|Lemma's Handy Game-Making Tips|
This is VERY important, and it applies especially to
your first game! Remember, making games (of at least mediocre quality)
isn't incredibly easy - that's why people can get paid for it! At the
very least, you'll need art, a story, and a programmer (or a ready-made
game creation program.) Making and finding these things takes time and
One of the biggest and most common mistakes I see people/groups make is to dream up a HUGE game for their first project. You know, tons of characters, multiple endings, dozens of special scenes - the whole works. What happens? Usually, they do fine for a while...before fizzling out. And I've seen LOTS of projects fizzle out. People tend to lose interest in the project, or partway through they realize, "Damn, this is bigger/harder than I thought!" Whichever the reason, it is obviously bad for your project. Not just that, but if a project fails, it can lower the game-making confidence and desire for everyone involved. Having spent time and energy on a failed project is depressing and draining. This leads into rule #2:
#2 Rule: Make sure your first project
This follows from rule #1. If you don't bite off more
project than you can chew, then you will have a great chance of completing
it. On the other hand, if you try for too big a project, you're practically
destined for failure and disappointment. Which experience do you want
from your first project? I'd like the first one, thank you very much!
Completed projects, no matter how small, are great confidence builders.
You learn more about what your abilities are and exactly what it takes
to make a game. Failed projects can also teach you things, but the knowledge
comes at the price of time, energy, and confidence... not just self-confidence,
but the confidence the people you worked with have in you.
#3 Rule: Decide where your game ends.
I've been in contact with an aspiring game-maker overseas
who is coordinating a massive date-sim project over the Internet. I want
to pull my hair out sometimes when I talk to him because he flagrantly
violates rules 1, 2, and 3. The reason I mention him here is that over
time, the size of the game that he's trying to make seems to keep growing
and growing. It's like the marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. That's why
he's been working on it for about a year or two and STILL doesn't even
have a demo. There's lots of story, character design, and apparently some
music and an engine, but the thing it's missing is an ending! He doesn't
even know what the ending should be, and until he does, he'll be one frustrated
While this is rarely a problem in the beginning, it
can become one over time. Since you're an amateur, you're not getting
a paycheck for your game. This means you need something else to motivate
you to keep working, even when things get difficult and frustrating. In
the beginning, this thing is often enthusiasm for your game: the vision
of sharing your fun imaginary world with others. You think, "Yeah!
This game would be so COOL!" However, your initial enthusiasm will
fade. Maybe a little or maybe a lot, but I can almost guarantee that after
a few weeks of drawing little pixel people or typing up game code, the
game will not seem quite as COOL. When you feel yourself starting to lose
interest, try to remember your original thoughts and why your game is
going to be fun. Remember that little spark of originality and innovation
that made you want to create the game in the first place. Hopefully you
will recover some of that enthusiasm, and it will give you strength to
make that next bitmap or that next C++ function.
#5 Rule: Don't get others involved
until you've made decent progress.
Something I see a lot of people do is go to Internet
forums and post something like, "I'm going to try making a date sim,
and I need helpers! It's going to be really cool, so I need artists and
coders and writers - anyone interested?"
UNLESS YOU'VE ALREADY COMPLETED GAMES IN THE PAST, CUT THIS OUT!!!! HOW MANY TIMES WILL WE NEED TO SEE MESSAGES LIKE THIS, FOLLOWED BY DEAD PROJECTS?!!!