Regaining the Indie Game Developer Focus

A Picture of Rain

Indie Game Developer Focus

Being sick. and having several trips over the past two weeks threw me off my schedule, and as a result, my focus.  I questioned whether following my dream is the right decision.  I feared that I wouldn’t make enough money in time to provide for my family and wondered if I’m just chasing a fantasy.

I bet you’ve been through setbacks in your life too.  Wondering what to do next, and if you’ll make it.  Setbacks can be kind of comforting.  They can give an excuse for failure.  Finally, if we fail, it’s no longer our fault, our inadequacies, our inability to plan and persevere, but this other outside factor.

A Picture of Rain
Sick and rainy days

 

Our Frenemy: Excuse

My excuses are just an arms reach away, and I can see the words in my mind.  I dream of holding onto one.  Loved ones and others might say, “oh well, that’s a good excuse, besides, you could make more money or have better job security doing this other thing rather than chasing your dreams.”

But we’d know I copped out.  Wouldn’t we.  We’d spend our whole life, reaffirming to ourselves that what we did was the right thing.  Like a sin that feels shameful, we don’t want to admit it’s wrong.  We keep telling ourselves that we’re not wrong, we’re not wrong, we’re not wrong!

The Cure for Fear

But there’s a cure for our fears.  In the book The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, he gives the cure to our fears and worries.

“Action cures fear.  Indecision, postponement, on the other hand, fertilize fear.

Some Beat None

It’s true.  The farther I’ve gone into this, the more I understand, and the less fearful I am about the future.  Whatever game your making, or whatever else you’re going through in life, take action to reach your dream, even if it’s a small action.  Remember, some action, beats no action.

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The Valley Update 3

The Valley

This week’s update focuses on the random level generation of The Valley.  While it’s very crude right now, I’m still trying to figure out how to randomly generate each room.  So far I can create square blocks, which I think is the foundational technique of how I want to make rooms.

Design Inspiration

Going from empty room to empty room bore me.  I toyed with the idea of creating rooms that you can go up, and down in, similar to The Binding of Isaac, Zelda 1, and every dungeon explorer out there.  This game takes design inspiration from that, but I don’t want to copy them completely.  Not only that, but going up and down in the level takes away from a design element of the game that I want to implement.

Psalm 23

At the core of the game, the name, The Valley, refers to Psalm 23.  I went through a tough time in my life that lasted several years, and I wanted this game to share in what I learned through gameplay.  One of those things that I learned, was that you have to keep moving forward through tough times.  Having the ability to go up and down like most dungeon crawlers, won’t play well with that design element.

Fix?

The fix to the monotony of only going right I haven’t come up with yet.  My original design had a continuos camera that scrolled as the player went to the right, but I wanted the player to focus on one room at a time, just focusing on getting through one room at a time.

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There are many more plans in the future for this game, and experiences I’d like to express about my own time in the valley.  Subscribe to my newsletter, and you’ll stay up to date on the recent updates, and philosophies I make with game development.  I’ll be reducing the amount of blog posts to once per week, with more information about what I’m learning stored in the newsletter.

Indie Game the Movie’s Influence

A picture from Indie Game the Movie

The Indie Game Developer Movie

I sat in Afghanistan in a Combat Outpost dreaming of what I would do outside of the Military.   Before deploying, I had a few days to try to figure out what I would do in my downtime, and so I looked into creating Video Games, and found some sites that influenced me.  I also found Indie Game the Movie and decided to support it.

A picture from Indie Game the Movie
A Picture from FEZ

 

Motivation

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Sabin’s Influence on an Indie Video Game Developer

A Copyrighted Picture of Sabin from FF6

Sabin to the Rescue

I am a fan of early Square Enix games.  Their games tremendously increased how much I enjoyed gaming.  Specifically their RPGs.  RPGs brought strategy, determination and grit to win.  Countless hours put in brought the heroes closer and closer to victory, and one of those heroes, Sabin, is helping me get closer to victory in making games.

A Copyrighted Picture of Sabin from FF6
Illustration is Copyrighted by Sony

Great old Game

While I couldn’t have a Super Nintendo growing up, I eventually found ROMs and downloaded Final Fantasy 6.   (I understand ROMs are illegal now.)  What a great experience playing that game.  The storyline, the music, the secret characters, and the combination of magic and science brought this fairy tale RPG to life, and to me, ranks as one of the best games of all time.

While playing the game as a young teenager, the RPG brought something that I loved, the interactive turn-based RPG experience.  Turn-based RPGs up until that time had no interaction while your character conducted their animation.  Then came Sabin.

Teachings of Sabin

Sabin looked like Guile for Street Fighter 2. Sabin’s powerful moves only activate correctly if the player inputs the strokes during a small part of his turn.  This lead to more interaction in what would normally be a part for during which the player needed to wait for the attack animation to play and finish.

A picture of the moves of Sabin
Copyright Sony

Correctly entering keystrokes also brought together another skill set into the game to be mastered.  His first skill started with a simple keystroke, but as he learned more powerful skills, the keystrokes became more complex.  This escalation in skill progress lead to increased enjoyment of the character, and the game.

Applying the Teachings

As I continue on my journey of making Indie Video Game Development, recollecting and analyzing on past games I’ve played helps me to develop better ones in the future.  Sabin, while already a fun character, helped me win at Final Fantasy 6, and is also helping me win at Indie Video Game Development.

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Keeping an Indie Game Developer Diary

Keeping an Indie Game Developer Diary helps us learn from the past. This diary is about you, the developer, and seeing where you came from, and where you are going, and helping you conquer your fears.

Learning from your Failures

Getting started as an Indie Game Developer, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, what to do, and how to tie it into this new profession.  As I read into marketing, the people I watched had blogs, videos, and podcasts all going at the same time to gain outreach.  What I failed to look at, is how they all started out small.  For me, I tried everything all at once, and gained nothing.  I expected perfection, intimidated myself and froze.  Learning from this failure helps me tremendously today to be patient with my growth, and grow one blog post at a time.

IndieDev_Journal

Learning from your Successes

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The Valley Development Week 3

The Valley Updated

Just a video of the things I’ve been learning since starting to make games.  I’m having a lot of fun with the music and modeling but there’s still a lot to learn.

Next Update

The next update won’t be for another two weeks so more development progress can be seen.

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