This post is the first of a series of posts by independent game developers. They will be sharing their experiences and advice for aspiring developers, as well as their viewpoints on the game industry. Our first guest blogger is George Hufnagl, co-founder of My Escape, an eight-month-old development company.
As we conclude production on our group’s first game and dovetail into the sophomore title, I am letting out a poignant sigh of relief because, for our group My Escape, we are about to achieve a victory toward which our progress had me holding my breath for months. Four artists, three programmers, one designer, audio designer/producer and advertising consultant later, we are excited to release Critter Cubes, a micro game that serves as a stepping stone for what we aim to be a long and healthy journey as a developer. Our current team of seven (wonderful) members is pumped, not because we are breaking any technological barriers or hailing in a new epoch of development, but because we finished a game. Yep. That’s it.
In the eyes of the gaming community, this will likely be a minor contribution to what is, in reality, an overcrowded carnival of multi-million-dollar AAA games, match three variations and everything in between. In our eyes, however, it means the world, because despite having eyes that were bigger than our stomachs, the unkept commitments of former members, the multiple changes in direction for a game that we never completed, the technological uncertainties and the fact that we work exclusively online with a 14-hour difference in time zones, we finished a game. Yep. We did it.
Entering our eighth month as a team, I am building up a nice tab of lessons learned, including:
- Enthusiasm is paramount. Don’t work with anyone whose voice doesn’t get higher when they talk about their work.
- Someone needs to be the boss. Bohemia is nice for vacation, but not for game development.
- Structure your time before, during and after development, both individually and collectively.
- Encourage your teammates.
- Encourage yourself.
- Be creative.
- Be nice.
- Be honest.
The question to ask is, “when the proverbial hits the fan, what will carry us through?” Is it the accolades, the (virtual) bags of money, the legions of fans? Those are nice, but they’re all superfluous to the main event – your gaming Id – desire, passion, enthusiasm. The rest is just noise.
About My Escape: To etch the brand in online gamers' memory, My Escape seeks to create games that will entertain and appeal to those seeking a less-immersive gaming experience and a quick escape from quotidian reality. Competing in the online gaming industry that boasts to reach nearly one out of every two Internet users (Flash Games Market Survey, ComScore via Mochi Media, 2010), My Escape is set to play ball by introducing games centered on oddness, strangeness and peculiarity.
For more information about My Escape, please visit www.my-escape.net.