Hi, I'm Blake. My first game was '89 Doors', a rage game where you escape mazes whilst being pursued by an insatiable creature of hunger, and now I'm working on a tower defence game called 'Forgive Me My Henchman', where you play as a typical head 'bad guy', deploying henchman and sabotaging a building in an effort to stop a one man army action hero.
I recently posted my game in Steam Greenlight. It has been an awesome way of spreading awareness of my game and getting to know people's thoughts about it. Over 1000 people have viewed the page so far!
You can check it out at this link:
What if it fails?
Last week, I realized how close I am to launching my game. Although I am for the most part excited, another part of me has started to ask the question: what if it fails?
About a quarter of the people I tell about my game remind me of a fact I already know – there are 1000s of games being launched all the time, and most of them will never make a difference. It is humbling to think that despite all the countless hours and love I have put into this game, there is a high chance that very few people will ever even get to enjoy it. There is definitely a chance that my game will be lost in the sea of other games flooding the market.
Furthermore, another part of me is worried that – even if it is discovered - my game will be mocked. My game does not have the graphics of ‘The Witcher 3’. It doesn’t have tons of features and perhaps people may find it too simple to enjoy. In short, I am worried about whether - despite my best efforts – it may not satisfy others expectations.
Nevertheless, I must press on. Even greater than the fear of failure is the fear of not attempting anything worthwhile because I was afraid of what other people think. I don’t want to spend my life dreaming of what could have been, or what I might have done if only I had been brave enough to try.
Regardless of the outcome, there have been so many benefits from undertaking this journey. First of all, working on it has brought me a lot of joy – who could ever complain about that? Secondly, this process has taught me a lot about game development. I will be able to build upon this knowledge for future projects. Finally, it has been a great personal journey. About one and a half years ago, I knew nothing about coding or game development. It has taken time, commitment, and a lot of consistent effort to come as far as I have come. Whatever happens, I am proud of myself.
So even if this game ‘fails’, I am okay with that.
Wish me luck!
Getting a score of 28334334 on Flappy Bird…
Taking a photo of the yeti and Loch Ness monster dining at McDonalds…
Finding a four leaf clover that is growing upon another four leaf clover…
The above three scenarios are all more likely to happen than you developing a game without facing any obstacles in the process.
What I didn’t know before getting into this field is that developing a game and facing problems go hand in hand. As Jay Z sings in one of his songs, “I’ve got 99 problems and game development is responsible for about 45 of them.”* Facing them can be discouraging, disheartening, and cause many people to give up. It is therefore important to know how to respond to problems. In this blog, I will be writing about three principles that you can apply to the problems that you face.
Control the Controllables – During the development of your game, you will face some problems that are beyond your control. To give a personal example, in December, for an unknown reason I was no longer able to test my game out on my iPad. Immediately, I started wondering why the entire universe and gods of gaming were working against me. After ruminating on this for awhile, I realized how ridiculous my thoughts were becoming and that my immediate response was not helping to improve the situation in any way. I therefore asked myself: what can I do about this particular situation that is in my control? I could start researching solutions to this problem, or create a forum topic to brainstorm solutions, or focus on other aspects of my game’s development – why it is important to make sure that you always keep focusing on the things that you can control is that it ensures that you will always keep on moving forward.
Keep Going, Keep Going, Keep Going – Most of the time, I love working on my games. It brings me an incredible amount of joy, and it is one of my favourite ways to spend my free time. However, there are times when I don’t know what exactly I must do to move forward, or I am not looking forward to doing a task I have to do, or I’m generally not feeling motivated, or the road ahead feels daunting. In these times, my advice is just keep going, keep going, keep going. Don’t let anything stop you. Even though you may need to take a break sometimes, remember that it is important to keep moving forward even when you don’t think you can. Keep going, keep going, keep going – following this principle may not always be easy, but it will get you where you want to go in the long run.
Get Perspective – When I get frustrated at problems (which rarely happens), I often need to just take a step back and refocus. Sometimes, I ask myself what I will learn from tackling and eventually solving a particular problem, and how that will help me in the future. Other times, I reflect on how lucky I am to actually be spending my time working in a field that I love. I also reflect on how no one is entitled to problem-free game development, so why should I be any different? All in all, taking a step back and changing your headspace will empower you to tackle the problem in a more constructive way.
I hope sharing these principles with you helps you to face the countless problems that you will inevitably face. Applying them may not always be easy, but in my opinion, it is always worth it. Good luck!
*He may have not used these exact words…