Choosing My Next Project
At the end of the summer, I found myself asking what comes next for my game development career. I’m ready now to answer that question.
I released my first commercial game at the end of May 2018 — a challenging puzzle game called Omnicube. I spent some time marketing and supporting the game after the launch, and then took a much-needed break from the world of full-time game development. I worked on a book and I did some work for some other projects, but all the while I wondered what my next serious game project would be. I considered a lot of things — I’ve got a number of “dream game” candidates in the back of my mind that I envisioned tackling now that I’d gotten a full release under my belt. Maybe I would invest some serious time in making a Zelda-like game, or perhaps I’d go in a different direction entirely and make something risky and original. I considered a number of games, but no one particular project stood out above the rest.
What did come in to my mind over and over, however, was a project that I did several years ago — and I’d like to explain a bit more about that, and how it’s influencing what I’m going to work on for the next several months.
Back in 2014, not long after starting my game development career, I read an article by Rami Ismail talking about making one new video game each week. He explained that the best way to gain experience as a developer was to finish projects -- and the best way to do this, he argued, was to make a large number of very small games. It would take you through the whole process of coming up with an idea, fleshing it out, determining how to find the fun in the game and deal with bugs and a host of other things.
Completing a bunch of small projects would also provide the most important lesson in all of game development -- it would teach you how to finish a project, and what that entails.
So, in April of 2014, a friend and I started making one game a week -- and it was one of the most fun, creative, engaging, enjoyable times of my life. I loved the creative rush of coming up with a new concept each week. I rarely had time to get sick of working on any particular game, because I knew that I'd be starting a new one the very next week. I worked on six or seven different projects over the course of a few months (sometimes I'd get too invested in a project and let it go for an extra few days...). I love those games that I made back in 2014, even if they were all somewhat limited in scope.
Making one game a week gave me a chance to work on a variety of different projects -- it helped me discover what inspired me, what kinds of games I was good at making, and it gave me a chance to work through a bunch of different concepts to assess their viability.
Eventually, my friend had to stop the one game a week project due to work commitments, and I put it on hold to try and complete a larger commercial project, which ended up becoming Omnicube. That took a lot longer than expected, but I always hoped to return to the one game a week format after finishing a commercial game.
In May of 2018, I finally released Omnicube -- my first real, professional game -- and as I continued to think about what I wanted to do next, my mind kept returning to one game a week.
So after taking some time to consider my next project, I’ve officially decided that this beloved project from five years ago is making a comeback — starting on Monday, February 11th, I’m going to be once again making one game a week!
Now that I have the time to work on these lovely little prototypes once again, I'm excited to create games out of the many ideas I've had buzzing around my head over the last few years. I'm also excited to share the process -- one thing I've learned to love while making Omnicube is the feeling of sharing my development process and getting feedback, opinions, and constructive criticism. I want to try and explain the work that goes into each of the games I make over the next several weeks. So in addition to working on the games, I’m going to put together a series of blog posts about the adventure. My current plan is to write a couple of articles a week — perhaps a mid-week article discussing an interesting technical or design challenge, and then a summary article discussing the finished game at the end of the week.
I’d also like to extend a virtual hand to you, dear reader — if you’re interested in working on one game a week, please feel free to join in! If you’d like to start making your one game a week during the time that I will be working on this project, please reach out! You can find me on Twitter @creamerkylec or you can follow our Trykon Studios Facebook page. You're also welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can think of this like a series of week-long game jams — I think that each week, I’m going to attach a theme to the development to help people get their creative minds working. If there are any cool games shared with me at the end of each week, I will write a small review of my favourite one and give a link to the game in my blog post. I encourage people to post any screenshots or game links with #onegameaweek or #OGAW, so if this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, I’m excited to hear from you!
Between now and the official start of my One Game a Week project on February 11th, I’m going to write a mini-retrospective on some of the games that I worked on in the 2014 edition, as well as brainstorming a few of the ideas I’m excited about for the 2019 version.
I can’t wait to get started!