Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
Welcome to another Game Dev Advice blog. In this, the first of the quick tips series,I'll try to break down some key fundamental tips that will help you make better games and decisions in promoting your games.
Tip 1: To Make Great Games, You Have To Play Great Games
This may seem like a simple one and you may even say "Isn't playing other peoples games a waste of my time when I should be making mine?" Well, games development while a very technical job is still at it's very core such a creative one and at the end of the day you are an artist.
Like any other creative medium, your work is a result of the things you draw inspiration from. This inspiration can come from anything really. Movies, books, music, nature, life experiences and yes, games are obviously going to be a big source of inspiration for a game developer. The games you played growing up will most likely be a big influence on the type of games you make. Games you play now will also be a source of inspiration for you. Seeing a particular game mechanic may inspire an idea in you for something in your game. A strong narrative game may inspire a new way you think about writing for games. So to make games, you need to play games.
Tip 2: Work Balance
While it's important to be very motivated and driven in order to make a game, it's more important to take care of yourself. It's very easy to become obsessive about your work and begin to neglect other aspects of your life. Finding a balance that works is different for everyone. For me, I set aside an hour and a half to workout four times a week. I make time for others in my life and take breaks to read, watch movies, listen to music and most importantly time away from all technology. Even if just for an hour in the day.
The better you manage your work life balance, you'll not only find your work will be better but that you'll also feel better as a person and at the end of the day that's what counts.
Tip 3: Finding Your Style
When making games, we're surrounded by extremely talented people in the industry. They can be folks working on the latest AAA title in a big studio to a guy or girl in their bedroom working on their first ever game. Regardless sometimes we compare our work to that of others and feel like it's not good enough or we wonder why we can't do something like another person did.
Games development is a creative process and as with any creative medium, people have their own styles and ways of creating. The key is to figure out what your style is and develop and grow it. Focus on what you enjoy making and see how you can evolve the look. This is one of those things that you'll just have to give time. But if you do dedicate time to it, you'll see that you'll develop your own style and that it will keep on improving with every project.
Tip 4: It's Ok to Fail
Being a creative means that you will try things and a lot of times those things don't turn out the way you want. An idea that you felt at the beginning may turn out to be something you hate. Making a game is a scary process sometimes. As a developer you not only invest so much time into making a game but you also invest so much of yourself into it.
Each game is a reflection of a part of you and that can make it all the more frustrating if you fail. But here's the thing. It's ok to fail. It's better to try and fail than to fail to try. If you fail, simply pick yourself up and learn from that failure. Use that knowledge and improve on the next project and the next and always keep learning. If you're motivated and passionate about something, you've got to keep at it and keep trying.
That about does it for this week's blog. I hope it's been of use to some and asalways, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.
Until next time!
Hey there Gamers and game Makers!
This week's blog post is a little different. Rather than talk about tips and advice for game development, I'm going to talk a little about what I'm currently working on.
So, my past few projects have been relatively small projects and each one had a small development cycle. While I've had a lot of fun working on these short projects and seeing the great response each one has received, I've been sitting on a game idea that I really love for quite some time. I've been toying around with the story in my head for some time and very recently I've gone into pre-production on it. I've been concepting the art style for it and prototyping some of the game mechanics I have in mind for it.
While I'm not ready to talk about what it is right now, like most of my past games it will be very much a narrative driven game. Now, you may wonder why am I even telling you guys about this right now? Well, as this game is not a short game like my last few projects, it's going to take a longer development cycle. This is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Working on a game with a longer development cycle has a lot more potential risks.
So, what I'm hoping to do is as I'm developing this game I want to share updates on it's progress through blog post and potentially through videos on my Youtube channel. The idea is to not only engage more with the potential people that will be playing the game but also give you guys a look at what goes into making a game and my personal creative process. I hope to begin this process of sharing more about the game and updating folks on what it is and the development process soon. Right now, I want to get a little more into the pre-production of it and get a solid proof of concept prototype down. Once I'm at that stage I'll start sharing more information about the game.
So for now, please feel free to suggest what you'd like to see from the development process once it begins and what form you'd prefer to see it in such as blog post, video updates on Youtube or other. I'm excited about working on a game in this way as it's out of my comfort zone but I think it could make for an interesting learning experience for us all. So, let's get ready to go on an adventure, shall we?
Until next time!
Hi there, Gamers and Game Makers!
This week, I'll be breaking down some very quick but useful tips for your level design work. Ok let's jump right in!
Tip 1:Know your level
It's important to not just jump right into your editor placing objects any old place. You should always start out with your level design on paper. Think about the gameplay that takes place in this level and how the environment will influence that gameplay and vice versa.
Sketch out rough outlines of your level and make notes of key points in the level and consider things such as how you'll guide the player the way you want them to go. Have as much information about your level and what you want/need from it before you start building it.
Tip 2: It's only logical
When you know what you need in your level from a gameplay point of view and are ready to start building it,it's important to also think about the logic of your level. When it comes to games we tend to let a few things slide under the reasoning of "Video game logic" but at the same time you should strive to have your level make sense. Do the things in your level make sense? If you have a level set in a hospital and in the operating room I would expect to see an operating table but if I see a pool table or jukebox, I'll start to question to question the logic and the immersion will be broken. Always aim to have your level feel like a real logical place. Even in a fantasy game, we have expectations of what we want to see in an area.
Tip 3: Make it feel real
We've all played games where the level just felt like a placeholder for the gameplay that's taking place in it and then we've played games where the level felt not just like it was a real place with a story of it's own but that it may even hold some secrets if you poked around. I always feel like a games world should tell a story of it's own and when you're a level designer then that's exactly what you're doing. You want to have the level feel like a real place with it's own history that came before the player and the current events of the game. Make your level tell a story of its own and you'll have a more realistic and better level.
Tip 4: Know your tools
It's one thing to have your level on paper but when it comes to building it make sure you take the time to fully learn your tools. The better you understand your level design editor, the better levels you'll build. Get to know how your lighting works, your LODs, particals and so on.
Tip 5: Break the rules!
While there are many rules and tips you should follow when it comes to level design,sometimes breaking the rules and trying new things can lead to some truly new and fantastic game levels. Don't be afraid to experiment with your levels and think of new gameplay that you might create through new and interesting levels. Most importantly, have fun with it.
Well, that's it for this week. As always I hope this has been of some help. Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with me if you have any questions or suggestions for a topic you'd like me to cover.
Until next time!
Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
This week, we're going to take a look at how you can make the world your game is set in feel more alive and real. Think of some of the most interesting game worlds you've played in. The likes of Skyrim for one is a great example of a world that truly feels alive and rich with a history of its own. So, how do Bethesda do this? Well, it comes down to a number of things. Great world building a level design make the world look great but what is it aside from all the pretty effects and animations that make a games world feel real? The answer is, give it a history.
A games world should feel like it's more than just a placeholder for the events revolving around the player. It should feel like there's been a rich history of events and lore leading right up to the moment you enter the world and begin your story. And it should feel as if there are other stories to this world outside of the events of the payers.
When designing levels or world spaces, think about what you are adding. When you're adding an old ruin or if you're creating in game books, think about what happened here or the history this world would have. Our own world is shaped by our past and our game worlds should be no different. If you want to create a game world that truly feels alive, keep in mind it's history and events outside of the players own story. It should have layers, it should have conflict and it should feel like it was not designed but rather shaped by events over a course of a very rich history.
If you keep this in mind when designing the world of your game, you'll create one that not only feels more real and interesting but it'll also be far more immersive to the player.
until next time!
Hi there, Gamers and Game Makers!
This week, I'm going to try give advice on creating a good game design portfolio based on my own experience in making and maintaining one.
Game Design portfolios are different from other portfolios in the sense that they require a broader range of things you have to showcase. For example, an concept artists portfolio will consist of primarily their artwork giving details on what projects the images are from and perhaps talk a little about the process of each one. Composers will have samples of their audio along with a showreel or link to the game featuring their music.
A Game Designers portfolio will consist of various things from images of games worked on to a showreel to even game design documents and samples of scripts from games. Basically a Game Designers portfolio should contain anything that conveys their ability to effectively design and create good games. You need to think of your online portfolio as being like a CV. It's the first impression someone is going to get of you and the quality of your work. So, it's very important to put your best content clearly in the portfolio.
Before you start putting your portfolio together, you need to decide what platform you want to use to showcase your work. Is it going to be a website, a facebook page, a Tumblr account or something else. I personally prefer having a website as it can act as a hub showcasing my work and I can then use social media to drive traffic towards it. But, you need to identify what suits your needs best and go from there.
Once you've decided on a platform for your portfolio, the next step is to start adding content. Make sure you add the best of your work and what you're most proud of. I find having the likes of a showreel top of your page or on your home page is a great introduction for new comers to your work. Make it easy for the to see and when it comes to the showreel itself, keep it short and to the point.
Depending on who you ask, you'll get different opinions on how long a showreel should be. I personally find something around the three minutes mark seems to work well. Anything longer than that and you run the risk of loosing peoples interest. People want to get a quick overview of what you've made and your skills. Not watch a feature film. As for the music you use during your showreel, it doesn't matter that much. Anyone watching it should be impressed by it even if it was on mute and you'll find most professionals tend to have them muted when they have a lot to get through. If you want an example of a showreel, you can check out my 2017 showreeel below.
As important as it is to show your best work on your portfolio, it's all for nothing if it's not clear or easy to get in contact with you. Have a contact page or a link to your CV with details on how to best get in touch with you.
Make sure you keep the site organised. So many times I've seen portfolio sites that are just a cluttered mess. And the thing is these sites have fantastic work on them but if it's all over the place, I'm going to loose interest and leave. Keep it simple and well structured. You don't need to be too fancy with it. Once you have a portfolio to be proud of, it's time to get it out there. Start sharing it around online and if you're applying for a job make sure you have a link to your portfolio in your CV or cover letter.
I hope this has been of some use to any of you trying to put a portfolio together. Feel free to shoot me any questions or leave a comment below.
Until next time!