the idea, I just simply googled “platform games that involve collecting music” and the first thing I find is this:
This game is about six years old, and was kickstarted for about 10k . The game is a bit wonky, but I love the idea of the sound effects being in harmony with the background music.
Still, my idea of collecting music seems to not be there. Good.
Also, I fell that this only a single aspect of game play. I feel there needs to be a larger quirk to the gameplay involving the music. I have no idea what they might be right now…..
Oh holy hell, a wikipedia page titled “list of music games”
Just a thought, because I don’t want to feel tied to a platform idea, but what would pixel art worlds look in first-person? I mean, besides MineCraft, do we have pixelated first-person games?
Part of me wants to do a platform because I know I would be most comfortable with it, but I know I shouldn’t be comfortable, because the further I reach , the more likely I will complete it.
I do believe the working title for this project will be:
Elegy for Eros
Posted on March 1, 2019
So that is what this might be, or not, I really don’t know. At this point in my life, I know that it is more important to go with it than to fight it. What exactly am I talking about? Well,…. this blog, my career, my goals, my need to create , blah blah blah. All first world problems, and that is why I don’t really care. It does , however, make me emotional at times. It has been about five years since I wrote any music, and for some strange reason, that is always a factor of sorts. Obviously, I need to make something, and now I am starring down the barrel of making something I have never, but always wanted to.
Part of me feels like I have spent a lot of my young adult years saying “this is it, this is what I am doing with my life” only to have it morph ever so much to become something else. I am beating myself up here, but at the very least, the very core, programming has been the reoccurring theme ( and ways to make money from it ).
First it was video games ( some twenty years ago ), and then it was web development, and then it was programming automated trading software, and then a four year hiatus to possibly give in to my years in the food industry, only to find myself back at the desire to make video games again.
Whatever, right? When I sought to go back to school last year, I saw an option for a Video Game Developer emphasis and went for it. I know software engineering is what I want to do, even if it was a shitty job, even the shittiest job in the tech industry would be more fitting for a father and husband than a chef position ( about the same amount of money, more in some regards, but better hours, paid time off, etc,… ) , and that is really what all of this is about. I do care about what I want to do, and I am not nervous about what I can do, it is more about adding value to the quality of my life versus adding just a numerical value.
Hence, the impulse to choose video game developer emphasis in my degree. Like, I know none of those classes that are in that emphasis will truly change the way I think and approach game development, but the out-loud declaration of my major was the first step to realizing that I had been hiding my true desire for about a decade.
Which also means I have been purposely keeping myself out of the loop, and more sadly, not even playing newer games ( except maybe minecraft ).
So now, I have haphazardly jumped into developing a game I have no heart about, but want to get back on that damn horse and ride. It would be the start of a bad habit if I don’t finish it, so I must finish it, even though it is scary and disgusting. But there is even more concerning questions and worries I have up ahead.
- What game would I feel passionate about?
- What would the premise of that game even be?
- How in the hell am I going to market myself?
I think an RPG would be the best. Or a story based action game…. I also love puzzle games. But, what would a premise be? Like, what would it be that makes my game unique? Hell, I have never even thought of this. One thing I came across was having the two opposing ideas mixed as one – something that is ironic, or in of itself, a free floating idea that could be almost anything. And really, the type of game and the premise would just be a matter of time before I thought of something great and unique.
More importantly, how would I market myself?
…… like, seriously.
Posted on February 25, 2019
The first game I am developing in Unity. No joke, I didn’t design or think of this idea on my own, it is a product of a tutorial I am taking on Unity. The basis of the game is you play a upright rocket that has to make it from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ .
Currently, I have the rocket, part of the start screen ( as you can see ), and part of the terrain for the first level. The player can jet, turn, and become destroyed when it hits the ground.
At the moment, I am placing a weapons system on the rocket.
Got the missle to shoot, but it is coming out of the top side of the rocket and going straight up without any relation to the ship. of course, I want the rocket to come out of the point of the rocket and go in that direction. This is a conversation of global versus local co-ordinates. The missle is being created with the same direction as the player, so obviously the force that is added needs to be locally co-ordinated by the missle ( always Z, or whatever ).
So when using Instatiate, you specify its position and rotation, obviously this is being called from the players script so we use its own transform. This gave the shot the correct orientation through the rotation, but getting it to be in front of the ship was proving to be not as I thought it would be. I figured I could just add to the local axis of the player, but it always seemed to use the global axis, versus the local, even when I specified the local position. So I realized ( after a bit of constant going back and forth ) that some sort of math was needed to realize its position and rotation to calculate what was the “in front” location.
A simple google search showed me the constant transform.forward which than could be multiplied to make it far enough out that it woulden’t collide on creation with the player.
Now I want to make a block that blows up. I found a code tutorial that made the block disappear and be replaced by a new block that was made up of a bunch of blocks. This should be fairly easy and straight forward, but the next step would be making it to where only so many of the blocks are removed depending on the shot explosion ( aka the shields in space invaders or the ground in lemmings ).
Here we go!
Posted on February 24, 2019
So I start school next week, to finally finish the degree I started some twenty years ago. Odd, I became the guy I said I wouldn’t become when I was a naive jerk-wad eighteen year old. Here I am, finally wised up enough to realize I do need a degree.
Currently, and for the last twenty years, I have worked in the food industry, eventually becoming a chef, and now I am too ( only 36 ) old to do it any more. Being a chef is great, but you work lame hours and never see your kids or your wife.
On the side, I have been working as a web developer, completely ignoring my true love; video gaming.
So guess what this monkey is now and forever focused on…??? You got it, GAMING! Cause that is me, and I like it. Am I good at it? don’t care, cause I love to do it, so lets freaking get to it.
I have setup unity, and have found that my years of experience in OOP has given me a huge advantage over most. Also, freaking Unity!? Am I Right?! I mean, if you were born in the early eighties, like I was, and realized you could potentially make games in the early 90’s , the first thing you would hit was the need to learn calculus and start developing a 3d engine. Every single thing had to be done in code, and no one in their right mind would just hand you a 3d engine without you first paying in human sacrafices. Now, fast forward 25 years, and there is a GUI based 3d engine being handed out for freaking free! I mean, now what is your excuse!
So I got a Udemy course on Unity and started learning how to use the main engine. Thankfully , I won’t need to take any C# classes, CAUSE I ALREADY KNOW IT!
I am working on a couple of the tutorials and working them to a completion for practice. A couple of things I am really curious about is how to model and then obviously, how to animate.
Finishing a game I have given the code name: Red Rocket. The tutorial game was a 2d game in a 3d realm where you pilot a dam rocket from point A to point B without touching anything.
The next one is a rail shooter where you are a space ship flying through to kill bad guys. so fun 😀
I want to make a game to practice animation, and hopefully figure out modeling, but to start with a simple main character and bad guys in order to keep the emphasis off of art and focus on game play until I figure out a way to work around my inability to draw an attractive stick figure.
Now, I am finding myself thinking about game play and what kind of games I really want to make. I want to focus on VR, but I know the money right now is in mobile, and I still want to make controller based games…. so, maybe over thinking it could paralyze me.
For now, just one thing at a time until I get it going and find a rythem. The learning phase of programming is the best, and you are always learning. And it is important to just keep focused on game play, and not art.
My most exciting part of all of this? Making music for my games. Seems like a lot of work just to end up with more work to do, but it is the part I am looking forward to the most.