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I have been developing games for over five years now. With not even a single practical application to show
for it, mind you.
The first step of a budding independent game developer always seems to have to be the design of some or other simplistic little video game; to get a general idea of those elusive inner workings. That particular
concept always seemed to me as being ridiculously boring; a tedious pastime of failing and learning only to end up with something thousands of other people have done before you. Hundreds of clones are out there of games like Tetris, Mario, Zelda, Slender, and the like. Why is it that this industry requires such a tedious repetition of fact ad infinitum? To be sure, there is a practical answer to that question. To be able to create, one must learn; to be able to learn, one must always begin somewhere.
These basics always seem to start off at the same principle: understanding the concept of the game loop, and proceed onwards from there. Yet that fundamental concept always seemed too fundamental to me. Video games are grand in their diversity; possibly like no other entertainment medium has ever seen before. Yet is there not a thin sliver of a thread to find; a recurring concept that defines itself as being a game, grander than the simplistic concept of the game loop, yet allowing to lend itself as an overarching functionality for any video game; handling all those tedious tasks millions of developers have gone to create before you? At the very least, is it not an idea worth considering?
Once the average newbie developer has learned to understand the workings of that game loop, he is pretty much left to his own devices. From that point onwards, he is left to scour the internet collecting dozens upon dozens of fragmented concepts and ideas; mixing and matching them as is required to form a cohesive whole, all by himself. If he is like the biggest part of his kin, he will forgo this tedious process of understanding what a video game actually is, instead (and certainly within good reason) opting to select one of other countless of game engines already created; and pile his own work on top of it. Sadly, these engines are always one or more of the following: limited in a certain way, either subtly or horribly bugged, or way too specific to be able to completely expand your own ideas upon it. The result is always an idea that in some way is not the complete picture the developer already had in mind. He either has to wait until the engine’s developer has solved the issues on his own, work around them in an unwieldy fashion himself (potentially creating even more subtle issues in the process), or even leaving the limits or issues blatantly exposed.
Call me an idealist. You are completely right. I am pointing out non-issues here. There is no way you can
expect any sane person to do what I just eluded at doing. It is obnoxious, and a huge waste of time. That is not why I am writing this. I am not asking anyone to do this. This rant is merely the result of my five year long trek of wasting time, sitting behind a computer screen; depressing myself with my own damn stubbornness. Not willing to admit defeat, yet having done so on multiple occasions; only to come back, chapfallen yet with a disturbing kind of newfound vigor. Not willing to admit that the time I’ve wasted thinking through all that theory was in vain.
And I still won’t. The internet is littered with answers to the question 'How do you create a video game?'. Yet no-one seems to dare answer the question 'What is a video game?'; the question that has plagued my dreams, haunted my nightmares, and deprived me of so, so much, I can’t even begin to describe.
Yet now, I finally brought myself to write this ridiculous story, with slightly trembling hands; and tears welling in my eyes. To any person reading this, these are the weird ramblings of a random guy. To me, this marks the beginning of something new. By all means, mock me, when I say I may finally be on the verge of answering that question. As I conclude this rant, all the possible negative reactions this may have flash through my mind at the same time. But at this point, I really don’t care about any of them anymore.
I am just glad that this is out there, instead of festering inside me; like a cancer it has affected my health
and possibly even that of all those beautiful, accepting people around me. I have shaped this project for
so long, that now, this project is shaping me, instead. I have no option of escaping her anymore, so I must and will push through.
This blog entry merely acts as my acceptance of that simple fact. I simply am not a part of that group of
That group of people known as the sane.
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