Game Development discouragement and what to do about it

I’ve been working on my asteroids VR game which has changed shape a couple of times already. Google has now opened the submission of Daydream apps to all developers so now we’re seeing more Daydream apps come online every day. My strategy was to get something done and released to Daydream before a glut of VR games saturated the store.

An idea for one of the scenarios in the game. A thief ship.

I still might be able to accomplish that, but I’m currently having difficulty as to what this VR game should actually be. What is the core game play mechanic? What are the rewards? Should there be locked scenarios? What kind of scenarios should there be? What should the user interface look like in VR? These are just a few of the numerous questions that have plagued me during this project. Trying find an answer to each of these and put it into code can at times be a long process. Even after you finish implementing something it doesn’t feel like you have accomplished much.

“If I could only code faster.”

“If only I had a better idea of how to implement feature A.”

“If I had half the talent of [big name game developer] I could already have this done.”

These are a few of the things that have popped into my head at times.  Here is the deal. Game development is hard. The ideas may come pretty easily and coding up a prototype to test the idea might not take too long. However, once you’ve settled on an idea and begin to tackle coding all the other stuff (user interface, save/load system, upgrades, rewards, in-app purchasing, web-site design, checks to make sure a user doesn’t crash your game), you begin to feel the weight of it all. As a single-person indie studio, you have to do all these things yourself not to mention sound design, music, marketing, building, packaging and releasing the game to x platforms.  I don’t care who you are. That’s a lot of stuff for one person to do. What’s more is you also have to resign yourself to not expect much (or anything) in terms of response to your game once it comes out. There are just so many games on all the stores now. Many of them free to play, but not all good. Most are junk, but it doesn’t matter because in this age of plentiful games, marketing is king. If you don’t have serious money to spend on it, you probably won’t get very far.  As a result, implementation of the answers you come up with to these questions that come up can become quite a slog.

Experiencing this ebb and flow of motivation and discouragement on whatever ‘main’ project I happen to be working on, I’ve come up with a schedule for my week. It’s designed to not hold me to that slog all day every day. I get breaks from the main project to go and create prototypes of other game ideas, etc. It also includes some production of programming tutorials as well as steaming game programming, and posting to this blog weekly. You’ll hear more about these other endeavors as they manifest. Until then. Try to stay motivated.

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