Welcome to If I Were An Indie Dev, a little series of articles where I create the next big indie hit. Maybe. Allow me to explain.
I’m not a developer, nor a designer or graphic artist. I don’t have much experience at all in the field of game development. I’ve also never used a do it yourself game maker studio. I am indeed a game design virgin. The only talent I do have right now, the one thing I’m proud I have somewhat of a talent in, is my ability to write and create.
I’ve graduated with Honours in Creative Writing at Curtin University and I’ve completed a diploma of Screen Writing at the Film and Television Institute here in Fremantle. Over the years I’ve written for various websites as a freelance gaming journalist, along with a blog attempt or two and, of course, this here website. I’ve also written a number of short stories, poems, novellas and screenplays, most of which I’m still working on in the hope that one day it’ll become something bigger. We all dream.
Which leads me to this article … idea … thing. As much as I want to create my own video game, I have a long way to go to get there. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to attempt, in some way or another, but up until now I’ve felt a little unsure of my ability. Even with a program that does most of the work for you, I’ve always been a little uncertain about whether I could do it. From today that all changes, and you’re going to come along for the ride, bumps and all.
Before I explain what’s actually going to happen [enter a little research bit here to make me sound smarter], I read up on an article via linkedin the other day by David Mullich, Game Production Program Lead at the Los Angeles Film School. Within it, David wrote that there’s no ‘idea guy’ in the games industry, explaining:
Ideas are, as they say, a dime a dozen, and no one is going to pay you to come up with one. What employers and clients pay for is the ability to execute ideas; that is, turning an idea into a finished product, preferably one that is popular enough that it will earn more revenue than it cost to develop.
I’ve had a number of ideas over the years, many of which have come to fruition (this website included), but as video games go I’ve never been able to get further than the ‘idea’ phase. I was dumb enough over the years to think that I could just as easily pass them on to someone else, suggesting to people ‘hey, I’ve got this thing but I have no talent, want to help?’
Yeah, don’t do that.
It’s one thing to write down a cool concept and dream about it for days on end, it’s another to turn that brainstorming into something tangible, something I can properly share with an audience. If I’m going to learn, like I do with everything in life, I’m going to do it the right way. Sometimes even the difficult way, depending.
So here’s how this is going to work. Over the next however long, I’ll be posting all the key elements on how to make a video game, from concept to final product. I’ll be creating worlds, characters, choosing genres, designing gameplay concepts, graphics, the works. In-between, I’ll be posting and sharing various design philosophies, tips and tricks from some of the best in the business, perhaps to help you on your own project. I might even capture some videos later on down the track, who knows. If nothing else, we’re going to learn together what it takes to get the job done on your lonesome.
I’ll also be asking for your input, whether it’s you deciding a name of a character or place, to choosing what a character might do in a given situation, and so on and so forth. Keep an eye out for various polls with each post so you can have your voice be heard.
So to wrap up this first part, let’s get the party started with a genre shall we? What should this crazy claptrap game be?
I’ll post the results later on down the track so keep an eye out for that. Next time, I’ll go through a few story beats, maybe share a few concepts. I hope that, within this journey, we can all learn a few valuable design lessons and have a bit of fun, so please subscribe to our twitter feed and keep an eye out for future articles. I’m excited to see where this goes, so be sure to stick around!
(Featured image courtesy of tes.com)
Mark Isaacson is a freelance writer who loves the smell of bacon in the morning.