Although 2017 wasn’t the year I earned my first dollar with game development or either the year I released my first game, it was a year with a lot of experiences and learning (i.e. failures).
The year of 2017 made me realise some things:
- I have all the programming skill I need to develop any game I want to.
- I can do Pixel Art.
- I can do Music, even if they are just simple music.
These topics were the ones I tried the most in 2017 while developing some prototypes, Midnight Journey and Ghost Game. But 2017 also teached me a lot of things related to game development.
- Game Development is way more than programming/art/sound, it is about reaching people when you have the finished game, about PR, selling your game, talking to others.
- Game Development as a hobbyist is more of a discipline exercise than anything else, also a motivation exercise.
With all that said, what I should expect for 2018? Better, what should I aim for in 2018? My bio in this blog is “Gamedev Blog. Programmer trying to learn pixel art and game music composition” – Well, this were my goals in 2017, but now I want to change it because I know I can do those things, I just need to practice with them and for me to practice with them I need a game, I need to develop something because my main thing is not being an artist or a music composer (sidenote: maybe thinking I need a game idea to practice pixel art or music composition isn’t the right mindset)
I just want it to be “Life of a Hobbyist Gamedev” – I won’t play the role of the “I’m a Gamedev in this cold world” guy, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have goals or anything like that, this bio means that I’m not aiming to turn into something, I already am. So I can just focus on working harder and improving.
Two Sides of “my” Game Development
I love Design and Games, so, Game Design is a natural extension. Programming, the wish to do the art and the music is just a way for me to be totally in control of the design of my game, to be totally in control of the outcome.
This year I want to focus (focus should be the biggest priority, given my historic lack of it) on three projects: Pizza Clicker, The Ace Programmer and Midnight Journey.
Artificial Intelligence for Games
I’m not sure if I talk about it a lot or if I ever talked about it, but I’m a computer science undergraduate studying AI for Games, my final graduation project is related to AI in Games (using machine learning and evolutive algorithms) and I want to apply for graduate studies also on AI in Games. I’m realizing that AI in Games is not something a lot of people talk about, and I asked myself: “Why?” – Well, I don’t know but I will search for the answer. This field is growing on universities and pretty much any game nowadays use some form of AI, so most of the companies should have Game AI Programmers, where is all this people? /r/gamedev has more than 200,000 subscribers and /r/gameai has a bit more than 4,000, why? That’s just some thoughts.
What I wanted to say here is that I will start doing some AI Projects that I had saved for later, currently I have two and they should take all the time I’m willing to give to them and some more. These projects are going to be open source and my plan is to have people using and contributing with them,
These projects are:
- Game AI Prototyper (needs a better name): A Simple framework that tries to replicate the mechanics from action/rpg games like The Legend of Zelda from SNES, that is actually the same core mechanics from roguelike, dungeon crawlers, etc… – It will replicate the mechanics and have an API to control the character and observe the environment, the purpose is to abstract game logic so it is easier to develop, test and learn artificial intelligence algorithms applied in games. It is in progress and I hope I have a beta release until the next monthly update.
- Hearthstone Deck Builder: YES! AI FOR CARDGAMES! This is an idea I had more than one year ago and I wanted to use for some graduation related project, I still couldn’t find a way to do it so I’m just going to do it by myself. The name explains itself, it is an AI that will build decks for Hearthstone.
The conclusion is that on 2018 I want to change my bio from “learning something” to “hobbyist gamedev” – For that I will focus on game projects (pizza clicker, the ace programmer and midnight journey) but also on game ai projects (prototyper, hearthstone deck building) – not all of them on the same time, and I’m not saying I will finish and do all of it, what I’m saying is…
My Biggest Goal: The Biggest goal of 2018 is to set something free and feel how it is – I like Pizza Clicker and these AI Projects because they are fairly easy to build a releaseable version (shouldn’t take more than a month each). After releasing something I want to ask for feedback everywhere possible: friends, groups, reddit, youtube, whatever, and then I can build upon it and improve it.
I never had the feeling of what comes after releasing a game, releasing a piece of software, so this is what I’m aiming for this year.
Finally, Why AI Projects?
- Because I want to.
- Because it is something different.
- Because I hope it can help when applying for postgraduate education on AI in Games.
- Because I want to release something and I want to release something open source (games are harder to release as open source).
- Because I want to practice more with C++ and Development in General.
These were just some thoughts I had in mind and I needed to organize them and put it on words, I hope now I can do a better work and achieve my goals.
You can follow me on twitter: @guilhermepo2 – Using more twitter for game development purposes is one of my minor goals for this year.