• Who wants to be a Games Developer?

    So I spent five minutes at the end of work trying to decide if I should take my laptop home again and if I do whether it would just sit in my bag overnight as usual or will I actually use it. I always have the intention to hook it up to my home office (which in reality is just a computer desk in my bedroom)  but too often I get distracted by Netflix, Facebook and my tablet to actually get around to coding, and when I do get in the mood it’s often too late to do anything except go to bed to avoid being grumpy at work the next morning.

    But tonight I have taken it out of the bag, hooked it up and started coding, because that’s what I want to do.

    Well honestly I set it up, played some Marvel Puzzle Quest on the iPad, checked Facebook and tried to copy up some old music to play. But the intention is there. Once I finish updating this Blog and nip out to the shops and get dinner.

    When I have such low willpower I often wonder whether I want to be a games developer or not? If I truly wanted it would I be trying to code whenever I get a chance. After all, when I put my mind to it I do enjoy it. I’m just not very good at following through.

    I guess it’s what I want to do because that’s what I’m thinking about. When I’m in meetings at work. When I’m playing other games. When I’m cycling. When I’m trying to sleep. Especially when I’m trying to sleep. I come up with ideas, and mechanics, and really cool tricks to get certain effects and solve interesting problems even if I don’t know how to actually code the solutions I come up with.

    It’s been going on for years. I first started coding games on the ZX Spectrum out of magazines and 30 years later I still want to develop games. I just haven’t gotten around to learning how yet. To be honest that’s probably not quite true. I’ve spent a few years learning code, getting disheartened, forgetting how to code, learn to code another language, forgetting how to code that, etc. etc.  I think the problem is I get ideas of what I want to produce in my head and all the tutorials are read never take me anywhere near to where I want to be.

    But recently I’ve decided to take on Unity. After a year learning Javascript at Codecademy and running into the same issues I’ve jumped straight into Unity where at least I can see progress easily, not have to worry about getting game-engines to work and have loads of really useful tutorials at my fingertips.

    I still haven’t written a game yet.

    One of the best pieces of advice I have seen for writers is response to the question “How do I become a writer?”. The answer, of course, is “Write a book.”

    [I’ve just fired up Hearthstone while typing this. Typical. Back in a minute.]

    Some other advice I had from a friend of mine who wanted to be a writer was to meet more writers. He started going writing meets and when he started he felt like a fraud, as though he was working at his craft he hadn’t published anything at that time. He is now published but part of him still thinks he’s a fraud. Since starting to follow lots of authors on twitter I’ve heard this feeling never truly goes away.

    So I’ve started to follow some of this advice but it’s hard. I’ve started going to Indie dev meets, reading blogs and following devs on twitter but I still feel like a fraud. I guess it doesn’t help that I live in a town with several successful development studios and count several professional developers amongst my friends. I want to do this by myself and don’t want them pester them for constant advice and help as I know how irritating it is from my line of work. I also don’t want them to laugh at my code, which no doubt looks like a child’s scribble compared to picasso. (I’m sure they won’t really).

    Well this has gone off the rails a bit and a bit dark, so how about some of the more positive points. Why do I still think I can do this?

    Well a big one is that I still haven’t seen a lot of my ideas out there in the market. So I like to think they are new and unique. Kevin Smith once said that the only audience you should make films for is yourself. Because if you like it there’s sure to be some other weirdos who like it too. Or something like that.

    Another is that often I get stuck on the most basic things. Well at least to me they are basic ideas. I am always surprised when trawling through hours and pages of tutorials that it appears that no-one has had these ideas before or is trying to make the same thing. Unfortunately this leads into one of my biggest fears when asking for help. I’m not the fastest coder so I’m frightened that if I do explain my new idea to someone they could knock up a full working prototype in a weekend and take the credit for it while I’m still struggling. Not very trusting but I never said these weren’t irrational fears. Oops. Negative again.

    So what can I do about it? Taking some advice I’ve seen, I’m going to put my current project to one side and create a game this weekend. On Monday I will post it on here for people to play.

    At least then I can say that I have written a game. 🙂



  • Indie Meet

    So last night I went to my 3rd local Indie developers meet. I say my third but really it was my second as I didn’t talk to anyone last time, or my first as I really didn’t know what I was doing the first time a couple of months ago.

    First off, everyone was really nice and welcoming and very helpful with my questions. I did hit one of the nightmare scenarios when someone checked my code, mentioned I was doing it wrong and suggested I used loads of methods I hadn’t even come across yet. 🙁

    I know he was helping and my code wasn’t perfect but it was still something I was worried about.

    At least my ideas still sound new and looking on the bright side I now have something new to study.


    Still looking forward to next week.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2

    I had a bit more to say about this as well…

    • Hollywood have hit a new low with trailers. Not only included final shot but most was from third movie.
    • The film was about ten minutes too long, with a coda that did nothing for film, except set up the next film.
    • Not that the film was that good. Written by committee. Pacing was off and it didn’t really care about any character. Unoriginal.
    • The sound design was quite good though.
    • Dear Hollywood. Please quit it with throwing and flipping cars. It’s really getting quite boring now.
    • After seeing Amazing Spiderman 2 can we just cancel the thought of any sequel now.
    • Dane DeHaan has a voice I want to punch.

  • Bums on Seats Podcast – 12th April 2014

    This week’s show features four men who find themselves in impossible situations. Jesse Eisenberg struggles with a more charismatic doppelgänger in The Double whilst punchdrunk policeman Rama goes up against the whole Jakarta underworld in The Raid 2: Berandal. Meanwhile Brendon Gleeson has a crisis of faith in Calvary and Russell Crowe’s has his faith test by the watery apocalypse of Noah. Plus we’ll have an interview with Nigerian born film director Biyi Bandele, whose adaptation of the best selling Half A Yellow Sun opens at the Arts Picturehouse this weekend.

    Toby Miller is host, alongside regular reviewers Sarah McIntosh, Simon West, Stef Smith and Owen Baker



  • Why are we here?

    It’s mainly going to be an archive of other social media activity – to give pieces an independent anchor.

    I won’t be blogging day to day, but this is somewhere I can post longer thoughts and further conversation.

    A personal page that collates my thoughts from across the internet.

    Something to give permanence to twitter and seriousness to facebook.

    A record of me.