First Post

On Sunday, December 3, I watched Indie Game: The Movie. I stumbled upon the movie the day before when my wife and I were trying to find a good documentary to watch. I knew Meg wouldn’t be interested in the subject, so I made a note to check it out later.

I have been playing video games since a young age, starting with my first system, the Super Nintendo. There were plenty of periods of time where I didn’t play much, but as I settled into my career and my adult life, I turned back to playing video games more. Video games, reading, and writing are three of my favorite pastimes.

I enjoy my job, the organization I work for, and all of the people I work with, but doing roughly the same thing for the past four years has made my day-to-day a bit stale. After watching Indie Game: The Movie, I thought wow, that looks exciting. I turned to Reddit, which is pretty much where I always turn when I have questions on a subject, and stumbled on /r/gamedev. This led me to download Stencyl so I could start tinkering with the idea of making a game.

I don’t have any real coding experience. I was alright with HTML (I know not code, markup language) and CSS, and eventually played with Swift for a while. I knew some basics – loops, conditionals, creating variables, etc., – but I was in no way ready to just dive into anything. I have a ton of game ideas – from simple platformers to complex RPGs — stowed in my head, so I wanted to just play.

I enjoyed learning Swift. The only reason I stopped learning the language was that in order to get better, I knew I needed to start working on apps, and I was at a loss for ideas. At least with games, I had ideas for things I wanted to try. Also, it seems like a nice creative outlet. I like writing, but sometimes the lack of visuals makes the medium underwhelming for me.

I’ve been using Stencyl for a little over a week now. I went through both of the Crash Courses on the Stencyl website and completed the challenges at the end of the second course; I also completed most of a Youtube tutorial on creating a platform game. Despite being engaged, I found myself annoyed by the visual editor. It was just so slow to drag and drop!

Today, I started tinkering with the idea of jumping into Unity and buying a course from Udemy on the subject. My initial plan was to spend a few weeks with Stencyl to learn basic game concepts then dive into Unity, but I feel I would benefit more from jumping into Unity now.

I suppose the hardest part is realizing that I have no idea, really, where to start. I’m a reasonably intelligent person though, so I think I can figure out a trajectory. I think next step is to look at syllabus from Game Development programs to see if I can craft a learning plan.

More to come.

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