Ending Year One

I’m coming to the end of the first year of trying to make a game. The original aim was that this would be the only year of making this particular game. Best case: the game would be out and I’d have a sense of if I could make another one. Worst case: I’d have realised this wasn’t for me and moved on to something else.

American flag and European flag
Apart from what I write on this blog, nothing else really happened in the world this year. Uneventful.

Having reached November, it’s clear that hoping to have finished something in a year was overly ambitious. Having said that, I look at what I know now vs at the start of 2016 (re: coding, marketing, visual design) and it feels like good progress. I know significantly more about how to get the game to market. I also know that none of the assumptions I made going into this process have proven to be wildly off the mark, which is reassuring.

From what I’ve learned (and prototyped), I don’t think the final game is going to be ultra-complicated to code. It isn’t a technically complex idea compared to games with crazy physics calculations, or with enormous game worlds.

Kerbal Space Program and GTA 5's Los Santos
In Kerbal Space Program (left) you literally learn Rocket Science. And GTA 5’s Los Santos (right) is comparable in size to San Francisco

It is becoming complex in terms of the puzzles. For this word game, I’m messing around a lot with how words might be constructed. I also need to understand how many potential puzzles there are available to me, according to the structure I’m building. It’s a finite number, but definitely a big enough one.

It’s taking AGES to find and record them all, but for good reasons. Partly because the process of identifying potential puzzles has to be done in a necessarily tedious order (more on that in future). Also, because I need to make sure I don’t develop ideas very far without checking they make sense to other people too. Thankfully, friends have been generous with their time, reading through and discussing some tediously long lists of words and puzzle ideas for my benefit (thank you!).

Next year, there’ll be different demands on my time away from making the game and it’s going to require more discipline. But, if I feel the same sense of progress at the end of 2017 then that’ll do me.

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