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Build Your Own Video Game
Alex Steffen, 9 Apr 06

Yesterday, I wrote about new tools for portraying better futures, saying it was getting easier and easier to use them. Here's a data point: this guy created an entire new video game ("Hackenslash") in 40 hours, on a dare. You can even download the game, if you're into that sort of thing.

"The bottom line is this: If you want to develop games, nothing is stopping you. You can find the time. You don't need a big budget or fancy tools. You don't need a team of specialists. You don't need years of training. All you need is the will to make it happen."

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It's worth noting that the developer in this anecdote, despite the quote, was already fairly experienced at creating games before undertaking this project. Hard work, planning, and time are still necessary to make a game.

However, that doesn't discount the fact that tools such as Mark Overmars' Game Maker are capable of a tremendous amount even without programming experience, if one is willing to put up with limitations on design freedom.

I am personally interested in open-source games, a field which is only just starting to reveal its own power. For years these projects have been mostly ignored, since they are nearly all clones of commercial games, lack the resources to produce market-grade content, and are permanently in a "in development" state, which adds up to a less compelling experience. However, this truism seems to be in the process of reversing itself; commercial games are cloning each other more than ever today, they face production costs so large that every blockbuster retail title is a huge, huge gamble, and as for the last -- well, games ship only because they have to, not because they're actually done. That's always been the case, and it leads to overworking aka. "crunch mode" to meet the deadline.

Meanwhile, the open-source games, one-by-one, through the same Darwinian methods that apply to other open-source projects, are making themselves the strongest choice for their respective genre; they're getting more participation in more areas, and they can take as much time as they want to polish things up.

It's some very interesting stuff, and nobody in the media's caught on. I'm slowly gathering together some notes so I can write about it in more detail.

Posted by: James H. on 9 Apr 06

iInteresting link. yes, it is true that we can do anything if our will is strong enouph to overcome the inevitable obsticles. Having worked with Game Maker for the last few years, I have produced a few fun games, and learned a great deal along the way.
By actualy going throught the process of building a game you gain more and more insight into the art of game design, allowing you to take the designs of future games even further.

Posted by: jph wacheski on 16 Apr 06



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