How Much Video Game Can I Make in a Week?

How Much Video Game Can I Make in a Week?

The major interactive project I’ve been working on is undergoing milestone trials for the next couple of weeks, which means that I have some time to work on my own stuff! The coming week will be all about Project 1401, the personal game-making goal that is part of my ten year blogging plan. Details follow for the coming week!

Why 1401 Now?

Project 1401 is important to me because I am at heart a frustrated game designer, feeling the need to create my own game as a point of authorship. While I had worked in the video game industry for a number of years, I never released a game that had my own unique stamp on it. I want to get this game done, and then see how I feel about it. Maybe it isn’t the big deal that I thought it was when I was 18. Now that I’m 47, I think it’s time to find out.

There are a few things I know now about myself that I think will help:

  • Development takes time, so take the time to savor the process and learn from it. I have a lot of skills that are helpful in game development, but putting it all together is more complicated than I probably care to admit. One of my recent insights about myself was that I have a negatively-charged and unrealistic obsession with how quickly I can do things.
  • I haven’t had the grit to lay down a story and just go for it. While reflecting why I haven’t made my own game before, it comes down to really wanting to do it in the face of difficult challenges. It used to be that I didn’t know enough computer languages and data structures to design it, then after that it was lacking the specialist skill to write graphic engines from scratch. Then when that was no longer an excuse, it was not having the time and skill to create the graphics assets. After that, it was a matter of not having the right team or creative partners. Then it was being picky about game theory. NO MORE EXCUSES. I have everything I need to do this. It may not be a great game, but it will be the first game.
  • I am motivated by conversation, not progress toward goals. This is a weird realization, but while filling out an interview for someone I realized that goals by themselves are rather boring to me. Instead, I am energized by the conversation that arises from the pursuit of goals, and that is what keeps me engaged and interested in project work.

With these three insights, I’m prepared to take my time, sketch out the sloppiest of stories, and share the progress here on the blog. I will get as far as I get.

Another reason that I’m choosing to work on 1401 is that it uses the same graphics engine as the major project. We have been working on it for about 16 months now, and it’s getting to the place where it’s starting to be fast to set-up and express an idea. There are some major systems that I need to tweak for the fall release, and working on 1401 will give me some additional insight that can be back-ported to work. I see it as a win-win for the project and for me.

The Coming Week

Starting today, I’m going to document my process under the 1401 tag in as much detail as I can muster about the design and implementation challenges I’ll face.