Edd made a game and then wrote this feature about it – Part I: Creation

In which I smash my head onto the desk repeatedly in the name of creating a game…

Reader, you have three choices before you. You may first play the game in question before reading this feature and thus avoid the spoilers and have the unadulterated experience. Or perhaps you wish to first study this article and then enjoy, with a greater knowledge of what is before you. Or perhaps the wisest among you will choose the final option, steering clear of playing altogether. Ok, done? Here we go…I’m a hypocrite. Casting judgement down upon game developers, criticising every flawed facet until they are sorry souls, weeping in the dirt. Yet, even as I make sweeping statements belying how utterly awful every-single-game is, I cannot help but hear a tiny voice in the back of my mind speaking to me. Why do I have the right to cast these critical stones? And that voice has a point. Sure, I can string a few words together, make a couple of people laugh, but these inane parlour tricks barely give me the right to inform others whether or not they should waste their valuable time on a product.It’s the old adage that is often bandied about the world of music journalism: ‘music critics are just failed grumpy musicians’. Yet in the gaming world it’s possibly worse. Creating games generally requires more technical skill sets and commitment than stringing a few chords together, and very few critics have ever even tried their hand at game making. If we have no idea what it even requires to make a game, do we really have the right to criticise?With this thought in mind that I embarked on (what turned out to be) an epic quest. A journey where I discovered the very limits of my mind, the farthest depths of my imagination and the most horrifying usage of hyperbole.The mission: to create a gameIt was that blank slate that turned out to be the very first hurdle in the process. How do you begin the process of making a game? It is like sitting down at a desk and being told to write. Only they forgot to give you a pen. Or a notepad. Or a language. Sure you could prick your finger and bleed all over the table, but that just leaves a sticky mess.A blank slate. Literal images of metaphors always cause amusement. Always.Fortunately the world is now at our (still bleeding) fingertips. All the information of humanity can be found if one gets tangled up in the web. The biggest problem is filtering that indescribably large amount of data down into one puny brain. I guess I have a slight advantage here, technically I am supposed to work with computers. I had already created a couple of our band websites on the browser gaming platform du jour Adobe Flash. If I expanded my knowledge here, chuck in a little ActionScript, perhaps I could wrangle out a game without too much painful learning. And no-one likes learning.Yet I knew in my heart that diving head first into Flash development would be a waste. Flash, according to most people in the know, is a dying platform. Terrible management, security flaws and lack of innovation from Adobe combined with extremely aggressive (but all too common) strategies from Apple means that its future is bleak. iOS devices cannot play any of its content, and with their growing domination in technology it seems foolish to commit any resources to learning Flash. It would be rather like teaching yourself archery when everyone around you is equipping automatic rifles.There are of course thousands of engines available for budding developers to learn, but the one that seems to be gathering the most momentum at present is Unity. It is highly versatile (in theory you could make anything from an Xbox to an iOS game), powerful (take for example beautiful games such as

Edd Harwood

Updated: Sep 17, 2012

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Edd made a game and then wrote this feature about it – Part I: Creation | The Digital Fix