F**KING LEARN TO CODE ALREADY!!

Like seriously, just do it. Get it over with already.

Many people, game developers and plebs alike, have a habit of instantly dismissing the idea of even trying to learn how to code. They feel it will be too difficult, too complex, or too hard for their little non-genius pea brains to ever fully understand, let alone master.

Whether you are a game designer, quest writer, modeler, or even a concept artist, being able to not only say that you know just a little bit about coding for video games is a huge plus in the games industry. It makes you more of an asset to studios, making it easier for them to select you for a job. It allows you to have a fuller understanding of both the possibilities and the limitations of whatever kind of game it is you’re trying to make. It permits you a window not only into the artistic side of game development, but the mythical technical side as well.

As hard as it may seem on the surface, coding is indeed a difficult skill to learn, but if you’re anything like me, it’s not nearly as hard as you probably think it is. Many among us think you need to be a math genius to code. They think that you need to know the ins and outs of every processor, every logic gate, every single, small, consecutive bit of a computer’s near-endless streams of binary, AND have a PhD in computer science, linear algebra, calculus, anddddd maybe one in theoretical physics… just for good measure of course.

…But what if I were to tell you that everything we think we know about coding…

…is wrong?

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. Take the blue pill, and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe about coding and game development. Take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you just how deep this glorious, gaming rabbit hole goes.

 

So, you’ve taken the red pill. Marvelous. Paul Elam will be pleased.

First off, being able to look at computers and coding from a broader point of view helps, and this is where knowledge of computer science can really come into play. However, let the rumors that you need to be a math genius be washed away! Let all theoretical physicists with their theoretical degrees be cast aside! Using this post found on Data US, we can accurately determine what skills your average computer programmer does and doesn’t need to succeed.

 

 

Hard math does indeed still play a role, but as one will find, skills like Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Writing, and quite ironically, Programming, hold more sway in the realms of coding than math ever could.

So what will be our great takeaway from all this after we’re through? Well, it helps to be a problem-solver, not a mathematician. 

You see my friends, coding is actually quite simple. You just need to first learn about 7-8 different robot languages equal to or greater in complexity to conventional human languages like Spanish, Chinese, or Arabic, use those robot languages to seamlessly knit strings of extensive elements from your 7-8 different robot languages together to sew the threads of a much larger, much more advanced electronic system stretching thousands of characters across your choice of a strange thing called a compiler or your poor, poor Notepad files, finally test them again and again for errors, always trying to go back and fix these errors with the full knowledge that every repair creates a new error no matter what it is that say or do, and finally, use Google for everything whenever you’re confused because all of this is too hard.

In the words of many of the programmers and coders I know, it’s like a cute little puzzle. Easy, right? Well, just in case it wasn’t, I am going to PROVE to you that it is. I will be using my amateur coding knowledge to show you, in the simplest possible way, how all of this really works behind the scenes. (And yes, I got pics fam)

DISCLAIMER: I am but a humble gaming journalist. Please, if you think I am getting a big head, remember I openly admit to the fact that I know nothing of programming. Please don’t hurt my precious feelings in the comments below );


ENOMVIEW PRESENTS…

HOW TO CODE IN HTML

(for noobs)

Ladies, gentlemen, let’s do this shit.

 

1) Our Elements and our Robot Language

To start, we will be coding in HTML (durr hurr). HTML, our robot language, stands for HyperText Markup Language. All that HTML is used for is to mark up text on a screen, usually for a webpage.

An element is something that you type to tell the computer what you want it to do. The <h1> element is used to show text in size 1 heading format, whereas the <p> element is used to show text in the paragraph format.

(You edit your code in Notepad or a special program called a compiler, credits to w3schools.com for letting me use theirs. This is what it looks like inside.)

(This is what it looks like on the other end.) 

Both of these elements have beginning brackets (<h1>, <p>) and closing brackets (</h1>, </p>) to signify when the text of a particular element should start and end. If we flipped the <h1> and <p> elements, our input and output would look like this:

(our input)

(our output)

I know, very difficult to understand, isn’t it? While you did get to see the output in its entirety, parts of the input were hidden to you.

(full input, as seen in the code editor) 

<!DOCTYPE html> = Something we type at the beginning of every HTML document so the computer knows that all the text below is to be read in HTML.

<html> = All the text in between these brackets are a part of the HTML code.

<body> = All the text that goes in the main body of your webpage.

I know, it gets harder by the minute. Just wait, it gets worse.

 

2) More Elements

Now we will introduce just a few more elements. We will also introduce an attribute, which is like an add-on for a larger element.

 

<img> = for image links. Unlike many elements, <img> does not have an ending bracket.

(src stands for source link/ file of the image)

 

<b> = used to make text bold.

(input)

(output)

 

Now, let those precious morsels of information ooze into your braincase for a moment. Let them absorb before moving onto the next step.

 

3) Building a Basic Website

So, to get the fullest understanding of all our tools, we are going to be coding a generic 1990s-lookin’ website centered around bears.

Here is all the information we need to code in:


(the background of the webpage should be pink)

Today’s Top 3 Bears (header)

Hello, internet. Here at Bears.com, we have worked especially hard to bring you today’s daily top-tier specimens.

#3: The Black Bear

https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4617713b2614c4f9eaa7b222ec270b01-c (image link)

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. … American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.

#2: The Brown Bear

https://beartrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Bear-Den-photo.jpg (image link)

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a bear that is found across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It is one of the largest living terrestrial members of the order Carnivora, rivaled in size only by its closest relative, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which is much less variable in size and slightly larger on average.

#1: The Grizzly Bear

https://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2018/04/28/c6cb470f-edb2-4329-a6ad-af3ad788c2d6/thumbnail/620×350/33556a377976d139b012d206c4908170/istock-695736858.jpg (image link)

The grizzly bear is a large population of the brown bear inhabiting North America. Scientists generally do not use the name grizzly bear but call it the North American brown bear.

All information taken from Wikipedia.


Now, like a puzzle, we are going to put all our pieces together using all the information displayed above.

 

4) Putting the Puzzle Together

First thing’s first, we pull up our code editor and put in all the basic stuff that we need for every HTML document like <!DOCTYPE html>, <html>, and <body>.

First, we place our header, “Today’s Top 3 Bears”, and the introductory sentence, “Hello internet. Here at Bears.com, we have worked especially hard to bring you today’s daily top-tier specimens.” down into the code. We nestle into the <body> element because it is a part of the main body of text of our webpage.

(input)

(output) 

Next, we add in our first small header, “#3: The Black Bear” and it’s accompanying image link, “https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-4617713b2614c4f9eaa7b222ec270b01-c”,  and text, “The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. … American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.” We will also make sure to bold the necessary words.

(input) 

(output) 

Then we do that same thing again two mores times with the other types of bears.

(input) 

(output 1)

(output 2:)


So then, it seems like we’re all done. Good job all around, eh?

But wait!! We needed a pink background! We don’t know how to get it, so where could we go to figure that out?

But of course. Google, you are my only true friend on this Earth.

And so, my search brought me to this Wikihow link.

Now, to apply the changes…

(input) 

(output)

Perfect. Ready for the net of ’97.


Conclusion

So, now that we have gone through everything in that little tutorial, what’s our great takeaway? Well, coding init of itself is something the large majority of people overthink. It’s true that many programmers need to be able to code in 4-5 different languages, but seeing to how they can all those languages can be very similar, things get significantly easier after you learn your first, then move onto your second and third.

Keep in mind, this was all in HTML. That’s not even technically a programming language, but a markup language. Things obviously do get MUCH more complex with the number of variables at play, and you’re VERY far from being a web developer, let alone a game developer.

However, the basics are all still the same. Fit the pieces together, use Google, and be a problem-solver.

Some handy resources:

w3schools.com = free online tutorials for languages like HTML, Javascript, and PHP. Used by university students looking to earn a degree in web development.

w3resource.com = additional tutorials and exercises to expand upon what you’ve learned on w3schools.com.

How to Code in C# = youtube video playlist dedicated to beginners who wish to learn one of game development’s most useful languages: C#

C++ Programming Tutorials = another youtube playlist explaining how to code in C++, another useful language in game development.

I choose to learn more about coding, choose to accept that you’ll make mistakes. If you’ll notice in my walkthrough, I failed to put my image links in quotations like I was supposed to. I also didn’t write my <head> elements out right off the bat with everything else before going to work.

Now you have a taste of what it’s like. You know how it can help you.

So fucking get it over with already. Learn. How. To code.

Liked this article? Check out our many other articles on Indie Development: https://enomview.com/category/indie-development/

Oh, and here’s a careful reminder from mini-Shia to remind you to just do it.

How do I Game Writer?

I once read someplace here on the worldwide web that game writers are an often misunderstood sort. I read that we can be underutilized by designers, sometimes looked down upon by team members in other departments for fear of what we’d do with our dreaded cutscenes, etc etc etc. There is a point to be made that so many of the newbie writers on professional development teams know nothing about game development, that they stride in proud from the realms of a novelist, a screenwriter, or a comic writer, and think they’re ready to take over the whole development world. Oh, if only they knew better.

Indeed, in my early days as a fledgling game writer (which are actually still ongoing, lulz,) I think I learned the reason for just why this is, why so many writers (not designers) of so many experience levels couldn’t quite tell ya the specifics of what makes a good game story and what doesn’t. The answer: a lack of information.

Not to hate on other articles and outlets, but I feel that so many of them fail to touch upon the good, nitty-gritty, important details that all aspiring game writers crave. I’m definitely still searching for all of those answers myself, but I think it’s high time that I share some of the precious chunks of knowledge that designers and directors from all over the internet have been trying to beat and pound and force through my thick skull for over half a year now.

Choose Your Words Wisely

The worrisome look on Lee’s face when he comforts Clementine is not unique to Telltale’s The Walking Dead. No, it is the face a game writer makes on a daily basis, for in no other medium does a storyteller need to cut it down to bare essentials more so than in video games.

“But Dylan,” I can hear you asking now, “whatever do you mean?!” Well, let me introduce a concept that I call “the word count dilemma”. Whether the piece in question be a novella, (which is apparently the fancy term for a really short novel,) a novel (also known as a phat novella,) or a movie script, the average reader’s word count is about…

                 130 words per minute

Not a very huge number. 130 words when grouped up together seem small, and they most certainly are. Depending on how writing-heavy your team wants to go, you may end up with a story that’s 20,000 words long, (the same as a movie script,) or The Witcher 3’s absolutely monstrous 400,000 on paper, and that’s fine. But, very few people are going to be reading your story, aren’t they? What are most people going to be doing? Watching it unfold during gameplay. So what’s the problem?

Well, a very famous Youtube channel dedicated to game development known as Extra Credits (which I highly recommend every aspiring dev pays very close attention to,) once talked of this very same concept. The creators behind this wonderful channel couldn’t find a de facto study to determine the average WPM of most story-driven games, so they decided to experiment on their own. What was their average? The answer may surprise you…

                    16 words per minute

(The Extra Credits video on that can be found here.)

Isn’t that interesting?! Mind boggling?! INSANE?! It most definitely is! It is all of those things and so much more! Thus, it is important that every single line of dialogue is kept down to an absolute bare minimum. No fluff. No flowery descriptiveness. Just quick, dirty, and right to the point. The definitive litmus is making sure that every word matters and has some sort of relevance to the plot, the characters, the world, and the story.

Funnily enough, this is actually a very old concept in storytelling, and I bet that if you’re a seasoned writer, you’ve heard of it before: “Chekhov’s Gun“. Chekhov was a playwright and novelist who lived in the olden, pre-soviet Russian Empire. He had a saying: “If there’s a gun on the wall, it simply must be shot.” Simply put, how many of those lines are meaningful, and how many of them are meaningless? How many of them actually need to stay, and how many can be removed? If you can tell a good story that trims down on as many words as possible, you’re well on your way to gripping gamers with the gratuitous gift of good game storytelling. (How’s that for alliteration?)

You Are The Game’s B*tch

This is a different rodeo, cowboy. In a book, comic, or movie, things are much more “controlled”. The audience can’t do much other than watch and pay attention, so as long as your story’s good, it’s nice and peachy in the hood.

But this is a game.

Your audience members are not just audience members, but players. They can move, jump, sprint, kill, exploit bugs, travel to places you may never have intended for them to go, and do things (terrible, terrible things) you would have never wanted for them to do! Thus the plot can be totally turned on it’s head.

Hell, they make videos about all the crazy feats of brainstorming, planning, and testing that game developers have to go through just to save the players from…. (wait for it)…..

THEMSELVES!!

As such, you need to take all the things (ALL OF THEM) that the player can do that would interfere with your story into consideration. Not only this, but you need to build a story that’s still believable, even when the game’s mechanics come into question. Do you have a cutscene in which a character is killed by a single bullet? If so, would the player be similarly one-shotted if put in the same circumstance outside of a cutscene, or would they be able to absorb those bullets like a sponge absorbs all the tears that you’re shedding because you didn’t find this article sooner? A good game story does not work against these mechanics and player-based variables, but works hand-in-hand with them. As such, the GDD or Game Design Document, the physical blueprints of your game and all it’s features, should become your new best friend, and don’t be afraid to consult your resident designer.

This is a Game, Not a Movie

It had to be said. Unless you’re making the next Heavy Rain with your very own Shaun-screaming protagonist, you need to put the gameplay first. The player shouldn’t be made to sit through several minutes of dialogue, cutscenes, or quicktime events. They need to have a good story, of course, but the greater bulk of their time needs to be spent doings like engaging in combat, traveling across the world, moving through levels, stealthing around enemies, etc.

As a game writer myself, I spent several days bouncing ideas off another fellow game writer as we jointly constructed what we felt was the best possible plotline for a game like the one we were making. The characters had deep motivations, interesting dialogue and interactions, etc etc etc. But what did the director say when he saw our work? “The story’s great, but in real time, I could play through all of this in under two hours. This is an open world game, and two hours is nothing.”

And he was right. So incredibly right. Our in-game conversations were too long and needed to be cut down to the bare essentials. In our open world game, whenever the player characters reached a certain point in the quest and had to travel a long distance, we’d have a time skip when we should have instead been giving the players a quest marker and getting them to physically walk to their next destination. As such, we had to revise our plotline.

You need to tell a good story, but the story needs to work specifically for the format of a game. Even better, if you can set things up in such a way to where a player who doesn’t care all too much about a story can easily skip it and move on to the next level while also still making that story an essential part of the experience, then you’re absolutely golden. In conclusion, it turns out that, when people want to play a game, they don’t want to watch a movie; they want to play a game.

The Cutscene Controversy

This is a very shaky topic for a lot of game developers, but simply put, there’s a controversy revolving around cutscenes. I don’t have a definitive answer on how this should be addressed, but I feel all aspiring game writers should be aware of the debate. Long story short, some people have no problems with cutscenes and think they enhance the experience, some people think cutscenes should only be used in certain circumstances, (like when the player is made to feel helpless,) and others feel that cutscenes shouldn’t be used at all.

To elaborate, is often said that cutscenes are lazy because everything in your game should be done through gameplay in some shape or form. The player should be able to interact with the world because it’s better for engagement, not sit and watch a small movie.

On the other side of the coin, games like The Last of Us have cutscenes that span that, when put together in a single Youtube video, span the length of a whole movie. The Last of Us, despite this, is often regarded as having of one of the greatest stories a game has ever told. Never have I heard anyone complain of it’s cutscenes, just like I’ve never heard anyone complain of the cutscenes in Final Fantasy or Mass Effect. Heck, many of my friends (game developers and standard gamers alike,) hated the way how Bethesda overhauled the dialogue system for Fallout 4, but liked the way how it was made to be more like an interactive cutscene that happens in live action.

I’m not about to take a side in this debate, but I personally think the question of when to use a cutscene varies dependent upon the situation and needs to be a factor of Chekhov’s Gun, as we discussed earlier, more than anything else. If it’s necessary or helps in some way, use it. If it isn’t, scrap it. Only keep what’s necessary.

Extra Credits made three excellent videos on the subject which I recommend any aspiring game writer gives a good watch. One that makes a case for the good that can be done with cutscenes, one that talks about how they are an often underutilized tool, and one that discusses why Skyrim’s opening cutscene is no bueno.

A Gameplay Narrative vs. A Narrative in a Game

Probably the most challenging thing a game’s story can ever hope to achieve is a good game narrative, and this is something that’s done by more than just a game writer. When you read a novel, the words set a scene. If you’re stuck in a sewer, the floor is wet, the smell is rancid, and the world is cramped and dark. It’s not just a location, it’s a psychological experience. As such, your game needs to be doing the same thing, and this “game narrative” of sorts should play out through every aspect of your game, be it art, writing, design, SFX, etc, and it really boils down to a much more intense version of a common point in storytelling: show, don’t tell.

In The Last of Us, the world feels bleak and hopeless, but why? It’s not just the characters, who each have their own personal struggles and hard times dealing with life after the apocalypse, shaken to their cores by their losses. No, it plays out in every aspect of the gamer’s experience.

The art was modeled after Chernobyl, so the post-apocalypse looks so real in-game because it was modeled after an actual post-apocalyptic setting. We know that there is a lack of resources because every crafting component is rare (especially on higher difficulties) and so too is ammunition. You have to be very careful and strategic about how you engage your opponents, and more importantly, you have to take the path of least resistance (which usually means stealth). The clickers are terrifying outside of their raw appearance because of their grotesque movement animations, the creepy, creepy, CREEPY clicking sound they make, and their propensity to one-shot the player if they get too close (and the player doesn’t have the shiv master perk).

So why does this matter? Well, you may not have full control over all these elements if you’re just a writer, but you need to observe and work with them. Your story needs to work with the art, the design, sound, everything. It should be a part of a nice, cohesive bundle, and if your story’s standing out too much, you’re SOL bud.

Of all the videos I’ve seen on the internet, none explain this concept more thoroughly than this one on Youtube which compares Thief: The Dark Project to it’s contemporary cousin. Definitely worth a watch.

It’s Still Storytelling

 

And finally, this is the moment we (mainly just I) have been waiting for. This is the #1 thing that gets under my skin about most of the articles I read which talk about game writing. They give your strategies on how to tell a story, but not specifically for a game. As such, I’m no better typing in “how to tell a story” in Google’s infamous search bar.

Even if you execute on all the elements above, you need to have a refined understanding of just what a good story is before you can write one. You need to be able to take feedback, to understand concepts like character motivations, believability, relatability, and plot vs. story. The sad truth of the matter is that you’re not going to learn those things by writing specifically for games.

So what do you do? Pick another medium. Try comics, screenplays, novels, or anything that’s fun. Learn the ins and outs of whatever medium you choose, experiment with it, and never let yourself fall into a comfort zone. Always push the boundaries and always keep learning. Then, when you’re done, you will not only seem like someone that a studio will seriously consider taking on, but you’ll be more than ready to tackle all of the prior elements listed above. Storytelling is it’s own skill, and a wise man once said, it’s a practiced one.

(Wow, the tone of this article shifted somewhere midway. Dunno how that happened, lol.)


Dylan Russell has worked in over 10 different creative projects and as a game writer in over 5 different fan development studios.

A Guide to Failure at Game Development

There are many among us who would wish to succeed in game development. Article after article, seminar after seminar of what you should do as a game developer, how you can succeed.A daunting task, you might say. The video game industry, already oversaturated and mired with competition, has only grown more so in recent years. From an outsider’s perspective, it might seem impossible to get in. Harrowing. Unrealistic.

So instead of that, why not try something simpler? Why not find out the things that you shouldn’t do as a game developer, how you can’t succeed? Why not, instead of win, lose every skirmish and every battle and every war that a game developer must wage? Why not, my friends, do everything you can to weigh yourself down with the anchor of failure, stranding your ship out at sea until your sailors of progress die of starvation, madness, and scurvy?

My friends, if it be failure you seek, then failure you shall have. Here lie just a handful of the steps to the path of defeat:


Build Your Army

Whether you’re making a Pong reskin or the next World of Warcraft, (you should definitely be making the latter, but more on that later,) make sure you bring on as many people as possible. How much is enough to stifle progress? There’s never enough, of course! Projects with 3-4 more members than is realistically necessary to complete a task for a particular team not only fail to get things done, but tend to bog down on the strength of your most hardened soldier’s spirit. As an aside, make sure you never pay any of them, no matter what you’re asking them to do, when you’re asking them to do it, etc. etc. etc.

Fit lazy, unskilled, and inexperienced workers up together with their foil counterparts, the hardworking, skilled, and seasoned developers, and tell them to split work equally on a task. This will not only lead to a lack of progress, but in-fighting, tension, and a loss of morale. Soon enough, people will lose their motivation and laugh at your project, thinking it as something akin to a meme and want to leave. Success!

In truth, any size will do, but if you can break the 50+ mark, or better, the 100+ mark, you’re golden. As long as you aren’t keeping it down to an absolute minimum of who you need and don’t need, and instead bumping it up to a maximum, you’re well on your way to achieving that sweet, succulent, success-void soufflé.

Promotion Before Production

Always make sure that you get to promoting your work and thinking about how you can get as many people as possible to see it before you actually worry about getting stuff done. Simply put, googling “how to pitch my game to a publisher” before googling “how to use a game engine”. This one’s much easier than the last one, as it doesn’t take nearly as much effort as going on an internet-born membership crusade, but it’s still just as effective for its ability to turn into an endless cycle that you nor anyone else on your team can ever hope to escape from. It’s so beautiful in that way, isn’t it?

Know all those social media platforms you like to go on? Youtube? Google+? Twitter? Facebook? Make sure you make a page for all of those, and more still. Put an “official” at the front of the name for each of them as, after all, you want everyone to know that you’re not an impersonator. Through those accounts, emails, or some other means of communication, talk to bigger developers that are already established. Ask them to help with or promote your work so you can only further climb the ladder of fame and feel good while you’re doing it.

In keeping with the last tip, the one about bringing on as many people as possible, know that, in a way, this tip returns in form of promotion. As a part of your growing game dev armada, make sure that many of the people you hire are either translators or representatives from various countries all over the world. Make sure your studio has a member from every country there is to be a member of. Be it Denmark, South Korea, Singapore, or Iran, your soldiers should be a part of global, growing force.

The Invisodev

Make sure you’re damn near unseen by your colleagues, spoken of only in myth and legend. Remember: motivation is key in creative projects; they have a tendency to bleed and die when you lack it. One of the best ways to bolster that motivation is to establish a sense of comradery. It helps to talk to your teammates, keep up consistent communication, and care for them not only as a fellow developer, but maybe even as a friend. <<< So make sure you don't do that.

Don’t talk with anyone on your team unless it’s work-related. A sucky developer knows that the only topics that matter are those pertaining to the game they are making, and even those topics can take a back seat to whatever they’ve got going on at the given moment. A coldly professional, but lazy demeanor should be so radioactively present that it irradiates everyone around you.

If you ever do respond to people, make sure that response comes only after the grueling wait of hours, days, and weeks. A returning response should never be immediate, and almost always delayed. The only time it should ever be immediate is if it has to do with the two most important factors to the unproductive game developer: their reputation and their level of popularity.

Master this point, and people will swear you have 101 Sneak not only in Skyrim, but in the real world too. Ninja! 

Grow Your Neckbeard

Ever had dreams and aspirations of getting in shape? Well, go ahead and kill them immediately, as they won’t serve you well here. Stop going to the gym, stop working out, and just stop going outside in general.

You’re already going to be staring at a screen for long hours as a part of your work as a game developer, so make sure you continue the trend and stay glued to that screen for as long as you possibly can. Choose one room to work and, well, live in, and rarely ever leave it. Turn off all the lights to keep it as dark as possible. Sit in a chair that makes your back hurt, then slouch. Angle your head down as far as you can and keep it held down like that; using your phone for extended periods, dependent upon the physical position you’re in, is a great way to do this. Never sleep until you pass out, eyes always fixed to something that glows.

Take on a daily diet that consists of soda, fast food, and fried everything. Fried chicken, fried cheese, and even fried butter! (It’s an actual thing, look it up.) Eat what you feel like when you feel like it, never keeping track of what you put into your mouth.

Hell, remember those Twitter and Facebook accounts you started awhile ago? Put those to extra use and start getting involved in all the political nonsense that’s going on both platforms these days. Pick a side and fight ’til the end, riling yourself up with as many unsavory feelings for the human race as you can muster before taking to the arena, armed for a flame war to end all flame wars. Get obsessed with something you have absolutely no control over and let it become your life.

Oh, and to conclude, when you’ve made a habit of all these practices, make sure that you follow your instinct. Very important. The human mind is constructed in such a way that, if you get into the habit of living a corrosive lifestyle, you will continue and continue and continue to be drawn to pursue it.

Deadlines Are The Devil

Even when you’re doing your best to follow a routine, it can still be hard to get things done in a reasonable timeframe. The setting of a goal itself guarantees the possibility of failure from the onset, which is good. However, we can amplify the effect by making sure that, instead of working off a checklist, mandate, or deadline, you work only when you’re motivated to.

Motivation is a shifting, amorphous thing. It is not SMART, (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, for which you are Responsible, and Time-Bounded,) but instead, VAPID (Vague, Amorphous, Pie in the sky, Irrelevant, and Delayed). If you begin to do things only when motivation strikes, then it will soon feel as though completion for every goal that you set is like waiting on that one high-level construction project in Clash of Clans… except the construction finishes first.

When dealing with your coworkers, make sure to tell them to only “get it done when they can” or “get it done soon”. Setting a specific time for things and holding people accountable when they fail to get things finished when they’re supposed to is a sure path to success, so be sure to be vague about when you want it done, and like a teacher that can’t stand up to their students, let all the missed assignments slide under the rug.

The Corrosive Commander

A truly corrosive project lead is essential to poisoning progress, but what makes one, you might ask? Well, there all kinds of ways to be a planet-destroying director, of course!

If some of the members of your team are slacking or putting off work, then don’t try to hold them accountable for it. Instead, gradually build upon the belief that those people aren’t going to be very helpful in the future. Do not delegate assignments to them and instead work on it yourself. Become your studio’s design team, 3D team, playtesting team, programming team, and 99% of it’s writing team, for example.

Don’t be mindful by using proper manners or executing on effective communication. Either be so grimly professional that people will never be able to approach you, or if English isn’t your first language, speak with such broken grammar that people will never be able to understand you.

When someone says they feel you could improve upon your leadership or that you aren’t doing a good job, hit them like Shepard himself likes to hit that reporter. Feedback is one of the most crucial elements to getting better in any field, and thus is not at all acceptable here. Keep it up champ, and before you know it, you’ll be cultivating a galactic harvest ripe for the Reapers.

Dream Big

Oh yes, best for last, right? This point right here, more so than all the others, is an absolute project killer. It is the star destroyer of game development, the Hercules of bodybuilders.

Remember when it was mentioned earlier that you should be trying to make the next World of WarcraftWell, instead, try to make that and six sequels afterwards. Don’t start small by trying to make a portion of a single level in Mario. Give the world it’s next Assassin’s Creed, it’s next Grand Theft Auto, etc. If it can be made in Gamemaker Studio 2, then it shouldn’t be made at all. Shoot for something like Unreal in place of it.

This shouldn’t just be a part-time group activity, but the world-changing masterpiece you live and die upon. Advanced art, graphics, animation, and music. A story that will make you weep and mechanics that will give you cause for gaming addiction. If there was ever any one thing you could do to assassinate your progress from the inside, it’s putting your ambitions before reality.


A list like this may seem depressing. It might also seem like common sense. Who would just mindlessly speak with broken English, not set deadlines, or set their scope so high that they couldn’t see it above the clouds, I can hear you asking now. The unfortunate answer is “all kinds of people”. Not a single one of those points was something I pulled out of a magic hat. None were copypastas pulled from another site. These were all things I witnessed in the dozen or so creative projects I’ve been a member of, all things that drove those projects into the ground.

In the end, the most important thing to take away from this article is that common sense isn’t common. As a part of an experiment, studies have shown that over 47% less people died in hospitals that utilized checklists for the most basic of things, like washing your hands, making sure your surgical tools are clean, etc. Imagine how much more success we could have if we simply stopped, dropped, and made sure that we were fulfilling upon all the basics in our own lives and, of course, in our creative projects.

If you really want to succeed as a game developer, than simply look to the follies and pitfalls of those who came before you, as mentioned above, and do the opposite. (Oh, and check out some of my other articles about game development. Shameless self-promotion FTW)


Dylan Russell has worked in over 10 different creative projects and as a game writer in over 5 different fan development studios.

How to Make Your First Game

For just about every gamer there is in the world, there are about a half a hundred game ideas just waiting to be tapped into. If I had a dime for every time that I’ve heard one, I think I’d be rich enough to provide every cent that Rockstar needed to make GTA 6 a reality. For many, these are just ideas, but for others, these are the beginning baby steps into a long, glorious future in game design, and we here at EnomView want nothing more than to set those beginners on the right track. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:


1. Idea & Scope

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The first part of this step is simple enough: have an idea! Was there ever a game-related passion project you wanted to start on? A concept you wanted to make into something tangible? If so, then now’s the time to take that idea and practically apply it.

The second part of this step, however, is much more tricky.

>>>Think small.<<<

While you should definitely let your imagination run wild, you have to remember that this is the first time you’ve stepped up to the plate, bat at-the-ready. You shouldn’t expect your game to sell, nor should you be trying to make something comparable to AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed, The Elder Scrolls, or Call of Duty. Instead, shoot for something like a mobile app game, or one of the more simple flash games you’d find on Kongregate or Armorgames.

If you have some sort of other talents you can use, like art or writing, then by all means, use it. However, since you’ll most likely be working on this all on your own–and again–this is your first project, you’ll want to worry first and foremost about the gameplay and mechanics, not the stylization of it all. Record a basic synopsis of that idea somewhere safe and keep that synopsis handy.

There are lots of strategies to creating good mechanics, but if you want more help with those before you start or maybe just need some inspiration, then I’m going to recommend the following links:

Snoman Gaming (Quick videos going over examples of good game design in popular indie and AAA games)

GDC (Videos of lectures given by professional designers at the Game Design Con)

Extra Credits (A channel recommended to me personally by several designers who’ve been making games for years)

2. Game On

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Play games similar to the one you want to make, but don’t just mess around, analyze them. Try to break them, exploit their faults and glitches, figure out what they did right and what they did wrong. Try to look at these games not only from the perspective of a player, but a developer, and determine why the systems put in place were chosen. Use the knowledge you’ve gained and edit the information on your recorded synopsis as necessary.

3. Pick an Engine

Things weren’t this easy at this stage back in the old days, but thankfully times have changed. It’s now possible to make something that people all over the world will fall in love with and not even have to touch the code. Every one of the engines listed below has their perks. While you can truthfully use any one that you so please, certain engines will work better for certain types of games.

Gamemaker Studio 2 – Used to make games like Death’s Gambit and Undertale, Gamemaker Studio 2 is really the best all-around choice here. Platformers, RPGs, general flash games, and even 3D games can be made with GMS2. (Tutorial playlist links)

Gamesalad – Generally used for mobile app games, it’s not uncommon to see a featured download on the App Store that was made with Gamesalad. For games made to be played on a phone or tablet, Gamesalad’s where you’ll want to go. (Part 1 of Tutorial Videos)

RPG Maker – If you like old school RPGs, then you’ll love RPG Maker. If you’re making a game like The Legend of Zelda or Pokemon, then go ahead and use this one. (Tutorial Playlist) 

Unity  – Used to make 3D games like Kerbal Space Program, Rust, and Battlestar Galactica Online, Unity’s the first choice of several indie developers. It will unfortunately be the hardest on this list, and is usually only used for games with 3D models, but it should not by any means be dismissed. (Part 1 of Tutorial Videos) 

Once you’ve decided upon one such engine, play around with it. Use one of the tutorials linked above and get a feel for what you can and can’t do. Then, when you’ve got a basic feel for it…

4. Give it a Go

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Try and make it happen!

Set about with an idea that won’t take you any longer than a month, then give yourself half a months time longer to account for production errors. If you go over that month and a half-long timeframe, then it may be best to take a step back, figure out what you did wrong, and start again with something new. It’s far too easy to fall into a forever-unending development cycle, and you want to make sure that you finish your work.

When you’re done, ask a few people you know to play it, and collect feedback. Apply that feedback and make changes as necessary.

“And what about when I’m done? What do I do then?”

Start right over from the beginning, my friend, and keep making games over and over again until everyone you know is begging to play your latest release. And then, once you’ve reached that point, keep on going.


Looking for more articles like this? Check out our Game Development is Not Easy article!

It’s Not All Fun & Games – Game Development

“I want to be a game developer!” 15-year-old Timmy proclaimed triumphantly, planting a foot down and standing proudly to let the world know that he’d be the greatest dev there ever was.

A game developer you say? You wish to make games for a living? I should warn you, Timmy, that development at any level, from the little league modders to the world champ triple-A’s, is a notoriously grueling process; it is oftentimes a fight on multiple fronts.

“I don’t care!” shouts Timmy stubbornly. “I have been playing video games all my life. I love them more than anything and want to make them for a living.”

Well Timmy, that’s admirable, but know that many a Timmy before you have worn this path down beyond reason with the weathering of their own gruesome treks.

If you still want to be a game dev, Timmy, then here are some things to consider:


  1. Nobody cares about your unique idea.
  • Do not expect to get into a dev studio simply because you have an interesting idea for a game. As is often said, there is no room for a specialized “idea guy” in the video game industry. Everyone in a game development studio is an idea guy in their own right. They just have skills which allow them to make those ideas into a reality through some kind of creative medium. Which leads to our next point…

2. You need to have an actual skill.

There are a lot of disciplines to choose from, but you need to be good at one of them. Can you write a gripping story with few words that won’t be made into a victim of the game’s mechanics? Figure your way around a string of code? Model and animate cool characters, items, and worlds? Write a complete GDD with a feasible scope and make it into something with an engine like Unity or Game Maker Studio 2? If not, now’s the time to start learning. You don’t have to be the greatest, but you should be able to make yourself marketable.

“But I could be a playtester, couldn’t I? I could be someone who plays the games and gives feedback to the designers! It’d be just like what I did in my childhood.” Timmy said, giddy as ever.

Well, you can be a playtester, Timmy. Just know that you’ll be playing the same level over and over again until your eyes grow red and watery, and that you’ll only be searching for bugs; generally speaking, no feedback will be given to the designers. Oh, and the programmers will hate you.

3. You have to be good in teams.

Get ready to work with people you love and people you hate. Get ready to watch your precious ideas get shot down in broad daylight and left to bleed out by your cheery-faced team lead or project director. There are always people like Toby Fox, but it’s rare that anything quality ever gets made if it’s not a part of a collaborative effort. Professionalism, good character, and cooperation is paramount–just like in other fields.

4. Hurry up and wait.

It took over 100 developers roughly 4 years to make Skyrim. Development takes time–a LOT of time–and not just on the programmers’ ends. Get ready to stare at a screen for 12 hours straight and work well into the night–toiling away on a computer in some dark corner in the back of the room.

“I thought it was only the playtesters that had to worry about their eyes,” Timmy said, distraught.

If only that were true, Timmy. If only that were true.

5. It helps to know about game design.

There’s a reason why aspiring developers can take college courses on this stuff. While a sound engineer or a concept artist doesn’t need to know as much about a game narrative as the head designer, a knowledge of psychology behind games will do wonders for you as a dev. Whether it’s about keeping players glued to their screens like Valve has done for years with Team Fortress 2, or forcing out a ragequit like in Cat Mario, being able to dissect a game for its finer components helps–no matter what area you work in on a development team.

6. You need to be able to speak English.

This isn’t a problem for all, but a grasp of the English language will serve you well here. As time progresses, English grows increasingly mandatory in many fields in the mysterious realms of not-game development. If your career as a dev doesn’t work out, then be happy knowing that you’ll still have this universally marketable skill.

“I still want to be a game developer though!” Timmy cried, a fire in his eyes. “Games are my passion!”

Well, Timmy–stubborn or determined–know that I’m not here to (entirely) crush your dreams, because…

7. If you really want to develop video games, then you should totally go for it.

Just make sure you’re realistic. Don’t expect to make a living off of it and don’t expect all your plans to succeed. Start small, look to those of experience, and practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re a modder, a fan dev, or a blockbuster triple-A, you’re bound to have your ups and downs, just like you would at any other job. A life of game development is as equally rewarding as it is a life of hardship. If this is really what you want to do and you feel you’ve got the skills for it, then get out there and make it happen.

As a wise friend of mine liked to say: “Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you. Kick opportunity’s door down and fucking kidnap him.”

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Upcoming Indie Games on Steam

With triple-A titles dominating the market, it’s easy to forget those creative self-startup devs, sealed in their basements with starry eyes and brimming bouts of hope, ready to entertain the online world with innovative design, art, and stories. Here are three games that the folks at Enomview feel you should keep a careful eye on in the near future.

Tunic

 

Playing as a minute little fox, players will find a world with creepy ruins, ancient monsters, and a harrowing, but cute, environment to traipse around in. With modern graphics, sound design, and animation, Tunic plays a lot like a revamped version of just the franchise that Shouldice was inspired by…

…and that–my friends–is a very, very good thing.

We Happy Few

 

 

Combining a cheery, but fittingly unsettling, cartoony art style with story, We Happy Few is a survival horror game developed by Compulsion Games. Initially set to release on July 26th, 2016, We Happy Few has been in early access for some time now, but the neverending dev cycle should come to close soon in 2018.

Under the influence of corrupt, government overseers, the game tells the story of a small, British society that’s been under the influence of decades-long propaganda, informing its citizens to always remain under the influence of the elusive, pink drug: “joy”. Joy can be found not only in the form of a daily pill, but in the food, the water, and just about everything that a person can consume in this messed up little realm.

Told through the perspective of three different characters that decide to stop taking the drug and rebel–giving us the chance to see the effects of science run amok in the scope of fully open world to explore.

Best of luck–and remember–don’t forget to take your joy.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

 

 

Skyrim with realism and so much more–Kingdom Come: Deliverance lives up to its name as the holy salvation to fans of medieval games everywhere. Brought to us by the Czechian Warhorse Studios, we’re set to see this title release in early February of this year.

With a first-person, 16 square kilometer-wide open world, Kingdom Come: Deliverance comes packed with a myriad of things for the player to engross himself in. Craft items, level skills, make weighted decisions to complete quests, combine alchemical ingredients to make something new, ride horses, take part in large-scale, 15th-century battles, and kick back to a story that’ll be sung in beer halls and taverns all over Europe for time immemorial.

Answer the knight’s call. Give thy sword for land and lord.

(This game was also mentioned in our Top 10 Indie Games to Look Out for in 2018)

Top 10 Indie Games to Look Out for in 2018

Another year alive on this Earth equates to nothing but another year of gooey, gaming goodness. 2017 brought us Dead Cells, Getting Over It, Oxygen Not Included, Cuphead–too much succulent indie epicness to cram into a single paragraph in some internet article. But with the new year comes a new batch o’ games, and the creatives of the indie world just will not quit. Here are 10 upcoming titles to keep a careful watch for in 2018.

 

10. Light Fall

A fast-paced platformer with an even faster, zippity player character–Light Fall is a game that’ll have you jumping, bouncing across walls, activating cool, space-themed objects, and dodging obstacles to progress.

Already gathering praise and critical acclaim from several other indie articles and groups, Light Fall and its intergalactic art style is a surefire bet for games that’ll impress in the following year.

 

9. Below

A myriad of intricate sound design and a dark atmosphere, Below is set to be one of the indie gaming world’s many artistic masterpieces.

With RPG-inspired mechanics, each progressive level sees the main character exploring underground environs and combating colorful foes as he moves down, down, and down ever deeper–trying ever so hard to show the player what lies at the lowest recesses of the screen.

8. Death’s Gambit

“Dark Souls in 2D.” That’s the description most people will use to describe it… and they’re far from being wrong. Adult Swim is back at it again, and they certainly don’t intend to disappoint.

A dark fantasy setting, hulking foes that stand twice, sometimes triple your height, a brutal challenge that’ll send the casuals into a fit of ragequitting, and the devoted into a satisfactory light of glory–Death’s Gambit will not be a game to miss come next year.

7. Fight Knight

Of all the games on this list, this one’s sure to pack a punch. Several, in fact. Playing in the first person–and hearkening back to the days of The Elder Scrolls: ArenaFight Knight is a game that’d make Rocky proud.

A dungeon crawler at its heart, this game humorously has the player activating every NPC and killing every monster with fists and fists alone. Abandon your spells. Your swords. Your bows. Embrace the only weapon man was ever meant to wield.

6. The Last Night

Never before have we seen a title embrace the words “dynamic” and “cinematic” quite like The Last Night does. Set to the backdrop of a cyberpunk world, The Last Night is technically a platformer, but that doesn’t really describe the experience so well.

With a camera that floats and hovers just about as frequently as the characters’ expressive animations change, The Last Night was cited as one of the best looking games at E3 by far.

5. Fe

Glide through the air, climb up trees, dig your way across, or simply frolic through the dark, crystalline Nordic forest that’s brought to the table in Fe.

With a focus on its ecosystem, Fe is a strictly 3D game that presents us with a life-like world filled with soul. Discover that ecosystems many secrets, solve its side quests, and make contact with brilliant, mystical creatures–playing as one such being of your own.

4. Ashen

Are you one who craves expansive, open worlds? Is your childhood filled with memories of exemplifications of freedom like The Elder ScrollsFallout, Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft? Look no further, for Ashen has just the cure to soothe your weary bones, traveler.

With stamina-based combat, a drop in, drop out multiplayer mechanic, and a world that doesn’t bind you down with its chains, Ashen is a roleplay-friendly title that’s just begging for you to get immersed.

3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

A game that looks so good, it’s literally too hard to believe at times, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a popular sequel to the critically-acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest.

A metroidvania action platformer, this game doesn’t just stun you, it dazzles you with its ever-changing atmosphere, creative foes, and visual storytelling-based narrative. Backed by Microsoft, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is sure to be an interesting title indeed.

2. Praey for the Gods

Enjoyed battling the pantagruelian titans we saw in Shadow of the Colossus? If so, Praey for the Gods is just the game to look out for in 2018. As a member of a winter-y, wasting world, your job is to journey through this snowbound realm and uncover just what lies at the source of its slow, inevitable death.

A survival-based action-adventure game, you start with nothing but the clothes on your back. A lone wanderer in this dangerous abyss, your only hope of staying alive is to smite the very deities that you worship.

1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

To all those who cried for a realism-based, historically-accurate, story-driven, medieval RPG, cry no more–for Kingdom Come: Deliverance is here to answer the call!

Cemented within the once real-world setting of the feudalism-based Holy Roman Empire, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has had medieval martial artists and historians alike drooling with its effective portrayal of life in these olden days. Gone are magic and spells; this is an age of smiths and swords!

Stay tuned as we tackle these games and many more! Check out our top 10 picks for best indie games in 2017!

10 Best Indie Games to Buy – Steam Winter Sale

  1. Rain World

Very few games will make you scream “EVERYTHING WANTS TO EAT ME!” faster than Rain World. Curiously brought to us by Adult Swim, like Robot Unicorn Attack, Rain World is a challenging game that scores a lot of points for its artistic atmosphere and visuals.

Using your slug-shaped cat player-character, you navigate through the ruins of a dark, broken world–utilizing gameplay mechanics which include elements of shoot-em-ups, stealth, and even survival to surpass challenges and battle the various monsters that try to undo your efforts every step of the way. This game may prove alien for a few, but it’s hard to deny that–between the art and the animations–this is one of the best-looking 2D games on the market.

  1. Antichamber

Come one, come all to those with creative minds, a willingness to learn, and patient, patient souls. In this, the player moves from chamber to chamber–room to room–in an attempt to solve first-person puzzles to progress.

While it may get a little too well-acquainted with this games stylized art approach, Antichamber’s game designers clearly had originality in mind–and their game will get your critical thinking juices flowing any day.

  1. Stick Fight: The Game

Fun, fun, fun! Stick Fight sure is filled with it when you’ve got friends to play with and a solid internet connection. Shoot. Stab. Punch. Do all of these things and more with your doodle-based posse.

This game is great because it not only offers an entertaining experience but has the propensity to really make you laugh, too. From the shared shenanigans of you and your comrades to the squirmy animations that make your character models look like two-dimensional Totally Accurate Battle Simulator units on 2x speed, you’re sure to have a blast.

  1. Dungeon of the Endless

Not everyone likes the sound of a tower defense, but the RPG elements intertwined within Dungeon of the Endless have a way of pulling you in. As the member of the crew that fell victim to a crash landing, your goal is to go deeper. Deeper. And deeper into the depths of a strange dungeon–as implied by the name.

While this game is definitely a tower defense, expect to feel like you’re also sometimes playing a top-down dungeon crawler like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. Advance through every floor and find out if it ever truly ends.

  1. Don’t Starve

The game may be called “Don’t Starve”, but there are a lot more ways to die than pure starvation in this colorful, but bleak little world. Playing as a scientist, your job is–fittingly–to experiment with your surroundings to learn best how to survive.

Just about everything you encounter will beg the hopeful question of “Can this help me survive?” and the not-so-hopeful question of “Will messing with this get me killed?” A grimdark naturalist will be forever at home here.

  1. Dead Cells

Very few rogue-lite, Metroidvania, action platformers hit the nail on the head like does Dead Cells. Controlling a character without a head, you battle through and delve across a perilous castle with enemies galore.

There are no repeats in this game. No saves. No respawns. No checkpoints. To quote the description on Steam: “Kill, die, learn, repeat.” Though that description leaves out the key difference that you always keep all your upgrades–unlike other games in this genre. If you want a real challenge that’ll leave you feeling like a champion after your first playthrough, then this is the game for you.

We mentioned this game in our Top 10 Indie Games of 2017 article, which you can check out here.

  1. Starbound

Teleport down from your own personal spaceship to worlds unknown–exploring rich environments, fighting challenging foes, and learning interesting backstories. Starbound is a proper exemplification of the Terraria formula done right.

Break digital blocks. Wander into caves. Scavenge for resources. Then–finally–craft it all into brilliant items. And the cherry on top? Adding friends to the mix. Much like Minecraft with its procedurally-generated worlds and biomes, the amount of fun to be had here is truly infinite–to say nothing of the interesting stories accompanying each intergalactic race.

  1. Plague Inc. Evolved

Ever wanted to create the perfect disease and destroy all of humanity with it? No? Well, now’s your chance, as that’s exactly what Plague Inc. Evolved allows you to do! Starting with patient zero, you level up with infection and upgrade your pathogen through various skill trees which unlock different abilities with different benefits and consequences–dependent upon the situation.

Spread the pandemic. Infect every continent with your illness. Shatter the world with your pitiless plague.

  1. Oxygen Not Included

Build a subterranean colony, deep from the under earth, that provides for every need and desire. Every need except for one: oxygen. Catering to colonists with different traits that cause different effects, Oxygen Not Included is all about a struggle to keep them alive.

This game will have you constantly searching for pockets filled to the brim with water, food, oxygen, hydrogen–you name it. Made by the developers of Don’t Starve, this is one of the first games I’ve ever seen that brings a smile to my face with its randomly generated worlds–always providing for a different experience every playthrough.

We also mentioned this game in our Top 10 Indie Games of 2017 article, which you can check out here.

  1. Terraria

A model of sandbox design for many game developers, Terraria is a must-have for all those who’d call themselves adventurers and creative.

Terraria has what many call the “16-bit sidescroller take” on Minecraft’s expansive formula. And just like Minecraft, the amount of stuff to be done is truly boundless. From the dungeons you explore to the pixelated enemies you fight, there’s always something to occupy yourself with here. Just like the holes you dig, things only deepen as you progress.