Going From Zero To OneWell it took me literally 5 months to go from ZERO to ONE! Five months ago I decided to dive deep into game development. Keep in mind...
- Never coded before UE4
- Never created 2d or 3d game art before UE4
- Never created game animation before
- Never used UE4 (Unreal Engine) before
The Larger JourneySure, it may be old hat for an experienced coder, but it's been monumental for myself to finish this game, with no coding experience and to learn a completely new engine. I would never invest so much of my time and energy unless I truly enjoyed the experienced and believed I could... in the years to come give back to the community and our gamers. As of this writing, I released the game on mobile to test out the waters and balance out game play. Now Eye Guy is on Steam Green Light with a completely new PC/Mac version. Sure, it's not your typical PC Steam Game, some may say knock it, others will love it, but for me it's about getting something out to the community and getting feedback for the next round of development. And this process of...
A Little Promo Video Of Eye Guy[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvRCwqnaJ8M[/media] Eye Guy - Reaction Time Rush is now on Steam Greenlight. If you have a minute, consider sending me a "YES" vote.
In The Beginning
Starting UpWhen I started Dream Bot Studios, I really did mostly game design and learned the basics from working with developers, artists, and releasing games into the marketplace. My studio pushed out some simple games testing the waters of the mobile game market. Some did well, like Turbo Train and Vlad The Angry Viking. They even had write ups from Game Sauce and one of my games was an Indie Prize candidate at Casual Connect! It was a great learning experience, although I never felt I was able to contribute my ideas and creativity like I really wished for. Also, profits were very dismal and nothing really to build a business around. As an entrepreneur you are always told to hire someone to do the project if you have the budget. I live by this philosophy; it's great advice and I will always hire specialists when I can or think it's a good investment. But I knew making games and entertainment was what I loved. Something deep down was telling me I needed to understand all facets of game development as well as marketing the game by understanding more of the intricate processes of producing a game. Then when the business is ready to grow I would have a tight grasp on game development to build projects myself or have team members work with me.
My Little 20 Year Vision...This means I will be developing really great games and entertainment for the next 20 years of my life. So when you look at a 20 year vision, it makes taking a year or more to dive into a new game engine like UE4, learning visual scripting, learning coding, learning game art and animation not that overwhelming. This meant starting from scratch. I been building businesses since 2002 specializing in technology and internet businesses and creating unique experiences for customers. I am a entrepreneur and have been my whole life, but there was that creative aspect I needed fulfilled. For years now I have been literally seeing huge beautiful worlds in my head with unique characters that were brought to life by scripting and AI, so I made the decision to make time to learn to build games. I wanted to give my self some confidence since I knew very little about game coding and the Unreal Engine. I watched a great Ted talk by Josh Kaufman that explained that by taking 30 minutes to an hour every day for month you can learn anything. [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB6K60mkmho[/media] He was right, doing consecutive learning exercises of just watching and/or doing I started to get a small grasp on things. During this time I would run my other businesses with help of my team, but at the end of the work day I would take my dinner break after 6pm or 7pm and put my head down and start learning the Unreal Engine. I watched videos, did small little projects and tested my logic in visual scripting. In the beginning it was about understanding the Blueprint system and acquiring a grasp on how to visually code using this new game engine. At times I would get stuck and could not figure out things for 2 to 3 days sometimes. I would request help on Answer Hub and the UE4 forums. Over time, I learned to step away and just think about the logic of how this mechanic would work. Then if needed, present the question to the forums of UE4 or simply dive into the engine and figure it out. Every time it worked... and with more problem solving I became more knowledgeable in developing games.
Benefits Beyond What Was ExpectedProgramming and Visual scripting has really helped me think more clearly. My way of creating processes and solving problems in work and daily life has become exponentially easier. Doing scenarios for my business became much clearer. For example, I was able to foresee when my other business would have inventory issues or if our margins would be too low for the amount of marketing spend and cost we have scheduled. I simply used a spreadsheet and began presenting scenarios like I did when I code a video game. Running each step of a process... It was really enlightening for me to begin seeing multiple benefits of doing something I was passionate about.
Committing To A New VisionLike anything, if you decide on something you must cut off from something else. I was quite alright cutting off parts of my personal life and free time, although some of my colleagues, friends and family were not exactly ok with it, which I totally understood. But this was important to me, so I began to prepare to learn and succeed faster. Of course you take time to spend with family and friends, but you must decide to work when work and play when you play. It's a critical balance... yet I used free time to recuperate and think about how to learn game development faster. For an athlete, you train your body. I believe for a programmer, artist, or anyone else who builds with ideas in one's head, you have to make sure your brain is relaxed, in shape and not toxic. I was using my brain differently than I had usually been when managing my business. For me, this meant that I would need to increase my focus and have a clear thinking of what I wanted to create. I need more thinking power! So over a few weeks I began developing a routine. In the beginning this way transition in it's simplest form... it was simply: Morning:
- Do Qi Gong, Tai Chi or Yoga
- Meditation To Relax The Mind
- Journal Entry (Optional To Track Your Success)
- Green Juice (Healthyt Vegetable/Fruit Juice)
- Normal Business Tasks (Do What's Funding Your Dream)
- 30 Min Exercise (Walk, Jog, Swim or Basketball)
- Quick Lunch (Tried Not To Over Eat)
- Normal Business Tasks (Do What's Funding Your Dream)
- Finished Normal Business Tasks
- Took 30m to 60min Break (Ate Small Dinner)
- Began Learning Game Development
- 1st Starting Learning Coding and UE4
- Then Learned Game Art and Other Things As Needed