Thursday, May 14, 2015

Game Development

John Marine | 2:48 PM | | |
#gamedev can be expensive- mentally and financially. Building assets and trying to develop games efficiently can be quite consuming. There is also programming that plays into it. These days are more like a Golden Age to make a game. Reason(s) why is because there are so many resources out there for game development. Also, hobbyists and independent (indie) developers have gotten themselves across in ways never before possible in making quality games vs. what major developers are making.

This blog post is a general look at game development.

About the Label: Game Development

Topics under this label are directed towards game development. This also includes programs and other insights in regards to game development.

--- Game Development in General ---

Do a search on social media. Look up terms like #indiedev and #gamedev on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other place. Everyone involved in creating games offer a variety of different games in development. Everyone has a certain level of creativity that they want to share with others and include in games. I have been thankful through Twitter and Instagram to see so many different game developers offer their own creations to the Internet. It never ceases to amaze me just what developers will come up with.

Some game developers are a collective effort. Some others may even be one-person studios: art, media, and programming. Proper teams and studios make games. No matter what, making games can be quite a task with a good amount of reward for successful games.

Game Development Today.

When I was in my teenage years in the 1990s, there were times I envisioned creating a proper game. I had many different ideas, but NEVER being able to actually go through all that makes a game a game- especially coding and building assets. I used to be a Computer Animation major before going to Graphic Design and then Broadcasting/Journalism. So I was never formally trained to program. I even tried back in the mid-late 1990s to learn Visual Basic.

Now look at today. Not only are independent and hobbyist types try to develop games, there are more resources available to help make even the simplest of games. This is somewhat a golden time of game making with the advent of many indie developers. A lot of programs these days are helping in making game development more efficient rather than take a very long time to develop one single game, let alone a prototype of a game.

Harsh Realities of Game Development.

Perhaps the harshest reality of game development is that is is expensive. I literally swear that with some of the resources available to you in this day and age, you need something equal to at least $100 US Dollars to have proper access to and gain full features of a lot of different gaming interfaces and platforms. That is especially if you intend on developing games for certain platforms and even making material for commercial use. For example, you can create and publish a Flash-based game to certain online game sites like Kongregate and Newgrounds. But if you want to port a Flash game to something like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, or something like that; most programs and interfaces require you to buy a license or pay for a subscription service. You may even need to download extra material to be able to create games for certain platforms.

The Cost of Game Development.

How much can this cost? It can be quite expensive! Let me give you a few examples of how much it costs to buy licenses for certain downloadable programs. Don't worry- I will include links to these products later in this blog post and into the sidebar of my blog in case you want to learn more about each item. (Prices as of April 17, 2015; in US Dollars, and excludes taxes):

ImpactJS (a paid HTML5 gaming interface): $99 USD

Stencyl: free for Starters to publish to the Web; $99 USD a year for Indie developers (Web and Desktop); $199 USD a year (Web, Desktop, iOS, and Android)

Construct 2: free to download, develop only for Web, no commercial use; $129.99 USD for Personal License (develop to Web, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Amazon Store, Wii U, and make in-app purchases, limited commercial use); $429 USD for Business License (develop to Web, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Amazon Store, Wii U, and make in-app purchases, full commercial use)

GameMaker Studio: free for Personal Use; $49 USD for GameMaker Studio Professional package; $799 USD for GameMaker Studio Master package

Marmalade: free to download for personal usage; $15 USD (excluding tax) per month or $149 USD per year (excluding tax) for Community license; $499 USD (excluding tax) per year for Indie license; $1,500 USD (excluding tax) per year for Plus license; $3,500 USD (excluding tax) per year for Pro license

Corona: free to download for Personal Use; $79 USD developer per month, billed annually for Enterprise Small Business; $199 USD developer per month, billed annually for Enterprise Unlimited

Unity: Personal Edition is free with certain limitations; Professional Edition starts at $75 USD per month

Some of these programs even offer reduced prices for students. Some licenses may even require you to upgrade to higher licenses if you make a certain amount of revenue from your game sales. For example, if you make about $5K USD in revenue from your game sales, and if you are using a certain program for your games, you may be asked to buy a higher license. I only noted game engines that have pricing plans to them.

--- Game Development: What the OUYA Taught Me ---

I mentioned earlier in this post that today is sort of like a Golden Age of game development. Nowhere is this more apparent to me than with games offered for the OUYA. The OUYA is an Android-based gaming console that gained fame as being this different kind of console. People backed this console via its Kickstarter campaign back in 2012 or so. Many people were frustrated with the OUYA, especially those who waited for a long while for their OUYA to be delivered to their homes. Some others totally dislike the OUYA since it used outdated technology (it has an nVidia Tegra 3 processor, for example).

The key element that I take away from the OUYA is how simple it can be to make and publish a game. Did you know that two games posted in the OUYA's gaming lineup were made by (respectively) an eight-year old ("Asteroid Rescue") and another game made by a 12-year old ("Knockout")? Not everyone who publish games for the OUYA are proper game studios. On top of that, the OUYA team looks at every uploaded game and reviews them before including them into their ever-expanding game library. One thing I have learned is that you don't have to be overly talented to make a decent game. People usually think you have to be anywhere from a very popular independent game studio to a Triple-A level developer to make games. This, however, is certainly untrue. Some games created by some developers are actually quite good or could be much better. A lot of people would easily hate on people because their games aren't Triple-A quality. Some others, however, can find enjoyment in even simple games as much as they do more of the higher-quality games.

As much as people have different skill levels of making art and other creative works, people have different levels of skill in making games. You have fully detailed games done by talented individuals and studios, and then you have more casually designed games made by some lesser studios and hobbyist game developers. Being able to create games is possible by almost anyone. And with so many people willing to design games to publish online and for a console like the OUYA, that's why I think almost anyone these days can make a decent quality game to publish online. That's why I say this is somewhat of a Golden Age of game development. You can be a total hobbyist and make a game that ends up selling wildly and becomes enjoyed by many people. Formal training in game development or in mathematics is not required to be a celebrated game developer. Both, of course, are good to have in making games.

So look around the OUYA games marketplace to gain perspective on the many games created by people of various skill levels. You would be surprised at what all people have done to make such games worthy of being played by others.

Here on John's Creative Space, I will be sure to highlight on certain game making engines. I want my visitors to gain my thoughts and such in regards to such game development engines. I want to send all of you my best wishes in developing games ranging from prototypes to full-on games. "John's Creative Space" will certainly help in expressing and exposing such game development programs and engines. So be sure to visit my blog here for more information and insight from me. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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