29 Apr 2015
A Few Thoughts on Game Development
One day, before I went to sleep, my wife suggested I try some eye drops, and I agreed. But the eye drops were too strong and made my eyes really hurt, and then our conversation started.
“Just now I was thinking about developing a mini-game in which you play as an eye drop, and you need to control it to run through the surface of a man’s eyeball within 1 minute. However, if you run too fast, the man will a pain in his eye and swing you out, and you will be failed.”
“Maybe instead of just one mini-game, we could expand it to a daily-life game series. For example, you need to buy breakfast for you and your husband, and every time there will be some middle-aged women trying to jump the queue. You play as the wife, and you have to slap those queue-jumping women. As the game progresses, the difficulty raises and you’ll move from Japan to Italy, and then to Shanghai, China, where even more middle-aged queue jumpers await you.”
“Another addition to the Everyday Life Game Series could be like…you are enjoying an intimate moment with your wife after dinner, when suddenly you feel a cramp, putting you into an embarrassing situation. You don’t want to let her down, but every move you make will intensify the pain. You’ll need a balanced strategy to help both parties reach the desired conclusion while mitigating the pain from your side stitch.
“After that, they may feel like sleeping. An annoying dog upstairs keeps barking and makes it difficult to fall asleep, but the player has a flashlight at hand. You need to use your left hand to control the husband, and right hand for the wife, and combine their shadows into some sort of monstrosity, scaring the dog to death.”
Maybe the Humane Society would boycott a game like this, if it were ever to be developed. If I were a software engineer and my wife were an art designer, we could really develop this game and earn nothing from it. It sounds meaningless to develop such a deviant game, but making a game based on these ridiculous ideas sounds really fun to me.
Of course, as an insider in the game industry, I know the process of game development is completely different. Concept design, coding, software development kit (SDK) input, monetization, server testing…every step seems in perfect order. It’s highly efficient, just as how some food material goes into a factory, and after a series of standard processes, it becomes a standard fast-food burger you can eat every day. No one can deny the success of these restaurants, and their burgers are not bad. But from the depths of your soul, you know that is definitely not a real burger.
I’m not sure know what Markus Persson was thinking when he was developing Minecraft, but obviously it was not “where can I insert monetization?”, “which kind of SDK do I need to input?” or “how can I design this game to ensure people get addicted to it? “. If he had spent a lot of time on those aspects, we’d never have gotten Minecraft the way it currently exists. Maybe his motivation was much simpler: making a game I want to play.
Not all dream builders are as successful as Markus Persson. There are certainly a number of developers making their own games who still remain unnoticed. Even the really good games I’ve seen at the Independent Game Festival may not be able to make as much money as the more commonly seen commercial games with run-of-the-mill storylines.
Earlier, a few of us were joking about developing a games based on silly versions of our current Fedeen lineup: “Elemental Dumplings”, “Forsaken Worm” or “Jungle Fools,” full of weird ideas. To me, these weird ideas may be even more interesting than the next AAA title that jumps over to mobile.
When more games begin with silliness and are developed with honesty, it’ll truly be a great era for all gamers.