Game Dev Diary: The Beginning of All Things

By X-51 | Game Dev Diary | 27 Apr 2020

So what does an out of work software dev/gamer/all-round creative type do when he is bored out of his brain and can't do much because of a heavily locked down city?

He decides to create a game!


So I'm going to document the process, the designing, the decision-making here in the hopes it is interesting to someone. These posts will also be mirrored to my portfolio's blog when I finally get that finished.


For now I'm not going to get too much into the game itself, but figured I would introduce you to my past in this field, both as a gamer and a game developer....


As a gamer:

I have been gaming since I was 8 years old or so. I started with an Intellivision that I borrowed from my cousins for a couple of years. Later I bought a Sega Master System II and would rent a different game from the video shop almost every weekend (for those of you too young to know, yes, you used to be able to rent games - this was long before such things as DRM and Steam and widely accessible internet). Then an Amiga 500. Finally my family got its first PC in 2000, not long after I bought Baldur's Gate (a series I still enjoy to this day), and the rest is history.

I primarily play RPGs like the Baldur's Gate series as mentioned, Arcanum, Wizardry 8, Wizards & Warriors (2000), turn-based strategies like Heroes of Might & Magic series, Civilization series, real-time strategy like MechCommander, Star Wars: Empire at War, Command & Conquer: Generals, and have a love-hate relationship with first person games - there are some I love but which usually have heavy RPG elements like Kingdoms of Amalur, Gothic 1 & 2, or Two Worlds. First person shooters are even rarer for me - I like System Shock 2, Borderlands, Left 4 Dead, Max Payne, and Postal 2. Mass Effect was fun but I probably wouldn't replay it, and the Alien vs. Predator games are usually good, but most others I couldn't be bothered.

I prefer single player games, and only do multiplayer with friends. (sorry, quick rant) Most mobile multiplayer games eventually bore me or piss me off because of the need for multiplayer interaction, much of which is negative due to other people entitled by their anonymity to be a dick to players with less of whatever the game uses to measure personal power.


As a game developer:

My first experience with writing games was on the Intellivision. I tried to convert the code for a blackjack game from a book to Intellivision's flavour of BASIC. Ultimately it failed because I didn't know what I was doing. It was probably just some stupid typo that caused it to fail, but I tried, at least.

Jump forward to 1997 when I went to university, myself and some friends were heavily into the MUD scene (text-based multiplayer RPGs) and we decided to build one. Myself being the only non-programmer of the 4 of us, I took on a more organizational and creative role - coordinating our team of world builders and building key areas like the major cities, while contributing as much as I could to the concept and feel of the game (me being me, there ended up being A LOT of H.P. Lovecraft references in there).

I slowly picked up a little C programming experience while doing this, and even managed to fix a long-standing bug in the codebase we forked to begin our project. But unfortunately the project slowly fell apart as we each went our separate ways.

Jump forward again to 2008 - I quit my job due to a major management change I wasn't happy with, and then decided to go to college to learn web design. My end of year project involved writing a website, so I chose to make a website for a non-existent game for which I also created a small playable demo. I still have the code somewhere. I've been working in and around web and software development ever since.

I've also been into roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons for over 20 years now, and (while not so much recently) I have been writing and running games for most of that time.

Additionally I have been playing board games for a long number of years, and designing board games for the last 8 (not that I have finished any yet, but I have 20+ concepts on the go, some of them very close to play-testing).



Which brings us to now, and I want to make a computer game again. I know I have the skills as a programmer, even if not a huge amount of expertise in the actual development. But software development is a great sphere for transference of skills and knowledge across concepts like this.

The thing I probably lack most now is the motivation to stick with it which is part of why I am writing this dev diary.

I know myself well enough to know that the more people I tell about something, the more I feel inclined to push myself to do it. It is how I made myself move half way around the world to a country I had never even visited before - I started telling friends, and the more people who asked me about my progress, the more I needed progress to tell them - and now here I am, half way around the world from where I started, and coming up to my one year anniversary of living here.



So now back to planning, and I will come back soon to let you know a bit more about the game itself!




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Software developer, musician, photographer, traveler, crypto enthusiast

Game Dev Diary
Game Dev Diary

A place for me to document the processes, decisions, challenges, and struggles of creating a video game.

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