Beyond the Prototype

Prototyping video games is seriously amazing. It’s undoubtedly the funnest stage of the development process, as you can see your game take shape before your eyes as if you are opening a pop-up book. It is also my favorite way of learning new tools. Want to play around with something you found in the Unity Asset Store? Build a prototype. Curious how hard it would be to implement a new mechanic? Build a prototype. Learning a new engine? Build LOTS of prototypes.

Unfortunately, getting a game ready for release requires much, much more than a good prototype. There is a reason game jams typically last 48 hours, but releasing titles often takes several years. Polishing, testing, marketing, and all the other tasks that often contribute towards “mid-development hell” aren’t sexy, but dealing with them is most of the job. What’s more is that this marathon stage of development is currently the biggest barrier to entry for new game developers such as myself. Indie developers have a plethora of publishing platforms at their disposal such as Steam Greenlight (or Steam Direct now), Humble Bundle, and the app stores. There are also a variety of professional game engines such as Unity, Unity, and Unity. (I know there are others, but seriously, what’s not to love about Unity?) The one area of development that isn’t getting any easier is simply following through with completing your game. The easier technology makes things, the more we are expected to use it, and fleshing out a unique idea will always be an arduous task.

In order to overcome this barrier I will clearly need a reliable source of motivation in order to develop this seriously while working a day job. Fighting laziness is especially problematic as a solo developer despite the fact that I think my game is awesome. Without co-workers, external deadlines, or sunk financial cost (aside from my time), it is far too easy for me to walk away from Orbitroids. I’m proud to say that so far I have actually been very diligent for the past few months, working for hours almost every single day. However, should the time come that I feel it is best to take a full week off, I have to have something substantial on the line. For that reason, I am setting a personal goal of releasing at least a Beta version of Orbitroids on Asteroid Day, June 30, 2018. (I still haven’t decided if this will be public or private). This is ideal because – duh – Asteroid Day. But also, it’s a day that I can’t change. This means taking time off development directly results in me creating a worse game for you. And you should be happy to know that I can’t have that.

: D

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