My Crash Course into Game Development

Introduction

This time last year I was in Germany for vocational training at ERA (“02.02.2020 : FinnFriends” Post), and being in a new environment really gave me a new perspective on the world. I saw Mr. Halliers passion for his work and got inspired to generally start creating more rather than consuming all the time. I was studying IT at the time and had found special interest in 3D graphics and programming, so I wanted to start expanding my skills on those fronts. I started doing small projects and tutorials to develop my skills, programmed some mobile apps and made some 3D models for example. Eventually I stumbled upon game development where I could combine these skills and so the small projects continued but now instead, in game development. Game development being such a wide field you can easily get into a seemingly endless loop of tutorials, the so-called tutorial hell. It felt like I was in it, doing all these learning projects knowing I was making some progress, but having nothing to show for it and I wanted to change that.

TiltNarrow

Next step

I started designing my first game that I would actually finish, googling everything I thought I had to know when designing a game and thinking of ideas for the game. Design The designing phase was rushed to say the least, I knew I wanted to release it on the Google Play Store and I pretty much ran with the first idea I got that hadn’t already been turned into a game.

Execution

The development up until the first release took roughly about 4 months and consisted of many twists and turns, mainly because I tried to make the game more fun by implementing more and more features. What I now know I should've done was to prototype the idea and I probably would’ve thrown it out the window, but what I had now was essentially a polished prototype of a bad idea. Oh those summer days, writing code in your room for 8 hours straight. To be honest though, screaming at your disobedient code still might get you a better sweat than going outside to freeze, it's Finland after all.

Release

Releasing the game felt the easiest due to having released an app previously on the same platform. Playing a game you know everything about again and again gets boring real fast and the fact that no prototyping was done lead to me having very little confidence in the game. This made promoting hard, but I thought it would still be a great opportunity to learn how to navigate the advertisement platforms and know what might work and what might not for upcoming projects.

ProgrammingChair

Endnote

In the end I learned so many little things I wouldn’t have learned through tutorials and concepts I wouldn’t have understood the importance of by watching others preach about them. The biggest lessons among the thousands learned are that never skimp out on prototyping or designing and set aside more time for project management. So although not being satisfied with the end product, the project was an extremely valuable learning experience, and I would highly encourage others to go through a full product development project pretty early on. Just try to design and scope out yours a little better than I did.

Link to the end product for the ones that are interested