With 2018 around the corner, it’s time to reminisce about the previous year. That’s right, let’s talk about 2016. Of course I also want to talk about 2017, but since I don’t want to skip a year, let’s get this out of the way first.
So about that ‘One Game a Month’ thing
In 2016 I previously proclaimed to start creating one game a month (#1GAM) as a challenge for personal growth. It started out okay and then drifted off into oblivion. To make a long story short: Besides university and real life stuff, pressuring myself to additional arbitrary deadlines turned out more detrimental than beneficial. I still like the idea of #1GAM and I’m still frequently creating experimental prototypes. But it’s releasing to the public, that tingles my perfection senses, that won’t allow me to just stop worrying about inconsequential things and lower my standards. However I still wouldn’t feel proud of what I created, because it still ended up not good enough. Games for #1GAM have to be absolutely tiny, I need to accept that releasing tiny games is okay too. The challenge is fitting complex ideas into tiny projects.
The main takeaways (I’ll have to eventually ingrain in my brain) from six months of #1GAM are:
- It’s easy to overestimate how much can be achieved within one month, especially when you have multiple projects going at the same time.
- If you feel like stuff is never good enough. Scale down, instead of scaling up.
- Don’t get lost working on details, while more important things need to get done.
- You need discipline to keep working after motivation has given up.
- July: Finished a small platformer.
- August: Worked on a game that was nowhere near finished.
- September: Polished and released a game I previously created in a game jam on the Play Store.
- October: Finished a game for the GameBoy Jam.
- November: Did not get to work on anything.
- December: Started some prototypes that went nowhere.
So 3 out of 6 months successful, nothing to brag about. I respect anybody who pulls off #1GAM successfully. Special mention to Stuffed Wombat for not missing a single month in 2017 and not succumbing to the mental pressure. Hat off to you.
Future of #1GAM
So #1GAM is put on hold since December 2016, but I’m only just now telling anybody, oops. I will probably return to it, with a new mindset, once I’m finished with university (2020 hopefully).
In January I went to a local jam site for the Global Game Jam, and joined a team to help create a tiny game about invading heaven with demon hordes. Best described as a reverse tower defense meets typing game. This was the first time I tried out Unity. It was a fun weekend, although most of it was spent learning Unity and reading tutorials.
In July I created Turtle Trouble, a small platformer game about a turtle that totally doesn’t want to be an Italian plumber. Officially starting off #1GAM. Wanted to try out so many ideas, but had to cut most of them. In the end, it doesn’t explore the ideas that did fit in, that’s why I’m not quite happy with how it turned out.
In September I polished Hello Alien, a puzzle game about creating laser networks, to put on the Play Store. Putting together the assets for a proper store page is quite a load of work that can easily be underestimated.
In October I participated in GameBoy Jam 5 and created Pixel Soldier. It’s a fast-paced game about shooting and dashing while fighting frantic bosses. Even after the jam I continued working on it, and am in fact still working on it.
Since then it was dominating a large part of my free time, when I wasn’t busy with university or doing other small projects. Part of me wants to get it done quickly, so I don’t work on one game forever, but part of me wants to do it justice and just can’t stop. So it will be done, when it’s done, is the best I can say right now.
Also in October I participated in an Analog Game Jam and created a card game about logic and lying. The game is very rough around the edges, but functional. It’s not available online, but I occasionally come back to it, to rework and refine it. Wrestling with the challenge of creating analog games, instead of video games, is very refreshing and I can only recommend it.
I’m not even sure anymore what I did exactly last year. I guess that’s why this is usually done right at the end of the year…
Now that 2016 has finally been awkwardly dealt with, turn in next week, when we tackle the events of 2017.