Making a Video Game

Trying to complete a goal from my childhood

October 02, 2015 •

Screenshot of my Frogs n' Logs Game

It’s been a childhood dream of mine to make a video game. In fact, right now I’m sitting on about 5 different game ideas that keep me up late at night conversing with my nightbrain. I’d like to see them come to life.

So this year I’ve made a few commitments in 2015 towards learning game development. In January, I attended a Unity Roadshow and made a rudimentary FPS. I learned a lot over the course of a day. In the days and weeks afterwards, I was energized and even started constructing some of these ideas, but the new hobby quickly atrophied.

Most recently I completed Nick Pettit’s “How to Make a Video Game” course on Treehouse. Nick is a great human being. I like his teaching style, I backed his Kickstarter Neptune Flux, and enjoyed our time nerding out over game development at the end of Shoptalk 106. Nick’s course is great and I recommend it if you have the slightest interest. The satisfaction of building an executable game over a few evenings is phenomenal.

I’m learning lots of things programming video games that I typically never deal with in Web Design:

  • Lighting and image effects on the camera can dramatically change a game. I never think about this with websites.
  • Sounds have a huge effect on a game as well. My game without sound was fun. With sound it was alive. This is almost the opposite effect with websites.
  • I don’t know shit about 3D physics.
  • Surprisingly, C# is easier to learn than I imagined. It feels like a static typed JavaScript.
  • Unity has a whole world of robust classes to learn. That seems like the hardest part.

I’m committed to seeing my ideas come to life in some fashion. Before jumping in however, my plan is to take a few more online courses and tutorials to build a more robust foundation. From pencil n’ paper game design to Unity components to online multiplayer, there’s still a lot for me to learn and form opinions on:

  • What makes a good game mechanic? I’m very interested in local multiplayer games.
  • What art style should I choose? Currently leaning towards Low Poly.
  • What makes a game good? I have opinions on this but will save them for later.
  • Can this make money? The answer here is “No” I think.

I’ll blog and maybe podcast some of the journey along the way, but don’t want to sacrifice what little remaining free time I have. That leads me to my biggest question is: What am I capable of? I’ve got family, work, life, and daytrips to take; I don’t waste all my time behind a screen, to make a video game, so I can waste more time behind a screen.

But I’m motivated. I feel like I owe it to young Dave Rupert sitting in a basement somewhere behind the glow of a Nintendo Entertainment System, funneling Pixy Stix down his throat, most likely through his nose.

PS: For those following #davegoeswindows at home, while the Surface Pro 3 can make a video game, I think I’m close to justifying the purchase of a gaming rig to handle smashing out graphics.