Don’t Wait for an Event, Job, Contest, Assignment, Invitation, Business Plan, or Context

Dec 1, 2010

This entry is the month’s “Advanced” article (in case the pattern isn’t apparent, every month I add one article for Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Special Topic). As such, I’m assuming here – contrary to the assumption made by 1/2-3/4 of the articles on this site – that you already know how to program in a practical language, are functionally fluent with digital art and audio creation, and have developed one or more videogame projects of your own design.

With that out of the way: don’t wait for an event, job, contest, assignment, invitation, business plan, or context to make what you want to make.

Want to work on an overhead racing game? Close the browser and go make it.

Want to work on a 3D puzzle game, a space exploration game, a scrolling shooter, a sniping mission, a mech combat game, a submarine stealth game, a game where you play as a squirrel gathering nuts or control weather to shape how tiny villages develop? Leave this web site, and go make it.

In case you’re still reading:

Set a date for it to be completed by. Whether that’s 6 months away or 24 hours away, scale the style, features, polish, and scope to whatever it takes to make that schedule. Tens of thousands of amateur videogame developers routinely put together playable, original projects over 24-48 hour spans in game jams. There’s nothing wrong with game jams – but there’s absolutely no reason to wait for a game jam to roll around to create something in 2 days. Or 2 weeks. Or 2 months. There’s no reason why it has to only take place a few times a year, while other people are doing it, or in connection to some arbitrary centralized theme.

(That’s where this came from in 2-8 hours daily, and most of these which took 1-5 months each, and the unfunded half of these that were done in 7-70 hours.)

It may not be clear how to market it, who it’s for, how it will turn out, or even why it’s being done. Don’t let that get in the way. It’s probable that at some point in the future a situation will unexpectedly come up to share and show off something that you’ve done. Whether or not you’ll have something that fits the occasion will depend on whether or not something was put together well before there was reason to have done so.

Is there something you want to be making, or want to have made, that you’re capable of creating on your own (or creating “enough of” on your own to fill in the blanks for now), that you haven’t yet started making?

Then why on Earth are you on the internet reading?

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