games

WestYorkshireGamer's Games of the Year 2017

Well, 2017 has been quite a year hasn’t it? Despite everything going on with the world at large, what the debacle that is Brexit and the farce that is the US presidency to name but two, you would think that as a year, it pretty much sucks.

Strange then, that 2017 has been an exceptionally strong year in games, with two console launches (Xbox One X does count!) and some of the most impressive games of all time. Maybe the good really does have to come with the bad, who knows, but as gamers we are exceptionally lucky.

So here I present my top ten games of 2017. Now, quick disclaimer: not all of these came out in 2017, but I played them this year and got a lot out of them, whether that be a complete play through or just a newfound appreciation for what the game in question is doing. I hope you enjoy this list, and have a great christmas and happy new year!

 

10.Wolfenstein: The New Order

One of my earliest gaming memories is getting a copy of both DOOM and the original Wolfenstein on floppy disk from my uncle, and I played both to death. Ultimately I prefered DOOM, but Wolfenstein stayed with me too.

The New Order is a perfect example of a developer who took that original game and made it their own. Machine Games made a game in the franchise that exceeds all others. It plays great, has a surprisingly nuanced and heartfelt story (shock!) and has enough blood to refloat the titanic!

A sequel, The New Colossus, was released this year but I was unable to get the time to play it, though I am fully looking forward to digging into it in the new year.

 

9.Pokemon Go

So this might be a controversial one, because lets be honest here, there still isn’t much to the game. You can collect those adorable pocket monsters, and that is the main meat of the game. Niantic might have added raids and Pokemon from both Gen 2 and Gen 3, as well as those awesome Legendaries, but still, you walk about and collect.

Still though, it is a more satisfying experience than many give it credit for. The act of filling up the pokedex is surprisingly fulfilling, and by deciding that’s all I wanted to do I had a much better time with the game. More than that though, I have found that it’s social hooks are where it’s true strength lies.

Playing it when I hung out with my god son’s this year cemented the game as a bone fide social experience. We bonded over capturing pokemon and completing raids together, and while I was told on more than one occasion the CP level of my creatures sucked, I had a great time nonetheless.

 

8.Pyre

Certain developers have their own style. I am not talking about design philosophy here, I mean style. The now defunct Irrational Games’ style was for cool settings with deep story and at least tried to make you think, whether it always worked or not.

Supergiant Games have a style, though Pyre proves it isn’t what I first thought. Their first two games, Bastion and Transistor, showed this through top notch voice acting and awesome gameplay, but Pyre proves where it is actually at: Music and Writing.

Within five minutes of playing I could tell this was a Supergiant joint, not because of the way it played, but because of the audio cues, and the way the characters were written. There is a certain wit and playfulness at play, each character at times super serious before shifting into a quality one liner.

The music immediately conjures the developers previous games, while at the same time being its own thing. The fact that the mystical three on three basketball inspired sport that you play throughout is also awesome, surprisingly deep and full of tactics and intuitive is just a bonus. If you haven’t played a Supergiant game before, this is a perfect jumping in point, and once you have finished here pick up both Bastion and Transistor straight after.

 

7.Golf Story

Those who know me know that I don’t do sports. I can have a slight conversation around esports and Taekwondo, but all the ‘main’ sports I just don’t get. Football is eleven overpaid idiots kicking a ball around a field for ninety minutes and falling down every so often, for example.

However, I am not opposed to the odd sports game, and it has long been my opinion that golf is the perfect sport for a videogame. I remember playing golf games on my dads first PC, before Windows was even a thing, and having a surprisingly great time with it.

Golf Story is a modern take on those older games. It might look like a SNES game, but it has very modern underpinnings. It is an RPG where battles are tests of skill with a iron or putter than with a sword, and boss battles are actually tournaments on various courses.

The writing is surprisingly good, with a story revolving around a man who wants to honour his father's memory, and leaves his waning marriage to do so. There are funny moments to be had, it's a little absurd as all good RPG’s are, and the gameplay is very tight.

 

6.Subterfuge

If you have never heard of Subterfuge, you won’t be alone. I only came across it because of the folks over at Waypoint, who discussed it on a podcast. I asked some friends at work if they were up for a game, and as they say, the rest is history.

This is game as much about how well you know your friends as it is about the actual in app gameplay. Each player starts out with a few bases and a few drillers, your basic combatants. From there you have basically two options: expand or attack. All the players in the game are on the same map, and depending on game mode you have to either mine a certain amount of the games main resource, or control a set number of outposts.

The trick is that in order to do that, you have to forge alliances, but doing that with only certain players might piss off the others. Then again, it might prove to be rewarding, and the key is knowing how to socially engineer your victory. I suck at this. I won my first game because I quickly got to grips with how to actually attack, but after that, those that are more subversive than I am quickly started screwing me over.

You will get screwed over. All the time. But that is what is great about Subterfuge, it gives you a set of tools, and from there it really is up to you to win, if you don’t you just weren’t thinking about all the variables. It is awesome, if you have friends who are up for it, give this a try.

 

5.Tacoma

Fullbright Company has had exactly two games. You should play both. The first, Gone Home, was my game of the year at release, and while its follow up, Tacoma, didn’t grab me like that game did, it is still an awesome tale, told in a unique way.

Set aboard Lunar Transfer Station Tacoma, players use an AR interface to replay recorded footage of the crew, and figure out exactly what happened to them. It sounds rubbish on paper, but it is so compelling that each scene propels you to find the next, deciphering just what happened to the crew.  

As with Gone Home the writing is top notch, though I found this far less compelling, the setting actually taking away from the story. That said, I recognise a great game when I see one, and this is certainly a great game.

 

4.Destiny 2

I loved the original Destiny, flaws and all. So the sequel impressed me even more, packing more story and content into the main release than the original and its first two expansions couldn’t even match.

The gun play is as A grade as ever, this being Bungie, but the single player campaign is actually quite good for the sci-fi action movie it is, and the loot grind is always fun. It might be very derisive as a series, but Destiny 2 is one of the year’s best shooters, just as it predecessor was back in 2014.

 

3.Super Mario Odyssey

In a year where this was Nintendo’s only release, it would probably be at the top of many of these types of lists, possibly even my own. However, that isn’t the 2017 we live in, and while you can always rely on the house that Mario built to provide top notch platforming, this year simply isn’t the plumbers domain.

Having said that, Odyssey is an awesome game. It feels great to play, looks fantastic and has plenty of power moons to find. Finding them all means exploring the levels, and some of them are hidden in genuinely ingenious places, get one of those and you really do feel like your intelligence increased by +1.

Even before release, I figured Odyssey would prove to be at least one of the year's best platformers, knowing how Nintendo creates them, but it surpassed even my expectations. If you get a switch for Christmas and don’t get this with it, consider it your second essential buy after Zelda.

 

2.Horizon: Zero Dawn

I remember watching the first reveal of this,  the open field, the redhead main character sneaking through the undergrowth and of course, that giant robotic dinosaur. As far as cool sci-fi worlds go, this one was placed firmly on my radar.

Upon release, I was sucked into its world and didn’t want to leave. The open world was huge, you will always find something new around the next corner, be that a village, a mission or a new type of robotic creature.

Those creatures have awesome designs, each with their own behaviors but more over their own strengths and weaknesses, and you always feel that with the right tools you can overcome any threat. Battles are always satisfying, and I spent a silly amount of time just hunting packs of machines for the fun of it.

The story is really great too, and Aloy, as a main character, is surely to become one of the most popular, not only because she is a cool cosplay idea, but also because she goes on a genuine journey in this game. She doesn’t start out a badass, but the tale the game weaves makes her that way, and by the end she unlocks her true potential in the best way.

It looks awesome, plays great and tells a brilliant tale in a unique world. This more than earned a place on my list by looks alone, but with everything else it is a worthy second place on this list, and a must for all PS4 owners.

 

1.The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It is very simple: If you own a switch, you should own this. Breath of the Wild represents what a developer can do with their core franchises if they are given leave to do pretty much what they want. This can be a double edged sword of course, and too much of a departure could permanently kill the series.

Luckily Breath of the Wild isn’t that. In fact it is one of the greatest games ever made, hands down. It is arguably the best in the series, and that is due to the aforementioned departure from series norms. It is the most radically different Zelda in years, bringing with it a fresh take on the concept that works as well as just about any other, if not surpasses it.

The open world portrayed here presents you with something new to do every five minutes, from small challenges, to the puzzle shrines, to a new enemy to fight. Everything you need is open from the very beginning, and speedrunners have been able to complete it in thirty minutes, but I myself took nearly seventy hours, and that is the beauty of the game. You can do it in less time and just complete the story, but there is so much more to it than that.

The systems at play interact in ways that even the developers didn’t anticipate, and for months after release players are finding new ways to mess with world. The thing is, none of that are bugs, it's just those systems doing what they do, and it is awesome.

Breath of the wild represents not only the pinnacle of the series, but also the open world genre, Nintendo’s games and 2017 in gaming. It will go down in history for all of these reasons and more, and will be talked about for years to come.

Living with Imposter Syndrome

To the outside world, I am every bit the ‘normal’ person. I have a family, a job, friends. I eat, sleep and play. I do everything everyone else does and, to the outside world, I do so without any friction or conflict. But that world doesn’t see what goes on inside, the feelings of doubt, an almost self defining level of under confidence and ideas that are tossed away almost immediately while telling myself I am not good enough to be worthy of anything.

I have Imposter Syndrome, and here is my story.

Imposter Syndrome is a condition where:

“... a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.

It is basically feeling that you are not really a successful, competent, and smart person, that you are only imposing as such.”

*http://counseling.caltech.edu

It is not the quite the same as low self esteem, though that is, in my opinion, part of it. I.S is the feeling that you don’t even have the right to do or even think something. That you cannot possibly perform or create something because you clearly have no idea what to do, so rather than learn you dismiss the idea and move on.

This condition is normally associated with high achievers and successful individuals - game developers for example, and can be enhanced by family dynamics, such as being labeled ‘the smart one’ by your parents. This wasn’t the case with me, I wasn’t ever labeled the smart one. I haven’t ever been that.

Or have I? I haven’t ever identified as being smart, I haven’t heard any member of my family refer to me as ‘the smart one’ and have in fact felt the exact opposite, that I am in fact pretty dumb, and the life I have built for myself is more out of sheer luck that anything.

While researching this article, I discovered that this feeling of luck is actually part of my years long battle with I.S. People prone to it often state that they feel anything they achieve or create is more through luck than any kind of skill or intelligence, that without even trying they have fooled the universe and at some point they will be discovered, and everything will come crashing down around them.

It is the worse part of the experience, because that feeling never goes away. I always feel like I am going to be ‘found out’ for the fraud of a human that I am, and my world will come tumbling down around me. It gives rise to feeling like I am very bad at just being a person at times, with my geeky ways meaning most people cannot relate.

This also gives way to extreme procrastination. For example, I have had this article floating in my head for nearly 2 years, but up until now have always dismissed the idea. What right do I have to write about this? Everyone will say I am attention seeking. Everyone will think that I just need to get over it.

This is a bit of ignorance mixed with rational thought on their part. Imposter Syndrome is, at least on paper, a bit daft. I fully realize that it could be seen as an overreaction to something relatively simple, and that it should be pretty easy to get past it.

Except I can’t do that. Writing this is proving challenging. My heart is pounding in my chest, all I can think about is the rejection when I try to pitch it to a big gaming site it seems ripe for, and the comments I will get from my friends and family, the disappointed tone in their voices leading me to not follow dreams and ambitions because, clearly, I am talking out of my arse.

I hate being this way. I used to associate it with only creative types, so I avoided creating to get around the problem, which made things worse because I was constantly coming up with things to write about, game designs, movies which would be cool to see. The problem is my version was so bad that sometimes merely living proved problematic, I would be walking around thinking it is just luck that I have friends, a wife, a life worth living, one day they will find out and then I will be on the streets, with no one and nothing.

Not creating anything didn’t help, so I started to write reviews and articles on videogames, and while I am not the most well known name on the scene, and have had a couple of people I have worked with on gaming sites subtly (or not) suggest I wasn’t good enough for what they were trying to build. One even asked me if I was dyslexic. I get ahead of myself when writing, I admit, and have probably more than one mental health issue, but that isn’t one.

That last incident caused me to stop writing for a couple of years. Clearly if I was being asked that, without actually having it, then my writing was beyond terrible. It never occurred to me that maybe the people asking would rather assume I had a health problem than try to work with me to improve my writing.

Bear in mind that while I went to university, the course I did was in general computing, nothing resembling writing in any sense, apart from some coding. I had no english degree, just a ‘C’ in GCSE english. I had always liked to write, but had always been taught I needed a proper job. I never considered that I could write about games and technology and it be a valid career.

So I got that proper job, but the itch to write never went away. I wrote fan fic, original stories and the odd character bio, but I kept stopping and starting. The I.S. always taking me away from it, preventing it from being anything more than a hobby, and one that I kept feeling I shouldn’t be allowed to do.

These days, I am starting to work out ways to deal with my I.S. Some are indeed, just getting over it, but others take more mental effort than I care to admit, leaving me exhausted. I have finally written this, the white whale, and gotten it out there for people to see, relate to and hopefully help. My hope is that if others out there have a similarly extreme case they can read this, maybe even reach out, and we can help each other through it.

I also created my first game, after having that design rattle around in my head for over a decade, and I am proud of myself for doing it. The game itself, being objective, isn’t stunning by any stretch of the imagination, but by the end of my time designing and creating it I was so happy I had worked through my negative feelings that I was smiling for a couple of days.

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome is not an easy task. Some days it will wash over you and move on, just a lingering feeling in the back of your mind that can be easily rid. Others, it hits like a sledgehammer. Your heart pounds, mind racing with all the terrible ways what you are doing can go wrong and ruin your life. All you can see is the worst outcome, and, as the song goes, those are the days that never end.


If you need to, go to the doctors and ask for help and if you don’t want to, then do what you are thinking because all those people that inspire you? Yeah they probably felt the same way until they created the thing that sparks your imagination, and they might not have training or anything, they just might have ‘fallen into’ what they are doing and ended up loving it. You deserve to do something you love too.

Some Thoughts on the Switch

I love this thing, there I said it. The house that Mario built has enriched the gaming landscape again, and while it's not the perfect console, it does what it's designed to, extremely well. Its hybrid nature just making sense without being forced, far surpassing its predecessor in every way.

The Wii U was a system with problems. A lack of third party support, confusing messaging on what it actually was and a game pad that felt like a toy. All these added up to a system that, while having some fans, was generally seen as a flop. Naturally, concerns were high when rumors started about Nintendo’s next system.

After nearly a month with the Switch, I can say that those concerns were, for the most part, unfounded. The Switch feels like the system the Wii U should have been, a natural consolidation of the company’s portable and console devices that actually works.

All the guts are contained in a device that's essentially a modern tablet. The dock is literally just that, hardly any electronics and extremely easy to setup, but it does feel a bit light and flimsy, I feel like knocking it off the tv stand would easily cause a crack. The actual tablet section, though, feels great in your hands, like a modern, high tech piece of kit.

By today's standards of course that isn’t the case, the latest iPad’s far outpacing the internal technology of the Switch. They also do a lot more, capable of running games, web browsing, email, even replacing a laptop. By comparison, the switch is a meager offering, only capable of playing and downloading games.

The best thing about the Switch is that it's a hybrid, allowing you to pull it out of the dock and take it with you. This is one of those things you didn’t know you needed. It is brilliant, especially if you have limited time, because you can grab five or ten minutes here and there, playing the full main console game at your desk on your lunch hour or sat in the car waiting for someone.

The system does exactly what it says on the tin - its a gaming system through and through. The default controllers, the Joy-Con’s, are much nicer than I first thought. Worry set in after the initial reveal that they would be too small in my hands and it would annoy me, but actually they’re perfect.

You can use the Joy-Con’s in a few ways, and all feel pretty sweet. You can attach them to the tablet with a satisfying ‘click’ and use it more like the Wii U’s tablet controller, though it feels much more solid than that thing ever did. You can undock them and hold one in each hand, which works surprisingly well and is the method I use when playing on my lunch hour, and finally you can click them into the bundled Joy-Con grip, turning them into something akin to a standard controller.

The flipside of the grip is that they don’t charge when using it, it is literally just a fancy holding device. To charge them you have to keep them attached to the Switch and dock it. It’s not exactly a deal breaker but it is a bit annoying. The upside is the battery life on them is great, so you don’t have to do this that often.

The major downers, and there are some, is that out of the box, some online features are missing until an update later in the year. This includes chat in online multiplayer, but at least the multiplayer launched with the system.

That update will be a paid subscription service, which I will happily sign up to, especially since it will reportedly be cheaper than similar services on the other consoles. The biggest problem with the online portion of the switch is that they still haven’t figured out a better system than the bloody friend codes. It was archaic when they first introduced it, and it downright prehistoric now.

The other major problem is that the left Joy-Con loses synchronisation with the console, causing it to not respond or send false signals. It is maddening when it happens, and requires some rather stupid workarounds to solve, though Nintendo have now come out and said it is down to a manufacturing error and they will fix it if required.


Overall, the Switch is a quality bit of kit. It has some problems, sure, but it doesn’t change the fact that Nintendo have learnt from their mistakes with the Wii U and improved on the initial design. I hope that they slowly kill off the 3/2DS and move over to just Switch development, as it’s hybrid nature is the perfect excuse, and it is the best portable gaming device on the market.

A Post Mortem on Developing my Game, D.A.B.G

Like many avid games players, I have spent many an hour arm chair designing when I came across moments that provided frustration, annoyance or a weird solution to a problem. I am not the first and certainly won't be the last, but after almost a decade of thinking about it, I finally decided enough was enough, and made a game myself.

First off, I haven’t made any money from this game, nor do I have any intention to. It would be nice don’t get me wrong, but I am not an idiot despite what many people say: The game just isn’t good enough to make any money from. This was a learning exercise and one I heartily enjoyed.

But it does beg the question, can I call myself a developer? Well in my heart, I am torn on this. Games Developer, as much as I would like it to be, isn’t my full time job title. I won’t be making money doing it, same as I don’t make money writing. I have always been of the mind that if you don’t make money from something you do, you can’t formally call yourself that.

However, I spent hours of my life on this project, across a few months. I formally released the game on itch.io and have even had a couple of downloads. When I say a couple I mean five total. Two of which were me testing the itch.io download to make sure everything was working. The code is all mine, the ‘art’ such as it is, was created by my own hand and the systems in place were all designed by me. So yeah, I guess I am in fact, a Games Developer.

I have to say it's a nice feeling to call myself that, after years of trying and failing to even get interviews for jobs at games companies - jobs that aren’t even design or coding orientated. I recently tried for a Senior IT technician role at a developer, basically doing what I do full time now and was told my skill set doesn’t match. Which sucks.

The last few years have been awash with games developed by people ‘doing it themselves’ as it were. Old school designers have stated it is a return to the ‘bedroom coder’ era of the 80’s, but with a generation that grew up playing games and dreaming about making them, and then making that dream a reality.

That was me. I dreamed of being part of a team that made great games, like the ones I was playing on my PC and consoles at the time, and tried several times to get into it. The problem I have always had, though, is a severe case of impostor syndrome. I am considering another article on that so I will leave it there, suffice to say that if you know what it is, it can be crippling.

25 years later I overcame that (yes, its that bad), and downloaded a copy of Game Maker, yoyo games free engine. It sat on my laptop for a couple of months, but once I loaded it up, I ran through the first couple of tutorials and went from there.

Those tutorials are pretty great. You make games almost as rubbish as mine, but it slowly teaches you how to use the ‘drag and drop’ interface and gets a game going pretty quickly. The engine has its problems from my admittedly low use, but as a starting point, that first glimpse into the development cycle, it has pretty damn sweet.

Game Maker uses a ‘drag and drop’ interface to allow you to get up and running quickly, and I have seen some marketing materials that state you do not need to know how to code at all to make great games with it. My experience differs from that statement. While yes, the interface is great and means you don’t have to memorize built in or create new methods and algorithms and actually type them into a code editor, getting it to do anything slightly more complicated that what the thing you dropped is supposed to do is a pain.

For example, I have a ball in D.A.B.G ( henceforth being called ‘the game’) that bounces around the screen, and when it hits a goal at the bottom, assuming it's the same colour, it speeds up and increases the score by one. The drag and drop interface should mean I can place all the elements to make that work into the GUI and set a few parameters and hey presto, but that doesn’t track.

That interface has a set number of things you can in fact ‘drag and drop’. Things like mouse click events, what happens when an object is created in the game and how to display the score. Which is good for beginners, but if you want it do what I wanted to with the ball, I had to drop the ‘execute code’ item in the correct place, and then write code to get it to speed up and change the score, as well as check for the colour.

In one sense, this isn’t a bad thing, I was able to practice coding skills I picked up years ago and, for the most part, they worked, but saying the engine is capable of making  great games without you having to learn code is flat out wrong in my experience. That's not to say that Game Maker isn’t a capable engine, but the interface isn’t as awesome as its creators would have you think, so if you are going to give it a try, it’s something to be aware of.

I have been coding on and off for years, but I mainly did it using Java in University and being taught object orientation, where each little bit of code that does something is treated a separate ‘object’ that can be manipulated. That's a reduced way to look at it but, I hope you get the idea. Game Maker isn’t truly object orientated, so when I tried to be clever and use that to get around a problem, in this case, checking if the ball’s speed was a certain number or higher, I found I wasn’t able to do what I wanted how I wanted to do it.

I was able to get around the problem with a bunch of nested ‘If’ statements. So if the ball’s speed is 10 or less, do the following. Which was wrapped inside an if statement about what do if the ball is the same colour as the goal, which is wrapped inside another one. To say it was elegant coding would be a straight up lie, but it got the job done. There are programmers reading this screaming at the screen right now I am sure.

Due to my lack of experience, I had to turn to the forums for coding help. I have to say that this is an immeasurable tick in Game Maker's box. The community is great, and always willing to help, and help they did, so long as I provide as much info as possible. There was no judgement, just friendly nudges in the right direction for things I hadn’t asked about and bona fide answers to the questions I had. It was a great experience, and my biggest tip to anyone is to use this resource.

With the coding in hand, I had to make some art. I am no artist, go download the game if you don’t believe me, but the engines built in sprite editor was a great way to easily get something looking half decent for what I wanted to do into the game. By creating a sprite in the editor, you then have the option to go to an actual sprite creator program that comes with the engine and design whatever you want. You can even link several images together to create animation, which is how I came up with my user interface.

That interface changes a sprite between two different sub images when the mouse is moved over it. I knocked that up in a total of about three hours for everything I wanted to add, and I am actually quite proud of how it looks. Professional UI designers are probably hunting me down, but hey, for a first attempt, it is pretty sweet and surprisingly easy.

The rest of the art are just circles, squares and lines, some you see, some you don’t. I toyed with the idea of getting the walls to change colour to be the same as the ball when it hits, just to give the game a bit more a stylized look. However, I couldn’t wrap my head around what I had to code so gave up and made the walls invisible instead.

That is an example of both ‘feature creep’ and measuring the ‘scope’ of the game. As I was developing it, I kept coming up with new ideas for things to put in, increasing the size and scope of the endeavor. Some worked out - making sure the speed doesn’t get so fast the collision detection fails - but others would have affected my intended release date and provided little benefit.

I learnt quickly that while idea might be good on paper, getting it into the game might not be worth the effort. I found this actually quite fun because I was essentially self editing on the fly, analyzing my ideas so that I made sure the right ones made it in. That’s not to say it wasn’t difficult at times, there were several days when I didn’t make any progress because I was stuck trying to figure out a way around a problem before asking for help.

Luckily, I could get away with doing this. I wasn’t doing it full time as a job, I didn’t have people relying on me to get things done, and there was no formal release date set. This meant I could take my time, think through my ideas a couple of times and take the appropriate action. I like to think I would do the same in a formal developer role within a business, but the pressure would be on then, and I honestly couldn’t say for sure.

That is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt from this experience. Developing in your own time, for fun, changes the rules. I know I am not doing this as a job, but the job I do on a day to day basis requires deadlines to be met, people that depend on me to get the service they need and all this to be done professionally and in a decent time frame.

Doing something for fun means that you can ignore all of this, and do it when you want to. I honestly think I could have had this game done and out in less than a week if I was working on it full time. To be frank, if I took a week, I was probably slacking off a lot of the time. Again though, I was never aiming to make money from this, maybe get my name out there as a developer a bit, but it was more to learn.

We all have to start somewhere, for me, it was this game. I had developed a couple of applications in Uni for course work, and a couple of games when I did a course at the open university, but I never considered myself any good, nor that they would lead to more development later in life. But not long after I finished Uni, I started to follow the games industry more closely.

I found myself drawn to articles and videos about development, and criticism that delved into that side of the industry. Most people fantasize about having the power the game's protagonist has, being some preternatural bad ass that mows through bad guys with wanton abandon. I fantasized about being the guy that come up with the fiction that powers that fantasy, or helping to bring someone else's vision to life.

To be fair, I also want to be Iron Man, or the Green Ranger, or any other of a hundred preternatural bad asses. But I am a realist too, and in the real world I need a job, and I would like something I truly enjoy. I love my current one, but games developer is just cool as job titles go, and now I am one. I am cool.

My game is one I have been kicking around for years in my head, and finally made. I am planning on developing more in the future, and maybe even taking part in game jams. My impostor syndrome is an ever present threat, one I am working on defeating, and developing over the last couple of months has really helped.

The one thing I found the most easy, taking only a few minutes, was the name. I called it D.A.B.G. I am trying to be a bit clever, a bit self deprecating. It stands for Dumb Ass Ball Game, because my game is dumb, is game about a ball bouncing around the screen and I am an ass for thinking I have any right to make it, but I loved doing.

It was a modest start, but that isn’t a bad thing. I learnt how quick feature creep can set in, how to stay focused on what I am making and how large it should be. I learnt I have enough skill at coding to be dangerous, but that isn’t a bad thing and how you must work around the limitations of the software to get the best results. Those limitations may also make your game better and improve your skills by forcing you to get creative with the way you do things.

I am very proud of the achievement, and kept in mind a statement I read from a developer that stated if you do make a game, finish that first game, no matter how bad it is. I followed that. I know D.A.B.G isn’t a great game. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago I would have played it and rolled my eyes at how amateur it is and I am sure there will be plenty of people who would do the same, if they play it. No one will, but there isn’t much I can do about that.

If you enjoyed reading my over view of my development time, and would like to know more, please hit me up on twitter. If you want to play D.A.B.G, I apologize for making you feel that way, but you can play it for free by downloading from itch.io here.