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.

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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Indie Game Developer Blog Origins

Indie Game Developer Blogs grow like seeds

For almost 2 years, I’ve been learning to become an Indie Game Developer.  Initially, I read many postmortems on Gamasutra about what Indies did right and wrong.  It seems, marketing continually hurt indie game developers, so I created an indie game developer blog.

Creating an Indie Game Developer Blog

Indie Game Developer Blogs grow like seeds
Blogs grow over time

Starting from square one with no programming skills, no art skills, and no music skills or any skills, I decided to learn marketing as a priority.  I read many online articles and eventually found out about the power of blogs.  I created an indie game developer blog, but I used it to gather my thoughts about life in its entirety.

Truthfully, I didn’t know what to blog about, so I focused on mostly negative military experiences with a little bit of politics, a little faith scattered hear and there, and the very occasional blog about games.  Several months later, I felt the nagging feeling that I was doing it all wrong.

What am I doing?

It seemed that most indie game developers focus on mostly their product, and a few postmortems.  I kept going on my own path, because honestly, it felt therapeutic to get everything down and out into the world.

Eventually, I changed my company’s name legally, and left the domain name I had, splitting my blog between video games, and faith/politics/life.  After more months passed, I finished that blog off too.  My open wounds about my military experiences became scars, and I felt the energy to become passionate about being an Independent Video Game Developer full time.

As I create this company and grow it, I want this indie game developer blog to be more than just a grounds to show people my game’s developments, I want it to be a place for fans of Lion Root and its games to be able to discuss things.  I also want to be generous about the lessons I’m learning, let other Game Developers learn from them, and exchange ideas with them.

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Initial Indie Game Interest

A picture with a pixelated F for Flixel

The genesis of my interest in Indie Games occurred prior to my deployment to Afghanistan.  The Commander stated that there would be downtime over seas, and that we should fill it with the meaningful pursuit of education.  The Army assists with tuition, and I’ve known multiple people who received their Master’s Degree while deployed.

Initial Interest

During that time, I reached the conclusion that I no longer would like to be in the military, and that I should start pursuing what I wanted to do outside of it.  I had a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, but that knowledge seemed gone, having not touched it in 3 years (I was an infantry officer).  With an interest in programming from High School, and a love of Video Games, I started looking for something that interested me.

Within the weeks I prepared for deployment, I learned Adam Saltsman’s free engine and programing interface named Flixel.  Instantly, I fell for it.  Retro styled music, sound effects, and art brought comforting nostalgia and dreams of a future fun.  Right before we left, I finished one of the tutorials, and became engrossed in it.

A picture with a pixelated F for Flixel
The Flixel Game Engine by Adam Atomic

Unfortunately, I soon found out that I would never get that promised time to work on education, and the rare times that I did, I was so exhausted from the day, I just wanted to relax, but I continued to read articles, and theories, while keeping the desire alive.

After deployment, during my last remaining year in the Army, my workload continued to be great, and decided to pursue it once I left the Army.  It May of 2011, I left the Army, and started to follow my dream.

What started your interest in Video Game Development?