For this weekâ€™s Thousander Club update:
Game Hours: 188.25 / 1000
Game Ideas: 432 / 1000
The deadline for IGF 2007 has come and gone. It’s September, and I am not even close to selling a game of mine on my website. Well, I’ve been meaning to update my business plan for some time, and now that I’ve basically missed every date I have ever set, now would be a good time to do so.
I feel like I need to “get back to fundamentals” as Michael Jordan would say, but I realized that I don’t know what the fundamentals of game development would be. I feel that by expending so much energy on making a component-based game engine, I am preventing myself from making a game. And I’ve never made a Pong clone before, which means it is complex enough to be a real challenge for me. How is it that I’ve been working on projects for over a year and still haven’t made anything playable? What made me think that Pong would be too easy but an entire game framework, specifically a component-based one, wouldn’t be too hard?
I’m going to focus my limited energies on making a Pong clone. Am I scrapping my engine? Hardly, but without the experience of writing a few games, I don’t think I can even begin to identify those things that my engine would need to be able to do. I don’t like that I’ve now switched to a different project twice this year, but I feel like I am spinning my wheels trying to make a component-based game engine. I’ve managed to make some good components that I can probably copy and paste into a more “hard-coded” engine without too many changes, so the past five months or so haven’t been a total loss. Maybe I just needed the experience of biting off more than I can chew.
As has been said before, game development is tough. Even if you have a ready-made engine, making a game is a difficult thing to do. I’m of the mind that the code, the engine, is just infrastructure to support the game and is NOT the game itself. While an open-source component-based engine would be nice to have, I just don’t have the experience, knowledge, and resources to make one that would be useful in a timely manner. When I can prove that I can make Pong and other game clones, maybe then I can have a better idea of what it takes to make an engine that would make all of those games. Making a Tetris clone is something that still makes me nervous whenever I think about how to implement the various pieces and how to spin them.
Saying the above means admitting that I am still a beginner at game development. Maybe a little wiser than I was a year or two ago, but still a beginner. Pong is supposed to be relatively easy, though. Perhaps it might only take me a month of part-time work to create it.