måndag 16 maj 2016

The future ahead

I've made the decision to not develop any more games under the Magical Hackers flag. If Danger Close gets greenlit I will go through with the release on Steam. But that will be it. At this point I feel that making another game for the hell of it will merely mean a lot of time and energy wasted, just to check another idea I've had in my head for so long, off the list. Maybe in the future I will go back and develop a game, and release it publicly or not, at some point. That game will most likely be Boom which I've written about in previous updates, since it will explore some ideas I haven't worked with before (3D FPS gameplay). But it will be a long while before that happens I think, if it does at all.

In the last couple of months my motivation for game development has been dwindling up to a point where it's nearly nonexistent. My passion is for video games and especially retro video games, being creative and coding and making graphics. But since the sales of my games have not been good enough that's a huge dent in my motivation. Prometheus is my first commercial game so realistically it getting greenlit and selling at all is a huge success, but for me continuing to do this is too much of a gamble I feel. If I kept going eventually maybe I'd "crack the code" or whatever but at this point I need more security in my career choice. I did not realize - or did not want to realize - that doing this would be so hard, for better and for worse. I read somewhere that the chance of successfully living off of indie game development is one percent, which I think is true. I would compare it to trying to become a rock star from your study at home. You hear stories like that from time to time so it's not impossible, but it's obviously extremely difficult. Maybe there is a point to some ideas just staying as ideas. Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean that you should. There is a coder guy whose name escapes me with a website where he has great pixel art and concepts for games, but he just doesn't go through with developing them. I used to not understand why despite his explanation, but it's clear to me now.

I would say that all the hate on the internet isn't helping with my motivation either. To me I feel that the main reason people hate is because they are jealous. Coding is difficult so most people will never be able to develop a game on their own and this triggers much of the negativity I think. Which of course is sad, pathetic, and still does not excuse it in any way.

I know myself what kind of games I like and what kind of features I enjoy, but I think that the video game industry right now and people's expectations are somewhere else. If I have to change and do something just because you are supposed to and not be true to myself, I'd rather not be doing this at all. In fact that was what I tried doing with Crimson Sky, and the development of that game went absolutely nowhere. Not to mention that the indie game scene is utterly saturated, especially when it comes to 2D games. How a game like Shovel Knight can thrive in this environment so to speak, I will never fully understand but I think they got everything just right and with an insane amount of polish. The PR part of this is really something I'm not good at either. Coding and graphics is what I like to do, and you really have to be a not just a jack, but a master of all trades in order to be successful as an indie game developer. The worst thing for me would be to completely lose my interest for playing video games as a hobby out of disillusionment, so I really want to quit before that happens as well.

A good thing that has come out of this is that I've rediscovered my enjoyment of coding and I will go back to school to learn Java this fall. Developing Mega Man 42 in the beginning was so joyful for me and it really helped me at a time when I didn't have much going for myself. I remember fondly the all nighters and staying up until 9 in the morning because I just had to squash that last bug. That unbridled joy when it comes to creativity is what I will take with me from this venture.