Another hobby, game development

I treat myself as a photographer, graphic designer and a little bit of a videographer. You can clearly tell that game development is not something I would do on a daily bases. However, just like other listed things, I really enjoy making games.

I was never a hardcore gamer playing big titles but I always enjoyed those online flash games.

When I was 13 years old, I got this crazy idea of making my own game. This is also the time when I started exploring Adobe programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, and the idea of making a game just seemed like bringing my little graphic design creations to life – and that sounds pretty cool right?

Well, yes, I got that idea back in 2013 but got scared of that complex game engines and code that I should have learned if I wanted to make my own game.

As lazy as I am (but workaholic on the other side), I rather spent my time searching for the game engine that would suit my needs the most, rather than learning code or getting in-depth with one of the engines.

Firstly, Unity seemed like the best choice because there are quite some things that you can do with it without writing code – but code was still there and not knowing how to code made many barriers and limits of what I can actually make. For that very reason, I haven’t come any further than customizing some demos of already made games and making an actor with which you can walk in the 3D terrain (which I knew how to make, woohoo). So, not much exciting here, but I would still consider Unity if I would be creating a 3D game.

This is where it really started

I celebrated one year of game development (not really) and I was low-key still searching for better game engine than Unity. One day, I found a game engine called Stencyl, with which I fell in love as soon as I opened it – this is the game engine I have been using since 2014.

Stencyl provided me a working environment without code getting in my way – but there is still an option of writing some code if there would be something that couldn’t be done otherwise. Basically, a game engine without code and also without limits. Well, you are limited to two dimensions, but I don’t mind that!

Just like every other program, Stencyl has a learning curve as well so I was not able to make an awesome game overnight, but I came further than editing demo games quite quick! I have started somewhere in 2014, can’t remember more exactly but that’s enough for you to see the learning curve and the time that goes into making a simple game.

My First actual game

Back in 2015, idle games were something quite new and very popular. Also, from the game development perspective, they are pretty easy to make because the core of the gameplay is actually to click to get coins with which you buy upgrades to get even more coins. A little story and a theme added to that and boom, there is a game. Even tho it’s simple, it took me months to make but that was the first actual game that I’ve published!

I have titled the game Idle Tree, which represents the genre and the theme that is in the game. I have published it to Kongregate and Newgrounds, but sadly nowhere else – maybe because my game was not accepted on Armorgames.

I have learned a lot making this little game and seeing it’s little success on made me want to make even more games. It got over 33,000 plays and average rating of 3.4 based on 1.500 ratings – and that’s just on Kongregate alone! Totally, the game got over 100 thousand plays and was seen by millions (I believe that’s true).

One day, I decided to type the name of my game into Youtube but I really expected no results, but I was still curious. I was shocked when I found somewhere around 10 videos of people playing my game, and those were not some quick random videos! Some were over 30 minutes long and one specific video was made by VoodyGames – a channel with 650.000 subscribers! This very video also got over 100.000 views alone! Sadly, it’s in Russian and I can’t understand a word! It might be time to give it to someone to translate it for me, I’m curious!

You can play that game here

2016 – 2019 were shady

I have started with high school in 2016, I got a lot of new hobbies and took some of them much more serious than game developement. I’m talking about photography, graphic design, animation and videography.

If you think about it, those new hobbies are not completely foreign to game development – especially graphic design and animation. However, I did completely nothing in these years regardless of game development. Indeed, I have thought about it a few times in between but nothing more than that.

New decade, new me (oops, old me)

I have finished high school, started with college and moved away from my home town (even tho my college is still in Ljubljana). This new lifestyle probably affected this decision a little too because I was thinking about all the different things that I like to do and I have remembered my games from years back (Idle Tree as the highlight, of course).

Trough all these years, I tried many different ways to make money online and being a graphic designer is really great for that. Anyways, something that really stood out was Idle Tree, my game, which I didn’t had to sell to anyone, I just made it for fun, but it still generated me a reasonable amount of money. This is why I’ve decided to try and make something bigger in the world of game development again – not just because of this money taught but because I actually love to do that.

My plans in game development this year

In 2020, my big goal is to make another game and publish it. This time, I’m not aiming for a simple idle game or anything like that but a much more complex project. I would also like to publish it on more platforms such as in Flash & HTML (playable online), as well as on mobile platforms such as Android.

The game I’m talking about is already in the making for a month or so and it’s going pretty good! It’s a tower defense game with online features such as challenges, leaderboards, and rewards – this way, the game is not the only one challenging you, but other players are challenging you too because you will be competing for weekly prizer and so on. For now, that’s just my vision, I’ve spent the whole afternoon yesterday figuring out how the game could read a file from a server, which I managed to do and the end! But hey, it’s only one-way communication, for now, I still have problems for a game to change and write in those files. But this will be solved, one problem at the time as always.

So, that’s my big plan for game development this year. If you’re interested in more details about this specific game, I will be sure to link it’s own post here once I’ll start writing it.