THE GAME IS AFOOT

When I started this latest stint of unemployment, I had a few things on a list I wanted to accomplish while had this luxury of free time. Some things, like upgrading my computer, I got on right away without delay. Others became victim to my weakness for procrastination, a flaw of mine that I wholly admit to. One of my high concept goals was to make my own game. Now that goal could lead to disappointment in so many different ways if I didn’t scope it correctly. A former co-worker of mine had the same goal of making his own game and it took him years and it exhausted his life savings. Oh sure, he’s successful now and made all that money back several times over but that’s not immense undertaking I want to start on.

My more modest goal is to just get a simple mobile game out on the Google Play distribution platform. My impetus for doing so isn’t because I think I have a great idea for a game that will entertain millions. On the contrary, the game design is the thing that I’m devoting the least amount of time to. My focus is on the setup and usage of all the tools and infrastructure to develop and support a limited scope mobile game. I want to use a popular and well-regarded game engine to make my game and then go through the steps of submitting it to Google Play. In my case, the journey itself is definitely much more important than the destination. In fact, I think the game itself will be quite boring to play and likely be lowly rated but that’s ok.

Now, I dragged my feet on this for several long weeks, mostly because it was just easier to stay up late, sleep in, play video games, and eat fried foods. Slowly but surely though, I made small steps towards reaching this goal. Recently, I downloaded and installed Unity3D, a popular game engine and development platform for mobile games. For small independent developers, which I guess I fall into that category, Unity is free to use. I’ve had some experience with Unity at two different companies. I’ve also installed and setup the Android software development kit, which is required if my game is to target Android platforms. Last night, the last piece of the software puzzled was installed, that being Perforce, my source control solution. Perforce allows me to have version control over all the files used in my game development. For those not familiar with version control, it’s like having access to all the revisions of an essay you wrote in Microsoft Word.

So with all the software installed and ready to go, you might be wondering if I have an idea for a game. Well, that part stumped me for a long time. Partly because I’m not really that good of a game designer and partly because I really didn’t care about the design. Thankfully, I thought of something fairly simple and stupid for the basis of my game. I’m pretty sure there are already some existing mobile games that use the same idea. I don’t care because if there are a dozen Flappy Bird clones out there and then I can make own stupid game as well (which has nothing to do with birds).

Of course, the hardest part is next, the actual making of the game. Let the real work begin now.

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