My Gamedev Journey: Prelude
I’m starting a little series called My Game Dev Journey, where I’ll be going over the games that I made from the very first game I made till now!
I’ve wanted to make games for as far as I can remember. Some of my older memories were of me playing Milk & Nuts on a Mitashi console with one of those 999-in-1 games! As my parents would attest, I would constantly suggest changes that I would have made to make the game better, from minor things like increasing the jump height of Jumpman from Donkey Kong, to giving Mario a hammer so that he can finally get rid of that damn Hammer slinging koopaling! I swear I have nothing but hatred for them, absolute run killers the lot of them.
Around 2007, while playing Matrix: Path of Neo, I was talking to my mom about how I would probably make throwing the agent out the window an easier ordeal by having the agent fly towards the window when I throw them at them so that even if I miss, the agent gets thrown out anyway.
Yeah, I did prioritize having cool looking set pieces to having weird complex controls. I feel like in game design, mechanics should be easy to execute, but difficult to master. Those are the games that have the most fun gameplay, and why I liked Sonic more than Mario! Sonic allowed me to pull off insane stuff with ease, rather than something like Mario Galaxy where I could perform cool somersaults only if I am good with a controller (which, oddly enough, I was not)
I wanted to play Sonic Unleashed for the longest time. I saw some clips of it on youtube and I stand by it to this day, if the framerate issues are resolved, Unleashed is the greatest Sonic game of all time! I didn’t have a PS3 though, so my obvious solution was to just make it for myself and then play that! I googled how to make games and came across a YouTuber called Steven09 who taught me how to make games using Game Maker 7. That was my very first experience with game development and while daunting, I spent hours following tutorials and making these weird mini sonic games that I had more fun making than playing. I even remember making a Sonic Riders 4 way back when and uploading it on Yoyogames.com! It’s a bit bizarre that someone not only played it but gave me feedback on it, but I’m glad they did it because that stranger got me hooked on making games as a career!
Until then Game Dev was more of a solution to a minor problem, but I was hooked on that drug and I knew I had to do this for the rest of my life no matter what. I made a couple of clones using game maker, to the point I got a hang of GML even, and before I knew it, I already was half decent with programming! For me, it’s just a facet of game dev that’s unavoidable. Yeah, you can make games without coding, but if you are coding, your game is always going to be better.
My games had to look as realistic as possible. I had an obsession with the “hyper realistic graphics” that games like Sonic Heroes had. Oh sweet innocent childhood. I looked up how I can make my games the prettiest possible, and came across Unreal Engine 3. UDK, or Unreal Development Kit was like a dream come true for me. I enjoyed making maps in that even if it meant spending almost 30 minutes baking the lights every time I made even the most minor of changes. That was more on my laptop’s speed than anything else, I assume if I had a proper GPU I could cut that time down to 15 minutes even! I was so sure I was going to make the next Crysis but with Sonic in it, that I went and told all my friends about it, and of course, they wanted in! I realised that since all of us want to make games, we should start a company! Since it was my idea we decided to go ahead with T Corp. How does a group of 4 pre-teens count as a corporation? I’ll let you know when I find out! Of course since game dev was only my passion, I made a small map and “released” it under my own name. Release is in quotes because I passed it around on a pendrive to my classmates. Boomer that I was, I never even realised I could put it online, which is good because I think I would have been cyberbullied for how bad they were XD
T Corp was fun experience though, I got to teach my friends the basics of game development, and I’m sure if they remember anything from it, they could makes some of the best most blockiest maps for Unreal Tournament 3 you could find! I loved the idea of teaching people the things I knew back then, I really wanted to inspire someone else to go through the same journey as me, but my journey was and is always going to be mine and mine alone.
I found out about Unity around then and played around with it. I never made anything serious since I felt it was way too complex for me, and there weren’t enough tutorials at the time that explained it the way a 10-year-old would understand. I started learning C++ so that I could make, you guessed it, Sonic Unleashed. This was in 2010, Sonic Generations was yet to come to my attention, and even if it was, I had to play Rooftop Run the correct way, not this baby mode remake with somehow worse lighting. I did manage to get a grasp of the basic programming concepts like variables and arrays even, pointers were alien to me, it would take me a while to get used to them, but I eventually did! As of right now, I’m at a point where I’m working on making my own take on Unity!
But before all that, in 2014, I was diagnosed with cancer, and that led me to make my first original game, BFM 2015! But that’s a story for next time, see ya then!