Hobbyists - How do you make it happen?

  • Very interesting thread. Worth reading! Thank you guys for your feedback.

    Well, my turn.

    Huge fan of videogames of all kind (RPG, Platform, Strategy, and Driving mostly) since I am a child, I started working on my own 2D platform game back in 2009. Afraid of gaming development, I put it aside... Thinking it was impossible.

    Anyway, 2 years ago, in January 2014 I became freelancer and came back to my idea of creating my own game. I now have almost 6 years of experience in the Web industry, and I feel more confident.

    I try to work on my video game every time I get some free time. Sometimes 1 day or 2 days per week, sometimes juste a few hours, but I try to focus step by step. Quite slowly, yes, but efficiently.

    What I found really helpful is to write or draw everything that comes in my mind. Any idea or concept, at any instant of my life, I write it down and come back to it later.

    Sometimes you desperate. This is normal, we are human. We sometimes need to get down to come back higher. When I loose motivations, I try to focus on my goals, and when I get stuck somewhere, I put it aside and get it back later.

    Being a indie dev is not that easy, but this is definetly a long but exciting journey!

    Well, I hope you will find it useful.

    This was just what's in my mind and what I wanted to say after reading all your interesting posts.

  • I came across Construct 2 a couple months ago and just finished my second game. They are not extremely polished and they could be better if I had the full license and more time but I can't believe how quickly a concept can come together using Construct 2. I have some background in programming so I think that helped a lot. Construct 2 isn't code but you still need to think like a programmer to use a lot of it.

    My process so far:

    1. Basic idea of game (I try to think of something fun that I would like to play.)

    2. Flesh out game mechanics

    3. Build the mechanics in Construct 2 using basic sprites

    4. Make some graphics and add them

    5. Add as much polish as you care to. (Sound effects, particle effects, nice transitions, better graphics, etc.)

    The 2 games I have made so far are nothing special but that's what I have done so far. I'm still learning different features of Construct 2 by just playing, reading the manual, and browsing the forum.

    I don't have much time as well which makes this pretty cool that I can even accomplish this. I've got a day job, wife, couple kids, and all the things that come with that. So Construct 2 is an awesome tool and time saver for making games. I'm amazed by it.

  • I always start my idea on paper, then create a couple of sprites, and make prototypes on construct 2, just to hardwire the sprites and see how it works, lots of try and error, mistakes and more mistakes

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  • I had a lot of ideas for a long time, but never really had any tool to make them until i found Construct 2. I tried a couple of times to make projects with friends. But there's often too many hickups and bumps along the road working in a team (On your "spare time"). If i really do need help on something I will actually consider paying someone to do it, or ask help in that particular matter.

    Many projects that you do on your spare time tends to become more of a burdon than a hobby if you involve too many people. Although, If you synchronise your vacations, sit together a couple of days/weekends/weeks working intensely and focused together towards the same goal, you can achieve a lot more than doing an hour here and there, depending on each other to fix certain things.

    If you really need to work together with other people on something doing it focused and intensely over a shorter period works way better than stray work every now and then. Getting together over the weekend, Rent a cabin in the woods (preferably with as few distractions as possible), kiss your partner goodbye, and just go crazy.

    For me when I'm working alone on something, i use the few hours after work every now and then for planning, inspiration, sketching, writing down ideas, and set a goal what I want to get done over the weekend. Then first thing Saturday morning I brew myself a nice cup of Java, and start work, until i'm too tired to continue, and the same thing on Sunday, if I don't have anything else booked.

    At least that's what works for me.

    Basically me in a nutshell as well. Although I swap my Saturdays with late night weekdays. I rather go ride my motorcycle or something like that on a Saturday. Otherwise yeah basically the same.

    I'm not sure how it's working out though. lots of concepts and ideas but nothing quite finished although the latest game is getting some traction

  • I usually get ideas first from games which I usually plays frequently .

  • I'm right there with you on procrastination XD

    there is always something getting on the way of i and game making, thats why ive decided to look for a learning partner somewhere on the forums! hopefully we can push each other limits and increase motivation

  • I spend 3 hours a day (4 days a week) making games or learning. I would love to double that easily. No procrastination here. The end result is what keeps me going.

  • I carry around a notebook with me everywhere that contains all sorts of weird (and sometimes good) ideas that I'll scribble down. If I want to start a new project, I'll just go through the notebook to see what's the most reasonable thing I could work on. I'm not a great graphical designer, so I stick to simpler looking games. (This helps a lot sometimes because then I can focus more on the actual gameplay rather than the graphics half the time.)

    As for procrastination, I've gotten hours of work done by putting on my headphones and listening to music as I do things. You'd be surprised how well listening to music works!

  • I think you just need to see game making as just another video game- you play it by making games and solving problems. It is the kind of game where you have to make your own goals and be your own judge of success (like Minecraft?!)

    To expand on this just a bit...

    When I was a poor college kid with a crappy laptop around the turn of the millennium, I used to spend a bunch of time playing very old school games. My machine couldn't run anything modern, and I didn't have the cash to buy a new game anyway so I would put in the time to get classics from the late 1980s to run in XP. Sometimes I would remember a game I played just once or twice at a buddy's house in grade school then dump ten hours into getting it to run correctly. After all that I might decide the game wasn't any good and delete it after just a couple hours of game play- but at a certain point I decided that it was worth it anyway. Basically that became the game- get a crappy old game to run right on my crappy computer. And that is kind of the same feeling I get form trying to get a game to work. Put in a ton of time and enjoy the problem solving process. I mean, I was already pouring time into playing game nearly every day. This is just another different kind of game.

  • I've had my idea for the game i'm creating for a few years now. However i've always been in full time employment and always found it difficult.

    It sounds stupid but I have a ton of motivation videos on YouTube on repeat. At some point last year my procrastination disappeared and my motivation appeared. I now make at least 2+ hours Monday-Saturday (10pm to midnight), and most importantly, take a complete break on Sunday to digest everything i've done in the week on the game.

    It rubs off in every other aspect of my life also. I have a great new job and just about to buy a house.

    The most inspiring and simple words i've heard, is oddly from Jim Carey. You can fail at what you don't want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

    A good start:

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  • Interesting topic.

    Been reading through several of the posts and notice that the discussion mostly focuses on ideas and how to translate them into a game. I'm not sure however that this is the most important focus, as in many cases there will be a big difference between your initial idea and the final game.

    I would therefore suggest the following:

    • Walk around, explore, take notes in all sorts of areas until you find an idea you find appealing
    • Avoid wanting to create the Nth version of an existing game. A trap many indie game developers seem to fall into... (unless you're just doing it for fun)
    • Find a great team of people with complementary skills and a desire to get things done. You will rarely as a single person have all the skills required

    to create something great (storytelling, playability/motivation & UX design, programming, graphic design)

    • Create a very basic first version to demonstrate the basic game mechanics and get out there to test with as many different people as possible in your target audience
    • Learn by these tests, improve and iterate until you have a game which people find great

    The main issue I find, is to find people to create a great team, as it involves:

    • Finding the right skills (that's not the most complicated part)
    • Finding people who get on well and truly commit to the project (can sometimes be an issue)
    • Finding people with an entrepreneurship mindset, who agree to work on a project without any immediate revenue (I find this is often difficult to find, as

    people with true skills will often already be freelancing on a variety of projects and may not want to commit several months to a project with the uncertainty

    linked to projects at an early stage)

    Any thoughts?

  • Yea that's an interesting topic.

    To answer the question and share my personal experience : I started by doing a pixel character animation, I found it cool to do, and then I went like "why not make a video game with that ?" knowing that at this stage I was already aware of Construct 2 because my brother was using it. So I just asked him to teach me the basics, then I played around for quite a while but I was really enthusiastic, and I eventually brought everything together and made the game. I would say now I am so passionate about it that it is not quite only a hobby anymore, but more than that. I kind of expect that after several games and more experience I would be able to sell my games and make money out of it. Also my main motivation to make games is that I am working for myself and I don't have a boss. I don't think I would like to make pixel art animation for a boss who would pay me for that, that would be too close to my professional job.

    I spend around 6 hours a day to do my professional job which is animating characters for cartoons (TVshow, advertising) and 3 hours a day working on my game if I don't hang out with friends in the evening. I'm very happy with that balance but I would rather do games all the time.

    I think lots of people have different motivations that bring them to eventually make a video game. One example that truly fascinate me is Tarn Adams who is a genius programmer. He started a game that most of you probably already know called "Dwarf Fortress". We could say that for him it is definitely a hobby considering that he is not motivated by money at all. But now it became so big and people donations are big enough so that he can actually do that all the time, I would say the hobby turned into "professional art".

    Notch even offered Tarn to give him a large amount of money so that he could hire a proper team to make his game. But Tarn refused explaining that it wasn't like that, it wasn't the purpose of what he was doing.

    @wmsgva I totally agree with what you're saying. Putting a good team together, even if you have money, is really really tricky. And if you don't have money, well... I think it's possible but very random. But I would add something more : Before coming up with ideas I think it's important to be very aware of what is done around in the indie game industry. Lots of famous indie developers are sharing their experiences on the internet and it is incredibly valuable knowledge. They also share their tips, their workflow sometime. Seeing what they do also let you know of the "trendiness" of what you do, or if your game is original or if there is actually already somebody who made a game that is like your idea. Being very active in communities is also something incredibly important as people can considerably feed your idea with other good ideas.

  • A good way is to find teammates for making games, otherwise,

    you will be so lonely even if you dun noticed it,

    then you drift away from games making before you even realized it.

  • The most important in making games are inspirations, innovations and creativity.

    I'll never make games without these principles.

  • Just set yourself some goals and keep working towards them

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