It’s been two weeks since I was still applying for finance jobs in London, ten days since I handed in my notice, one long weekend since my last day at work and today is day one of being an indie game developer.
I’ve been a games programmer for more than 15 years, the last 10 of which I worked at Lionhead Studios on AI, gameplay and GUI. In some ways this puts me in good stead for writing a complete game by myself, but working in a succession of companies where so much is taken care of for you and so much knowledge is available within walking distance, I’ve no doubt that the future will be full of surprises and interesting times.
As Donald Rumsfeld put it, “…there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
It is these that are going to bite me in the ass.
So I have a plan. I have a game I dearly want to make, a list of features and tools I know I’m going to have to write, a rough idea of the amount of art I’m going to have to find someone to create and a few ideas of the social media maelstrom I’m going to have to engage in if I want anyone to have heard of my game before I drop it into the maw of the over-saturated app market and hope it doesn’t disappear into immediate obscurity.
All the while reading the experiences of others and hoping their mistakes and their hard earned knowledge turns a few of those unknown unknowns into something that won’t blindside me at the 11th hour.
I’m keeping this blog to keep track of my decisions, to make very public mistakes and to learn as much as possible with it costing me as little as possible in wasted time and effort. The best way to ensure I really understand something is to turn it into concrete text and the best way to make sure that understanding doesn’t contain untenable levels of idiocy is to get as many people as possible to point out when it does.
I’m going to keep this blog updated with investigations into code libraries, middleware and SDKs. With game design decisions and anecdotes of when things go right and wrong. Hopefully it will turn into a journal documenting the whole game development process in a useful way I can return to in future to understand all those decisions I made along the way and toast the ones I didn’t end up regretting.
Which is to say, I am really, really, really looking forward to this.