Prototyping

I don’t think I’ve ever made a game. It’s something that makes me feel like a fraud when I see real video game developers. I mean, sure, I made Garry’s Mod and it got huge, but it’s not strictly a game. It’s a sandbox. It’s a collection of tools.

One of my biggest issues is trying to see a move in front. The logic that by working on something else I’ll make it easier when I come to create properly. This worked in my advantage with GMod, because my “two moved in front” was to implement Lua – which opened up the door for it to be modded so greatly.

For the last few years it’s been a bit of a disability. Libraries, wrappers, websites, editor tools – it’s been a long distraction from the job of making games. I can’t even remember the last time I tried to make a something playable.

I do a ~30 min drive to and from the office every day. Have done for just over a year now. So I listen to a lot of podcasts. They make me pretty contemplative. How we spend our lives, are we wasting our time, should I be sitting on a beach somewhere. It makes me realise that enjoying the time you spend creating something is as important, if not more important than the creation.

So late last year I decided I’m gonna spend more time prototyping. Smaller, contained projects. Not writing tools, not writing reusable components, not getting sucked into huge projects. But writing games. Manageable, finishable, polishable games. Less of a programmer and more of a game developer.

And so far I’ve been having lots of fun. It feels good.

7 thoughts on “Prototyping

  1. Absolutely Garry, working on something simple and finishing it is fun. Starting a project with a massive scope is daunting and often pointless, prototyping is a lot of fun and can lead to some interesting projects.

  2. It was an interesting retrospective to read this. I’m currently a student aiming to be a gameplay programmer or tools programmer upon graduating next year. I’m not all that interested at the moment in making my own games. I want to get better at the skills used to make them and enjoy the journey for what it is. Perhaps getting sucked into huge projects or otherwise for now. Then much later in the future when I feel confidence in what I know, who I know, and what I can do would I look towards making my own creations. The journey you’ve trodden isn’t at all alien to what I’m trying to do and I couldn’t help but find a sense of irony in that.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Hope to see something cool a.k.a ‘Garry’s Game’.

  3. Brilliant! Remember even trying to replicate other games for practice is ok! At the moment me and my friends are making an inspired Dishonoured game (I’d say more replicating it) and was able to copy the Blink ability and have stumbled upon AI… now that is some work :|. Please show off some of your Prototypes would love to see your own projects to the scale of mine…

  4. While it makes me sound like I have poor focus, I like having 2-3 projects at once, in terms of seriousness. There’s THE ONE PRIMARY PROJECT. The secondary project is a goofy prototype. When there’s a third project, it’s usually a fever-dream scale project that I finish in <16 hours.
    In the 2nd and 3rd projects, I get to try out all sorts of alternate workflows/version control/libraries that I can't risk disrupting the main project with. If the alternate approached I tried is good, I start using it in the main project. If it's bad, or not right for the main project at the time, I don't have to use it, and also don't want any time on half-implementing it, or the feeling of FOMO that maybe it was right for the main project.

    Prototyping should be a regular thing for everyone.

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