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  1. GildedOctopusStudios

    Launching Your First Game

    There is just something about when a game is finally ready to be released into the wild, an un-describable energy. It’s part anxiety and part excitement. You want to keep pushing it off for “one more feature” or “just a little more polishing” but you know you shouldn’t. You watch the game build and then upload-waiting to push that publish button. I’ve always been a firm fan of the minimal viable product development process. For those of you unfamiliar with the term the basic idea is to get a project to a base working state, release it, and provide updates for additional content and features. It’s pretty popular in agile programming circles because it encourages the actual completion of projects. It also tends to create higher quality products as well as getting a lot of more serious bugs out early in the design process. You have to have a lot of self control though to apply this concept to game development. Adding more features always makes you feel like it is improving your game but that’s not always true. For more information on MVP check out https://www.agilealliance.org/glossary/mvp/#q=~(infinite~false~filters~(tags~(~’mvp))~searchTerm~’~sort~false~sortDirection~’asc~page~1) Agile really isn’t applied much in #gamedev circles but it offers a lot benefits when compared to the traditional water fall methodology. It is easier to involve your community and adjust to major design changes. Agile products tend to evolve vs being designed so they are more likely to fit your specific community instead of what you think your community is. They also tend to be more robust products with greater ease in fixing bugs. So how does agile apply to launching my first publicly available game well I just released what is basically the core of the game. As time goes on I will be releasing updates and expansions. It will be fully supported so if you have any issues with it please let me know and I will do my best to fix them. I’ve always loved how CD Projekt Red included expansions when you bought Witcher 3. Blood and Wine was a great expansion but one of the things I loved about it was you didn’t have to pay extra for it. I hate when I buy a game and I have to keep paying more for it to be fun. So one of the things I am doing is that when you buy a copy of Frost Bite all of the updates and expansions are included. I’ve even already got plans for a fun epilogue expansion. So get a copy. I promise it will be a fun time;) Also in case you haven’t heard I’m doing a really cool giveaway to have a character in my next game #ScaryMermaid designed after you. All you have to do to enter is upload a video of yourself playing or reviewing Frost Bite before Dec 31st and send me a link to it. You can get your copy of Frost Bite at https://gildedoctopusstudios.itch.io/frost-bite The post Launching Your First Game appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  2. GildedOctopusStudios

    #Frostbite Is Alive!

    Just uploaded the final file for #Frostbite to Itch.io. I’m so excited about having this game finally done. Of course I’ve already got plans for a really cool winter event. It is after a very wintry survival/horror game. You can find it at https://gildedoctopusstudios.itch.io/frost-bite. Please check it out and let me know what you think. The wind howls and snow falls. While exploring the mountains around your village you see strange lights in the sky and when heading back you realize you are being followed. Set at night in snow covered mountains Frost Bite is a chilly horror game where even the footing is treacherous. It’s 3D, open world, and if you die, you die! It’s dark, cold, and windy. As you explore you realize that there are unexpected terrors hiding and there is something following you. If it catches you, you die. If you slip while running from it, you die. Frost Bite is a beautifully atmospheric game. It is the first publicly available game from Gilded Octopus Studios. You can find the development blog at www.gildedoctopusstudios.com. The game is being fully supported and will be getting updates and expansions. For help email gildedoctopus@gmail.com The post #Frostbite Is Alive! appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  3. GildedOctopusStudios

    Bare bones AAA team

    They're similar. They tend to do a lot of the layout at the beginning as well as the in progress stuff.
  4. GildedOctopusStudios


    1st promo art By Jess SetoI just released the first promo art for #ScaryMermaid. I am so excited about this game. I’m luck enough to be partnered with two fantastic artists for it. For this game I am partnering with the lovely artists Jess Seto who’s amazing 2D work you can find at https://l_aciel.artstation.com/ and @_Pikthem_ the totally awesome 3D modeler who’s art you can find at https://www.artstation.com/brodyrichardson Sometimes when a ship goes out to sea they don’t come back. A renowned Irish billionaire has bought a half pleasure yacht half research vessel called The Icarus to find out why. The scientists and streamers on board are about to find out why finding mermaids isn’t a good thing. A horror game about the perils of the deep sea. 20% of profits will be going towards oceanic research and coral reef restoration. Launching Halloween 2020. by @_Pikthem_ by @_Pikthem_ by @_Pikthem_ The post #ScaryMermaid appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  5. GildedOctopusStudios

    Stumbling into voice acting.

    By Christina Costello. I’ve spent the last ten years or so of my life chasing my dreams of being an actress. I’ve taken classes, workshops, worked on indie projects, not so indie projects, and more. But one of my dreams since I was a child was to be a voice actress. When I first found out *who* Veronica Taylor was, and that she was in fact voicing my childhood hero, Ash Ketchum, that’s when I realized,”wow, that’s what I want to do!” Unfortunately, I didn’t quite understand what voice acting was when I was younger, so I never was able to vocalize that that was in fact, what I wanted to do. Instead I played a ton of video games, absorbed every anime and cartoon I watched, and kept daydreaming. Eventually, I was able to start making some form of a small name for myself as a New England based actor. However, I am chronically ill. It’s not something I keep secret, but it is something I’ve tried to push through for years. I was born with a rare lung disease, CPL, and have almost died twice. Those near death experiences made me realize that life is just too short to keep putting what you want to do, on hold. That’s when my dream started to really come into reality. Last year, out of a whim I decided to join a voice acting group on facebook. There was a casting call posted that I honestly didn’t feel I was fully qualified for, but I knew I had to do everything in my power to find a way to be seen at an audition. The casting call was to do children’s voices for a children’s nursery rhyme YouTube channel. I wrote to them being upfront and honest, I did not have a voice acting reel but my day job was working for a children’s performance company, so I had plenty of experience doing voices in person. I sent them my regular acting reel, and somehow, some way, they liked it and gave me the sides to audition. At the time, I was working with my vocal coach already, so I told her about the audition and she helped me figure out how to “find my voice,” something that has helped me immensely when auditioning for projects now. I got lucky, I really did. I ended up booking the project and I work fairly consistently a couple times a week now for the last six months. I actively work with a vocal coach to hone my craft, and practice daily. It has not been an easy journey, and I am still learning, but I am so happy to be doing something I genuinely love now. Now I am auditioning for video games, anime dubs, cartoons, and working on securing an agency to help me move forward to the next level. All because I pushed for a chance to audition for something I knew in my heart I could do. If you have a dream, push for it. You’ll be surprised at what you’re able to do when you put your heart fully into something. The post Stumbling into voice acting. appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  6. GildedOctopusStudios

    Bare bones AAA team

    It's an interesting hypothetical. You'd also need a software architect and depending on how good they were that could influence how many devs you would need. Not sure if you are familiar with the term but they basically are like super experienced devs that specialize in programming and project structures. They arose from object oriented programming so they are kind of a newer thing. The benefit of them is that part of their job is to make code bases more reusable.
  7. GildedOctopusStudios

    Bare bones AAA team

    You would also need writers, a cloud, backups, and IT to take care of it. You could cut out a lot of costs by otherwise only having remote employees. I think you would have to throw a lot of money at it and have a fantastic 20+ team though to get it done in 2 years.
  8. GildedOctopusStudios

    Where to find artists?

    I used to find artists to collaborate on projects on Divantart. I split the profits or results with them and everyone is happy. Now it seems like Divantart has become very anti indie game development. So how or where do you find artists?
  9. GildedOctopusStudios

    Coffee Tasting

    Sometimes my life is pretty cool. Monday I went to a coffee tasting class by myself. I tried to talk a friend into going with but she wasn’t feeling well. So coffee is grown in South America, Africa, and it’s starting to be grown in China. The reason why quality coffee is so expensive is that Asia(China and Japan mainly) has kinda discovered how awesome coffee is in the last 10 years or so. There is a higher demand than there is supply because of this. It’s why China is starting to try and grow their own coffee. The class was held at a little coffee shop near me called Drachenfutter which is a German word meaning to feed your dragon. It’s a colloquialism which refers to getting your significant other food when they are angry at you. German has so many cool words. I found out about the class on FB. So I walk in and the place is deserted other than staff and one other gal. I’m only a couple minutes early. The place is a classic coffee shop with couches and a fireplace and board games. I’m of course like “Hi, I’m here for the coffee tasting class?” The owner comes over and is like I’m so excited you’re here. I’m just kinda sitting there watching them get set up. They’re bringing out pots of hot water. The guy teaching the class is setting out 8 tiny bowls with coffee grounds in them. He looks like a normal guy come to find out he has a 2.6 million dollar insurance policy on his tongue! He’s the owner of the company that the coffee shop buys their coffee from. It’s like his second business. He started out in printing and had a really successful company but got super burnt out, just dreaded going to work. Every morning though he’d see these people who were happy to be going to work…at the coffee shop across from his company. So he sold his company and started a coffee roasting company. Every morning the guy and some of his employees taste the coffee that’s been roasted. It’s kind of a quality control thing. Coffee tasting is actually called cupping. The process is kinda like how you taste whisky more so than wine. You start by smelling the grounds. Then you add some hot water and smell it again. Then you take a spoon very similar to a soup spoon and kinda pass it through the coffee and smell the back of it, rinsing it off in hot water between cups. Then you scoop up some of the coffee in the spoon and you slurp it. Yes slurp it. Me, one other girl, and the coffee shop’s employees are all just standing around a table slurping coffee out of soup spoons;) It was kinda hilarious. There were 4 different coffees, one from china, one from Africa, and I think two from South America. What’s interesting is that coffee has different flavors depending on where it is grown due to the different soils. So one of the coffees had a lovely earthy dark chocolate taste, two were kinda acidic and fruity, and the last one was just kinda mild. An interesting fact men 18-34ish tend to prefer more acidic coffees while after that they tend to like less acidic. Women 18-35ish tend to prefer earthier darker coffees. I learned so much about coffee and all the steps that go into getting to the point of coffee grounds. It was a lot of fun and I’m definitely considering going to the next one which is about paring foods and coffee. The post Coffee Tasting appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  10. GildedOctopusStudios

    Frost Bite Update

    Only weeks away from the launch of Frost Bite and I’m getting pretty excited:) I’ve been expanding the map because it was just a little too small which impacted the play time negatively. The new map is so huge in comparison to the old one. It’s like 6X as large. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the new map is less maze like than the old one. Which I’m going to change somewhat but there are going to be some big open areas as well. I’ve been telling more people in person about it. I’ve been getting some pretty positive responses which makes me happy. It feels a little weird to have so many details finalized. Yesterday I got the Itch.Io page for it set up. I’ve got so many little details still to do on it. Increasing the size of the map has added quite a bit of work but I think it will be better for players. The post Frost Bite Update appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  11. GildedOctopusStudios

    I want to be a character in a video game!

    #IWantToBeAnNPC (I Want to be an NPC competition) Ever wanted to be a character in a video game. Not just be able to create a customizable character but there actually to be cannon characters who look like you? Young or old, black white Asian, purple pink hair, you! To celebrate the upcoming release of my first publicly available game #Frostbite you are going to have a chance to be a character in the next game #ScaryMermaid. I need a lot of characters for it and I want to ask you to be one of those characters. There are going to be 12 slots with a different way to win each month till the game comes out. For the 1st month(November) the challenge will be to upload a video of yourself playing or reviewing #Frostbite with a short description of yourself or the character you would like to see in #ScaryMermaid. There will be a vote. The person with the most votes wins. Well I’m sure you’re curious what will you actually win? Well A character who looks like you in the game with your name or the name of your choice You will get to do the voice acting for the character You will be featured on my blog A copy of #ScaryMermaid when it comes out Your name in the credits of #ScaryMermaid A specialized piece of promo art featuring your character And possibly additional prizes Stay tuned for the launch of #Frostbite and additional details. The post I want to be a character in a video game! appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  12. GildedOctopusStudios

    A Tale of Five Engines: Or How to Pick a Game Engine

    Thank you so much. This is actually a guest post by Musume. If you want to see what I'm up to or find more cool guest posts like this check out my full blog at www.GildedOctopusStudios.com. I actually just posted a guest post on marketing indie games that I think you would find interesting. Hi, That's so cool. I'm generally a Unity girl myself but I would love to hear more about your game maker. Would you be interested in doing a guest post about it for my blog at www.GildedOctopusStudios.com?
  13. With my new game Frostbite nearly ready to release into the wild I’ve been thinking a lot lately about marketing. It’s an area that I see a lot of Indie developers struggling in. It’s also crazy crucial to the success of indie games. So when I saw a tweet by Travis Taborek– a Digital Marketer & Writer who specializes in #indiegame marketing- about the benefits of influencer marketing for indie games I knew I needed to learn more. So I’ve asked Travis for a guest post on how to accomplish this. I hope you enjoy this look into a different side of game development than what we normally see and find it helpful. Let’s be blunt, we all know that game development is a demanding and utterly thankless job. The neverending days, weeks, months and years of ceaseless grind working for cents on the dollar would be enough to crush anyone’s spirit. Even if you do get your game to a playable state and have it ready for launch, your game is far from guaranteed to succeed. If you’re going to stand out in a market that’s already oversaturated with indie games and sees tens-of-thousands of new releases every year, you need a plan, you need to understand your audience, you need to know how to leverage the channels that are the best fit for your game, and you need to have luck on your side. In other words, you need to do marketing for your game. Game development in itself, as previously stated, is a full-time job, but both making *and* marketing your game as a solo indie dev with no budget is a herculean task. But not to worry. With a couple of straightforward, scalable strategies, you can take the game that represents your hopes and dreams and turn it into a profitable business. Here’s how it works. My First Case Study Pitching your games to Youtube and Twitch influencers in the gaming space is your safest marketing bet. If your game is: 1) Decent 2) In a playable state, even an alpha 3) You want it to make money That’s how it’s done. A year ago, I enrolled in a digital marketing course at a fancy-pants tech bootcamp in San Francisco. While studying there, I partnered with a two-man development team making a 2D space RPG on Steam. Influencer marketing was one of the first things we tried. I did some research on influencer marketing for indie games. When I did, I came across this article by fellow indie game marketer @Tavrox: https://medium.com/@Tavrox/how-to-find-influencers-for-your-game-45b7e8fcb1a8. In it, Tavrox outlines the process that he uses for influencer marketing campaigns for the games he works on. I read it and thought to myself “This seems worth trying. Let’s give it a shot.” So here’s what I did. 1) I thought about the people who were most likely to play my client’s game. In this case, either hardcore gamers who enjoy space sims (EVE Online, Elite Dangerous etc.) or people who gravitate towards games with crafting elements (e.g. Terraria). 2) I made a list of ten games that were most similar to my client’s game 3) For each game, I came up with a list of 10 influencers who feature that game heavily on their channel until I had 50 4) I crafted a pitch explaining the game’s major selling points and why they would enjoy it 5) I sent them all Steam keys for the game asking them to review it I sent out 50 emails to 50 YouTubers. One of those 50 YouTubers did a review. That review got 33,000 views. The traffic from those 33,000 views made the game $10,000 in two days. That’s a decent chunk of change. You could buy a car or put a down-payment on a house with that. And that’s the basics. Here’s where it gets slightly more complicated. How to Split-Test and Optimize your Outreach I got a little lucky on my first outreach campaign. It isn’t usually that simple. Here’s the thing. YouTubers get pitched by 100’s of indie developers just like yourself every single day. Their inboxes become inundated with review requests for games just as deserving as yours. That means that they normally don’t respond to boiler-plate marketing emails sent en-masse. The flip-side to that equation though is that you need to send your game to 100’s of influencers in order to turn your game into a profitable business, which means that sending each one personally hand-crafted emails signed in triplicate and scented with rose-perfume and delivered with a gift basket of iced champagne, cuban cigars and beluga caviar just isn’t feasible or realistic. The trick is to find the middle ground. Personalize your emails just enough to make the recipient think that you delivered it to them personally, but make it just generic enough so that you can set an email automation tool to fill in the blanks for you so you can make your outreach scalable. A typical pitch email has the following structure: Hey there {{first name/online handle}}. I came across your {{game title review}}. {{Include a short sentence here about their channel that you like or that stood out to you, so they know you took the time to watch their videos}}. {{A one-to-two-sentence description of your game goes here}} {{A GIF or screenshot of your game goes here}} Here’s a Steam key for a review: {{Steam key}} That’s a pretty standard pitch. A few things to keep in mind: – Keep it short and sweet. Generally speaking, the fewer words it takes to convey a message the better. – It takes me about an hour to come up with a list of 10 potentially suitable influencers for a game And how do you perfect the art of pitching to influencers? The same way you do any and all marketing: through continuous testing and experimentation! Set up a new test with every iteration of 50 influencers. Here are a few split-tests you can try: – Impact of including their first name in the subject line – Times of day – Influencers who specialize in different genre – Long-form detailed pitch or a short-form pitch that cuts to the chase – Does including visual elements and branding e.g. logos, GIFs, screenshots have any effect? Here’s how I would do it: – Come up with a list of 50 influencers. Have 10 of those be your VIP’s – the most popular YouTubers who would feasibly take an interest in your game. These 10 people get personalized emails specifically crafted for them – Take the remaining 40 influencers, randomize the list and seperate them into Groups A and B. – Test one of the elements mentioned above – Use MixMax to send your emails: https://mixmax.com – See which group has the highest open and response rate after about a week – Find another 50 influencers, optimize off the winning result, and run a new test. Rinse and repeat! What strategies have worked for you and your game’s outreach? Comment below with the processes and experiments you’ve tried! The post How I Made a Struggling Indie Game $10,000, and How You Can Too appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  14. GildedOctopusStudios

    It’s my birthday!

    So far it’s been a pretty quiet and relaxed one. It’s beautifully cool and clear outside. My favorite sort of fall weather. October is by far my favorite month. I love the pumpkins and the colorful leaves. The weather is cool enough for light sweaters and cute dresses with boots. Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. You get to dress up in cool costumes and play pranks on people. There’s plenty of sweets. It’s the best. As a teenager I worked every October at a corn maze as a haunter which means I got paid to jump out of corn and scare people. It was fantastic and I have so many fond memories of standing out in the cold, damp, dark just waiting to jump out at people. One year I was I was this Vampire Leprechaun and it was around the time those Sparkly Vampire books got to be so popular. So I would have all these teenage girls coming up to me wanting hugs. You couldn’t tell anything about me when I was wearing that costume because it covered me from head to toe so people would ask me if I was a dude or a chick. I would just give them vague spooky answers and then give them directions so they would get more lost and then I could scare them again. I was really good at it. The pay was generally either at or below minimum wage but I didn’t care. I had so much fun and it was for a charity. The corn maze was the main funding for a what was essentially an orphanage. It was actually called a boy’s home because they exclusively took boys generally teenagers. It closed down recently due to an incident caused by the state sending them more and more unstable children. It wasn’t set for that. It was a place for lost boys to get their heads on straight and learn how to be functioning members of society. The corn maze just moved to a new location with a new name and it no longer benefits a charity since the owners are still paying off the new place. The old corn maze spot will always have a special place in my heart. The way the fog rolls across the valley from the creek late at night. The way the cold damp just settles against your skin. The stars and the moonlight above a field of corn. I think my experiences as a haunter at a corn maze are why I enjoy making horror games so much. There’s that rich atmosphere and I get to create this whole dark little world for people to enjoy. There is a certain joy in being scared or startled when you know you can’t get hurt. I like being able to share that with people and I am so excited that Frostbite is nearly done. I sincerely hope that when it comes out you will buy, play, and enjoy my scary little game. The post It’s my birthday! appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
  15. Guest Blog: Musume A Tale of Five Engines Hi. My name is Rez, and I’m developing a side-scrolling action platformer named Musume. Before you go much further into this blog, I want you to visit my game’s website and see what I’m doing: www.musumethegame.com, and I want you to do this for two reasons: 1. I promote my game absolutely every chance I get. If you’re a game dev, you should be doing the same. 2. This blog will make a lot more sense when you see the game I am making. So go ahead. This blog will be here when you get back. … Did you visit it? Good. I’m going to tell you which commercially available game engine I’m using to make this game, and why. It will take us five engines to get there. By the end, I hope that my experiences will help you pick the best engine for your project. Ready? Here we go! RPG Maker MV I began my game dev journey about eighteen months ago by buying RPG Maker MV on Steam. At $70, it seemed like an extravagant purchase, but I had always wanted to make a video game, and it seemed like the best way for a complete beginner like me. I had tried to make a game with RPG Maker on my PlayStation 2 a long, long time ago, but made zero progress then. Older and wiser, I figured I could do better now. I now laugh at the idea that I thought $70 was a lot of money to make a game. I have spent a whole lot more in getting Musume made since then. $70 is an absolute bargain when you see everything that RPG Maker MV gives you. You have a character creator, enemies, music, and tiles to create towns, overworlds, and dungeons. No other engine (at least from the ones I tried) give you literally all the resources you need to make a complete game. And make no mistake, RPG Maker MV (and the whole RPG Maker series) is an engine. It is a framework that you can use to build your game. There are thousands of RPG Maker-made games on the market, and most of them look the same because the devs all use the packed-in assets. But you don’t have to do that. You can import your own art and music. You can also learn JavaScript, MV’s underlying programming language, and tweak the engine until you create something truly unique. It’s a great place to start learning game development. So why did I abandon it? Because RPG Maker MV (and every single RPG Maker that came before it) is designed to create one specific type of game: a top-down, turn-based RPG. And I wanted to make something else. I wanted to go 3-D. Unity After I decided that RPG Maker wasn’t going to cut it, I started looking around for something else. I still didn’t know much about game engines, but I did know that one name kept popping up over and over: Unity. I figured I had to check it out. As it turned out, Unity is by far the most popular game engine on the planet among independent game developers, and for a very good reason: it’s free. Well, there are some strings attached. However, if you’re reading this on a computer, you can – right now – download Unity for zero dollars. You can then use it to create a commercial game, and as long as that game doesn’t generate more than $100,000 in sales, or your studio doesn’t generate more than $100,000 in funding, every penny you make is yours to keep (minus royalties to places like Steam, of course). Exceed that limit, and you have to either pay for Unity Plus (a reasonable $25-$35 a month) or Unity Pro (an absurdly expensive $125 a month). If you want, you can get one of the paid plans right off the bat; they come with extra features missing from the base version. Just remember, though: once you commit to a paid version of Unity, you are on the hook for a year. Use it for three months and then cancel? You still owe for the rest of the year, and Unity will get their money, even if you cancel the card you’re using to pay. Needless to say, I got the free version. And I’m glad I did, because Unity and I do not get along. Unity provides free tutorials. YouTube is full of free tutorials. Udemy has very good paid tutorials, at very reasonable prices. None of that mattered for me. The fact is, going from a beginner-friendly engine like RPG Maker MV to Unity was like going from a go-kart to a Formula 1 car. The learning curve was just too steep, and I couldn’t wrap my head around how to make things happen in this engine. It wasn’t for lack of trying, mind you; I bought and read books on C# (the programming language Unity uses), I did tutorials, and I stayed up until 3-4 in the morning some days, trying to make something happen. No dice. But then, I learned about Unity’s biggest rival: Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine Unreal Engine (UE) is the brainchild of Gears of War and Fortnite developer Epic Games, and is currently on its fourth iteration. It gets its name because it is a descendant of the engine used to create Unreal, Epic’s hit first-person shooter that came out in the late 90s. Growing up, I had read about UE’s enormous power and thought that a mortal like me would never be able to touch it. Even after I got into game development, I just assumed that an Unreal license cost thousands of dollars a year. But after making no progress with Unity, I decided to check it out. How much, I wondered, does it cost to use Unreal Engine? As it turns out, it doesn’t cost anything. Unreal Engine is completely free. There are no subscription plans. You owe a 5% royalty to Epic for all sales above $3,000, but that’s it. Once upon a time, Epic waived the royalty fee if you published to the Epic store, but that seems to have gone away. Unreal Engine is also, on the surface, incredibly beginner-friendly. UE comes with something called “Blueprints”, templates for all kinds of games that you can use to jump-start your own development. This sounded like a match made in heaven. I immediately downloaded UE. And after struggling with it for a while, I gave up. I had the same issue with UE as I did with Unity: the learning curve was just too steep for a beginner. This isn’t the engine’s fault – games are complex pieces of software, and they require complex tools – but it was far more than I was ready to handle. So, with much regret, I gave up, and looked for something else. Gamemaker Studio 2 In my search, I found what finally seemed like the perfect match: Gamemaker Studio 2. GameMaker Studio 2 (GMS2) is the “sequel” to GameMaker Studio, a hugely popular game engine that is tailored for 2-D games and designed to be easy to use. A license costs $99, but like with most engines, there is a free version available that you can use to see if it is right for you. This version is super-limited and you can’t make commercial games with it, but it’s a great way to get a taste without spending the money. Yes, I originally wanted to make the game in 3D. But after banging my head against the wall with both Unity and Unreal Engine, I was more than willing to compromise. GMS2 is basically a dumbed-down version of Unity, and for someone like me, that was perfect. The layout is similar, but the tools are easier to access and use, and the programming language was developed with beginners in mind. GMS2 uses a proprietary programming language called Gamemaker Language (GML). This language is a simplified version of object-oriented languages like C# and C++, with enough wiggle room built in that you can write successful code even if you are (like me) a ham-fisted programmer. GMS2 is where I first started having success in development. I learned how layers worked and how objects interacted with each other. I made real progress with GML, learning how to code fairly complex functions. It was good. But it was still too hard. Here’s my problem. I am a grown adult with a full-time job, spouse, and children. I have very little free time. I am also not a natural programmer. It can take me weeks to learn and understand something in coding that may take a more gifted programmer only hours to learn. Combine this lack of free time with the need to learn a simplified but still complex tool, and you have a recipe for frustration. And while I was finally able to get the game up and running (you can see the results in some of the videos on the website), development was still painfully slow, because I was having an extremely difficult time learning GML. It just wasn’t getting through. So I finally caved and did something that, at the beginning of my game engine search, I swore I would never do: use a visual coding engine. Construct 3 “Visual coding” is the buzzword around a lot of new game engines. More and more engines are hitting the market, promising you the ability to make a game without writing a single line of code. Construct 3 is one of the most popular. Visual coding usually consists of connecting boxes or nodes that represent blocks of code. The idea is that you can link actions together without worrying about obscure language or syntax issues. Construct 3 is the latest engine in the Construct line. It works entirely in your browser. And at $100 a year for the subscription, it is by far the most expensive of all the engines I’ve tried (other than BuildBox, but that’s a story worth a whole blog entry unto itself). It is also stunningly easy to use, although I struggled with it a bit at first. The interface is extremely intuitive. You basically create game objects, and assign them actions based on options in a variety of drop-down menus. With a little practice, you’re off and running. It takes me hours to do in Construct what it would take me days or weeks in GMS2. The biggest time-savers are the behaviors. Construct 3 enables you to add common platforming behaviors to your game. Things like basic controls, jump-through platforms, and bullets are templated in: you just have to tweak them to make them your own. For someone like me – who, in addition to coding, has to do just about everything else for the game except draw and compose music – this is perfect. It enables me to be as productive as possible with the limited amount of time I have. The learning curve is much flatter here. I said above that I didn’t originally want to learn a VC engine, and this is true. I wanted to learn to code and become a “real” programmer. However, I didn’t start this just to learn how to program. I did it in order to make a video game. Construct 3 is enabling me to do that much faster than any other engine I’ve tried. And for that reason, it is currently my engine of choice. The post A Tale of Five Engines: Or How to Pick a Game Engine appeared first on Gilded Octopus. View the full article
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