The few of you that have been reading this blog know I have been working on a game called Land8b: 100 missions for over a year. No, I’m not going to stop working on the game, but I am going to build it using Unity instead of the GameEngine that will not be named I was using before. This is really quite a big step for me. It’s almost crazy talk because I was in beta and about to say I was complete, let’s light this candle and launch this sucker. I know I was never going to make a lot of money on the game. (If any) It was a programming experiment, but I found out I was actually losing money before I even shipped! You are always losing something when you are making a game. That could be time, but in returning you are learning a skill. But I realized I was actually losing real money and even if the game made some money from the simple ad system I had designed in the game I would still be losing more.
Why Chip, Why?
The two main reasons were the GameEngine that will not be named changed their pricing model to a yearly or monthly subscription. Secondly, the engine was not up to date on the changing game market. They were still trying to get out of beta and have a solid working engine. The way they support ad networks was about two years, which is light years in F2P games. I will throw in a Third for fun. The GameEngine that will not be named also was barely beta, it constantly crashed, slow in updates and when they did update they tended to break more stuff than fix it. Making you rework your game or finding out it was not your code they just broke their engine and you didn’t do anything wrong. When people would complain they would say their product was still the better engines, because is so easy to you use! It’s, drag and drop. You don’t even need to know how to code to make games. You have to really need to know how to code if you use another Game Engine, you’re safer with us. I fell for the marketing and the fear I had that I would never really understand how to code. (I have worked with really good coders for over 25 years, I wasn’t as smart as them I thought) So I clung to my insecurities and paid my monthly fee and kept going. What I found out if you really wanted to do anything interesting with the GameEngine that will not be named you really did have to code in their scripting language. They did have a good community. I will give them that. I watched videos, studied others code examples, participated on the forums and was having fun and then it dawned on me I’m coding! Well scripting more, but it was starting to make sense.
The Tilting Point
like most Indie developers real life kicked in. By day, I’m a studio director for a mobile game company. We were trying to get two new games out this year. I hoped to complete my indie game by October. By November, we were in crunch mode. One game in soft launch and the another game behind schedule. All hands on deck and my free time went out the window. You have to pay the bills and you can’t let the team down so into the fray I went. The holidays hit and my big dreams of working on my game went out the window, for good reason. I was wiped out. I had to recharge and I did. I had a blast hanging out with my 3 boys and wife. We played actual boards games and just hung out. I also caught up with friends and family I had ignored during crunch. It was good for the soul, but bad for my little game. The holidays ended and it was back to crunch to launch one game and finalize the other. Let’s just say January was gone in a blink of an eye. February was still go, go, go, but I also got sick, sick, sick. Like really sick. Out of work for two weeks. Since I couldn’t do anything but think. I started running numbers in my head and in my heart. I realized I had spent $120 on monthly fees but made no progress on my game. To make matters worse there was a payment screw up and I was charged an overdraft of $75 by my bank because PayPal pulled a monthly fee from the wrong account. I know my bad, but still I was out $200. No work was really going to get down in the rest of February and most of March because of work, GDC and volunteer work I was doing. I rose from my death bed, opened my laptop and canceled my subscription on the GameEngine that will not be named. I was said at first, but I also felt better every day. I no longer had this guilt payment floating over my head on a bad product I was using.
The New Start
I know it’s not going to easy because I was very comfortable with the GameEngine that will not be named. I have started a couple Unity tutorials it’s slow, but I also understand the concepts maybe just not the syntax yet. The good part is I have the design for the game on locked down, the art is almost complete so I have a slight head start. I also have friends that know Unity that can help me if I get really stuck. So if you want to stick around, I’m going to try and document my ride much more than I did before. Share the tutorials I’m using and show my end results. The ups and downs. Progress on the Unity version of Lander 8b and maybe some learning side project. If you have tutorials you would like to share I am all ears.
Hang on, let’s light this candle on this new programming adventure. To infinity and beyond.
I really hope I bounce back from this plunge.