First of all I know no great coder who is not interested in games. Some love slow paced ones while outdoorsy geeks (yes they do exist) will have a go with any type that requires all those reflexes some just won’t develop. At some point in their lives they might have wondered how the hell is this done? Wouldn’t it be cool to make such a thing? I’d love to do that.
And so they went, getting into computing fueled by a passion for creating worlds they own and command. Back in the days you would see these guys at the arcades, hanging around computer labs and dreaming of owning one of those magnificent machines they can create their universe on. I’m talking about the 80s.
Many took the classes, went through all that necessary crap that comes with getting a degree one would not care about in the future and here they are. Some graduated and have decent paying “software engineer” positions working for a multinational corporation doing who knows what. But a percentage of these so called engineers dream of games. They own the latest gadgets but they do not have the one thing that would enable them to make games: Time. Working 9-5 sucks and many have families or other obligations but they still think of doing projects on the side. Unfortunately many never even get started.
How many thought: man…I’ll be building the greatest game of all, I’ll be rich and famous. Then they meet someone, have to get a job to pay for “settling” down and pay the bills for a place where they go in the evenings to crash just to start it over the next day. All this by doing boring web stuff or working on a small part of a monstrous multi-threaded distributed enterprise application architected by an inexperienced halfwit architect wannabe who got the job by sticking with the company since he was an intern.
Where is the game you dreamed of doing 10 years ago?
To be precise I am in a similar situation and while I had a short gig with a game company I am well in the rat race leading nowhere. I have decided to try one more time and I will give it a go. Why? Just for the hell of it, to demonstrate that games are simple to build and you can sit at your computer and have some fun too. Actually this is why I ended up a coder, to make games not to configure some frameworks (yes, that is not programming, it is mostly configuration).
There are several reasons I set myself up for this journey and I will document it.
I have discovered simple games are much fun and take way less time and resources to develop than one might think.
I have limited time so I will use a device with limited resources.
Those constraints give me a creative incentive and will push me to be more efficient.
Keeping track of my progress is a reminder of what I need to do and to just do it.
I have almost no experience in game programming but I don’t care. I will learn as I go and will keep everything bare and simple.
My first goal is to get the game working and then I will worry about other stuff.
I have chosen the Android platform to build my first game. Why – you ask? Because I know Java pretty well even though I have no clue about Android and I don’t think it is a lot to it I can’t handle. I know that Android gives me a restricted work environment and that is enough for now.
This is how I envisage the process:
- get an idea for the game
- do some initial planning, mock-ups
- start coding as soon as possible to avoid all the traps of elaborate planning and skip other time devouring activities
- the game will evolve out of the code and imagination as I know from experience that nothing ends as initially planned
So what’s next? Get the idea for the game of course. Will see you in the next chapter.