I’ve just experienced something so strange to me that I want to share it with everyone.
I’m a programmer, I enjoy making games. I am not perfect at it and the games I make I can always improve. It’s the making the game that i find fun and that I can actually create something that works.
So what happened?
A while ago I was entering Ludum Dare (48 hour game development competition), I made my first game “I’m Where”. That was incredible for me as it was my first completed game and that is was released to the public was even better. Fortunately, the people I showed it to liked it! There was problems, but that was expected from a beginner and also from 48 hours.
So because of that I went on to enter the next competition, I chose to do a game of the same style as before (top-down, pixel art, thing), and I tried to make it bigger and more interesting.
The game mechanics were mostly the same, you could open doors, press switches, read signs, move stones, use keys, etc. But I got that out of the way first and then I went on to level design and created about 20 different levels and each one I designed from scratch.
I enjoyed making every part of this game, and i also got some good comments and feedback like my first entry. This was amazing.
Now the strange part
Now it’s about a year after I made the games (I have had one more entry but nothing special). I was sitting in the living room with my brother (15) and my sister (21), we all have MacBooks so we were having fun with AirDrop and seeing what we could send to each other.
While in Finder, I found a compiled .app of my second entry “Tinius Worldifica”, so straight away I said “See if this works, it’s something I made”.
I then carried on my usual internet activities, probably watching videos or scouring social networks. And I turned round and both of them were playing my game!
It was the strangest feeling ever.
I found it odd at first that they wanted to play it as it was just a test for AirDrop, and at best they might open and close it. This was about 10 minutes in, my sister was stuck right into it and I could tell she was thinking about the puzzle and how to complete that level.
Although I have had comments about the games I make, I have never seen anyone play them and it is incredible and it is something I heavily encourage.
I asked her why she was still playing it, she replied “It’s addicting!”. So I then watched her play the rest of the levels and eventually she gave up but this was really far in the game and that was good enough for me.
But what the thing I couldn’t get my head around was this – When I play a game I created all I see is the code for each function, each object and how they interact. I also see each tile map as individual .pngs and it feels like a big jumble of information, with loads of possible improvements.
But if you don’t have a part in developing the game and you don’t see what went into it, you have an entirely different mindset. They saw it as a finished game, something ready for anyone to just open and play.
I can’t emphasise this enough, watching someone interact with a product you have put effort into (Only 48 hours I know, but it was a straight 48 hours work), is the most amazing awesome and fascinating experience you can have.
So if you have every created something, share it! And try to be there when they use it, you’ll be amazed.