Plan for 2015? A Space Game and a Toilet Game

I will release two games this year.

Toilet Game

There is a specific genre of games. The games that you take when you go to the toilet for a longer sitting. I call these games toilet games – in a positive way.

I will make a simple mobile game for Android controlled by a single finger tapping or pressing. Think “Flappy Bird”, “Jetpack Joyride”, “One More Line”, “Stick Hero” or any game that you can play when you’re riding a crowded tram. These is the only limitation I’m putting on myself when designing this game.

The goal of this exercise for me is to experiment with a number of mechanics, tweak them and adjust so that they feel fun and balanced. Eventually, I expect I will be able to distill some fun from the mechanic, and clean up the game by removing all the parts that are not necessary to support that single mechanic. I want to create a responsive game with short game sessions, that you can as easily pick up or put down.

I will release this toilet game as soon as I find a fun mechanic to play with and will juice it up.

Space Game

I will make a two-dimensional real-time exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination game. This play on words is intentional, as it brings the 4X genre into vision, but it’s definitely not going to be a strategy game. I am thinking about creating a lone wolf experience – a solo spaceship pilot on his quest to become famous for… whatever he would discover in the universe, whatever he would build or find there or whoever would he kill.

This kind of twist on the 4X genre set in space is something I always wanted to do – to remove the role of the overseer that the Player takes from the word go, but instead have the role of a pawn, slowly building his power to become the overseer, while not detaching from the minutiae and the mundane.

This space game is going to be influenced heavily by the “Elite” series, especially the latest instalment of that series: “Elite: Dangerous” which I’m a proud Kickstarter backer of. Another space game that I will drive inspiration from is “SPAZ – Space Pirates and Zombies”. I have enjoyed both of these games for countless hours, hoarding the virtual credits and resources, building more and more power to explore further, expand confidently, exploit effectively and exterminate once and for all.

There is yet another inspiration for this space game: “EVE Online” which I played for a couple of years. And this one is a very personal challenge for me, because I would like to create a multiplayer game, definitely not of the scale of “EVE”, but at least of a scale that makes sense for a group of friends to work together on something larger than themselves and to compete (or ally) with other groups.

The personal challenge here is – I am almost clueless when it comes to programming games with networked support more complex than Tic-Tac-Toe. This is going to be a huge learning experience for me, and if you have any hints to offer, I would appreciate them greatly.

I will release this game as an early access version with as many features I manage to complete by the end of this year.

Writing the mandatory “Hello, World”

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.
Blaise Pascal

I realized this post didn’t use an image, and that images are worth a thousand words, so here’s the picture I took of my main tool when working on this blog.

keyboard

This will be a blog about my game development, software development, games I play and games I like, a bit about life and my job.

Why I decided, against all reason, to blog again? As one of my new year’s resolutions I’ve decided to learn how to write well – email, blog posts, specifications, tutorials or even product descriptions.

To write is to communicate

The ability to communicate is one of the greatest skills you can learn, and you will benefit from it your whole life. For me, the ability to communicate well in writing is very important, because for the past 7.5 years I’ve been working with remote software development teams in a number of companies. I have found that writing takes the bulk of my time, and I don’t mean writing code which would be expected from software developers. I mean communicating with my team, my boss, business analysts, product managers – and making sure that everyone is on the same page and everyone understands what needs to be done. This is true not only in software development, but in any venture that requires more than just you to participate. This is even truer when you work with a team dispersed around the globe and often you can’t communicate in real time. This is becoming more and more true in the world we live in – the world that doesn’t require us to share the same physical space and yet allows us to work together.

Inspired by “Remote: Office Not Required” by Heinemeier Hansson (very captivating and enlightening), I bought a book about writing he recommends: “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. I haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m hoping that in a year’s time, I will come back to this very blog post and will appreciate how much I learned about writing.