I started out with an idea to make my own Massively Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) back in January 2007, because I thought World of Warcraft was lots of fun and I wanted to learn how to create something similar myself.
After 7+ years of fiddling with 5 different game engines, several different programming languages, a few database engines, a handful of 3D modeling editors, audio production suites, network layers, GUI libraries, toolkits, APIs, SDKs, IDEs, and much more… I have an embarrassing statistic to share.
I’ve never released a single game.
The further into the future this condition extends, the more embarrassing it becomes for me. After all, why am I doing all this? I work on game development from 5am until midnight on MOST days, with short breaks for food and family, and an occasional nap, and then it’s back to work because something is percolating in my mind and it just can’t wait to get done.
No joke. I am working an average of 12-16 hours a DAY on game development.
That includes weekends too, which puts me into an 80+ hour work week. I have to admit I’ve not always been this dedicated in the last 7 years, but from time to time I have, including for the last several months.
You see, I’m desperate to get something done at this point. However, the project I’ve been working on for the longest time is the huge Arcanoria MMORPG project. Anyone will tell you it’s nothing short of crazy to expect to produce something like that without a 7+ figure budget and a team of 20-50 people. But here I am, doing it myself. And it’s taking a really long time! No surprise I guess.
But from time to time I start to lose self-confidence. What if all I can do is fiddle around with development tools? How do I know if my creative ideas are any good? Maybe my artistic style is terrible, or my music is unpleasant, or my stories are boring. Maybe my game systems aren’t engaging. Maybe my marketing efforts are insufficient or misdirected.
The only way to know for sure is to let the public decide. That means releasing games, and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
To that end (and on the advice of indie dev peers like Jason Smith and Fernando Ribeiro), I joined a game jam. Something that would be done in 10 days and then I could finally say I’d published something. I created CyberGhost (pre-alpha web player preview), for the Cyberpunk Game Jam, which is essentially a game development contest where people create a new game in a short period of time and submit them all for judging by their peers. There were 266 games submitted to the jam, including CyberGhost.
Unfortunately, however, CyberGhost isn’t even close to finished yet, even though the jam ended two weeks ago. I was too ambitious in my design and decided to create an RPG, which are apparently notoriously difficult to create quickly. Live and learn.
Anyway, I’m still working on CyberGhost. It’s getting closer to done. There are still many bugs, not to mention whole aspects of the game yet to develop, like character skills, combat, mini-games, more quests/stories, better level build out, etc.. But if I don’t finish something and release it, I’ll never know if I’m any good. So that’s what I’m working on.
Bottom line is this. I will finish CyberGhost and release it before doing anything else. Then I can really call myself a game developer.