martes, 30 de abril de 2013

Languages, technologies and other stumbling blocks

I have to admit that part of the reasons why I never got to finish anything is because I never was brave enough to target a concrete language, technology or SDK. I was often thinking to myself: "Oh, but if I choose this technology, I may lose flexibility, or maybe this technology won't be used in a couple of years and I will have learned something useless...". This kind of thinking is definitely a stumbling block for the creative process of making a game, as much as it is for the writer the decision on whether using a typewriter, a computer (and then deciding among different text processors), or pen and paper.

A small diagram of existing programming languages. Please... do not try them all before beginning

We have to make a decision, and be consistent and responsible with such decision. If we stick with certain language, let's make the most of it, and just lay aside other possibilities. The keyword here is 'focus'.

It is also the case that we tend to underestimate some languages just because they seem easier. For example, you may think that Flash is 'very easy' and therefore it is not worth your time; time that you could be learning assembly language and DirectX... Don't make that mistake! Specially if you're starting off, use the wonderful world of 'abstraction'. It's good to make an effort in understanding how things work under the cover, but you have to find a trade-off or otherwise you'll be looking at primitives to draw a pixel on the screen but you'll never move forward. You can always try to move one step down once you're familiarized with one high-level technology.

Therefore the first step is to make a choice. Which language/technology will you use? The decision should be based on what you're comfortable with or something that you really want to learn about.

Regarding me, I'll discuss my choice in the next post.

See you!! 

sábado, 27 de abril de 2013

What, Why and How?

The purpose of this post is to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. What is an indie developer?
  2. Why do I want to become one?
  3. How can anyone become one?

Regarding the first question, you may find several definitions out there and a very interesting reflection about Derek Yu here. In summary and from my viewpoint, an independent developer has usually no publisher behind. I say 'usually' because during the last years some companies have launched frameworks to help developers to create games for their platforms. As an example, Microsoft's XNA.

The main advantage of indie developers is that they can create whatever they want, without the fear of being analyzed or penalized by a 'superior entity' that judges whether the game adjusts or not to some pre-defined standards. On the downside, resources and budget are often much more limited. However, this can be turned into an additional advantage if these limitations push you to pursuit a simple but original idea.

Last part of the previous paragraph answers question 2). I want to become indie because I want to create my own games, and I want to transmit something more. Jonathan Blow states that videogames should aim to create an added value beyond fun. And I completely agree. The game industry is still immature, as it was the industry of cinema during the first two or three decades of the XX century. As in the case of cinema in its early days, games are often seen nowadays as a technical challenge that can engage players into fun mechanics. However, I think that as the game industry evolves, this vision will also evolve towards considering games another form of art; and art moves people, makes people think and changes their world and set of beliefs. This, in my opinion, must be the ultimate goal of videogames. We have to stop thinking in the simple terms fun or entertainment, uncover the blue velvet and look inside: we may discover something fabulous.

Regarding question 3), the answer is simple: you can become an indie developer by... simply making a game. Ok, this may not be as straightforward as it seems, but I guess that it must be definitely easier than you're thinking right now. And I will guide you through this process by posting my own experience, the difficulties I find on the way and how I get over them (fortunately I will...).

See you in the next post!

miércoles, 3 de abril de 2013

Hello World!

Hi everyone.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience while creating small games. As the name suggests, my aim is becoming an indie game developer, and I want to tell you about my experience in the fascinating world of videogames.

Several times I've started off a game project, both alone and with friends, but for whatever reason, it'd never see the light of day. This time I want to be serious and responsible, and work hard in order to complete a small project. In the following posts I'll tell you more about this project, the challenges to face, and general thoughts.

See you soon!