Right, just to note that this is not a ‘How to make a mobile game’ Blog, or ‘How to make your mobile game’ blog. This is a ‘How I made MY first Game (VECTOR POP) with no experience and little money’. What’s the difference, you ask? I want to share a real case study and not a vague bullet-point guide! And well, I do not know what your mobile game idea is – and mobile game concepts and complexities are so vast that it’s impossible to write a how to guide that is not specific. A runner game is not a strategy game or an RPG. I am also not qualified to tell you how to make any of those games! Like I said, this is my first game and I wanted to be specific so that it may help one of you be inspired and understand what I did to get this game made with no experience. That is lesson I want to share with you, so THIS IS NOT A HOW TO GUIDE. THIS IS A MY NAIVE PROCESS – A CASE STUDY IF YOU WILL.
Here is the vulnerable part, nice and early in the blog, I thought my idea could be executed by a game developer in a month. *hides face in shame – Sorry all you talented game devs out there, I didn’t mean to doubt your talents and efforts, I just literally had no f*cking clue when I started! I was the idiot. Yes my idea was a ‘simple’ endless runner / vertical format platformer, but simple doesn’t mean ‘Can be produced in 4 weeks’, only a draft can be done in that space of time. And that is what happened. I made a draft game in 4 weeks. But I will come to that part soon. For now Let talk about the idea… and my next tip I think is the most IMPORTANT and FUNDAMENTAL rule to your idea actually working out!
I saw a video on Youtube (I need to find the link) where this guy explains the mistakes most indie game devs make. They go for the big complex game ideas first, and after months or years of dedication, blood, sweat and tears, they’ve lost sight of the game concept, or it just sucks. The video suggests you start small. Lucky for me I love small minimal games. So I started to think of basic ideas. This next tip is the one I think was absolutely essential! Before Vector Pop became a retro 90’s theme arcade, which is essential a triangle in a moving poster from the 90’s, it was a car or a van.
Hmmm, you’re thinking that was an anti-climax aren’t you? Let me elaborate then. Every game should have a narrative, or to rephrase that: Every game should have a story. It was easier for me to think through the game play logic and the various assets and interactions that I was going to create by conceptualising the game with a narrative first. I knew I wanted ta retro neon landscape of 90’s pop nostalgia – But seriously… where the hell do you begin with game logic!? So I imagined the triangle was first a hero-van chasing after another van (The opponent triangle) on your left. The hero-van had to collect goods and pass in front of the other van. To do this the hero-van needed to collect gasoline and special speed ups because every time he collected goods his van would slow down. That narrative helped me visualise the game logic, figure out speed changes and the functions of game pickups. Later it helped me understand how my point system would work and potential levels and difficulty rakes. More on that later. So to end this post off, I cannot stress the importance of narrative behind your game. Our brains are hard wired to understand stories, human scale interactions, and worldly rules – like gravity, or a van that needs to speed up aor down.
Use narrative to guide your idea. And for the haters out there who are thinking, ‘’well, my idea is about anti-gravity and a weightless counter-intuitive game logic’’ That’s cool man, because if its’ ANTI-gravity then you have based it on your existing knowledge of what gravity, and if its ‘COUNTER’ intuitive, well then you are simply basing it on your existing knowledge of intuition. These are all worldly rules that are your base, as I said, So you all good 🙂
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