Reevaluating my goals

So a week or so ago I updated the blog with a prototype screenshot for the next Android game I started working on. Now like every gamedev out there, it's hard for me to stay focused on only one project and as such, other ideas were surfacing inconveniently, making it particularly difficult to focus on the task at hand.

Now, I don't recommend what I'm about to say in the slightest. You should definitely commit to an idea and finish the project, else it can have a majorly negative impact on your motivation, especially this early in the game. But I just couldn't help not listening to my gut instinct. 

I'm a huge fan of expression through games these days, as opposed to the gameplay per se. What I mean is that I admire the audio visual experience other than the challenge of highscores or beating other people. The problem is, when developing for mobile, I'm putting the player first when coming up with potential game designs. I look at trending games and player reaction to certain things, and look at tailoring game ideas around that.

This is great for running your development as a business. This is EXACTLY what you should be doing if you're in it for a chance of a quick cash grab (I mean your chances are slim, but this is a proven concept).  However, this just isn't the direction I want to be heading, particularly not to begin my journey with.

So I made a decision - I can't put traditional success concepts first (that's what I mean when I say 'put the player first'), I need to make what I want to make. If you're passionate about an idea, you need to run with it. 

Now obviously you can't be selfish - the player has to enjoy your game. But people have shown a huge interest in unique games which are more of an expression of art. I love the minimalistic approach to design and art (aesthetics) and music. It's beautiful. And when I started learning about gamedev, that's exactly what I wanted to focus on. But I read a lot and decided to release a mobile game to get the ball rolling and gain some exposure. 

Cloudop was an experimental, simple project to learn from and publicise my development, but it's not ultimately what I want to be creating (I still took a minimalistic approach to visuals, but not gameplay). In fact, PC is my platform of choice because of the embrace that incredible and original indie games receive. I'm not ruling out mobile and will probably keep making games for it, but ultimately PC is where I want to be. 

So I'm putting that prototype in my last post on hold. I've got an idea that I've had for a while, to create a beautifully minimalistic adventure game, where the player discovers as they play. I'm currently working on concept art and will share it when I can. I'd still like to develop a couple more simple projects on Android Before embarking on that more ambitious PC adventure title, so I will be coming up with ideas over the next few days. 

I've sort of gone off on a tangent a little here, but the point is - follow your passion and not what you think people want. Create games for yourself before the people. Money shouldn't be the priority of development, particularly not when you begin, but like many, it's easy to fall into the trap of success stories of games like Flappy Bird (for example), and limit your creativity to trying to achieve just that. 

Some more mainstream games that inspire me (and I urge you to check out):

  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery
  • Monument Valley
  • Below (to be released)
  • Fez
  • Risk of Rain
  • The Long Dark

These are some great examples of minimalism in games (mainly the first three) of many different genres, and they're all successful.

Thanks for reading and I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on my progress! 

Jordan.