Honestly, I think 2018 is the year that I’ve set the most ambitiously high standards for myself. Too much hay on the fork, as they would describe it here. I’ve described those goals in the New Year’s post and almost immediately after uploading the post I’ve received texts from friends and family, most of them expressing either their concerns or their laughs for putting so many and such high time-consuming standards. Perhaps they’re right. Actually, they’re probably right, as they always are. Developing one game and four half-hour educational video’s while learning new skills like game art or 3D modeling in my spare time every month while having no didactic or video editing skills is perhaps a bit of a longshot. Still, against all odds, I’ve managed to survive the first month without my girlfriend breaking up with me ánd while being able to check all those objectives, so that’s something, right?

FredMaaktGames

To start off easy, I’ve created my own YouTube channel FredMaaktGames, in which my goal is to educate game development to the Dutch youth. Although I clearly underestimated the effort it takes to record, edit and upload one video, I’m very happy to be able to say that I’ve posted at least one video every week, starting off with my ‘Maak je eigen game: Pac-Man’ series and my vlog. To be really honest, I hate the (lack of) video quality but it was all I could afford for the time being. See them as those awesome low-poly stylized games. But then in video. Can I get away with that? On the other side though, I’ve still got lots of ideas for videos and series so don’t worry, this one will be easy (relative to the rest, at least)!

One Game a Month

A gameplay screenshot of Stay on the Road

A gameplay screenshot of Stay on the Road

 

One of the other things I really wanted to do was to finally complete the One Game a Month (1GAM) challenge for at least one full year. To be honest, I think this is the hardest one on the list, both creatively and in terms of time-efficiency, but it also grants me the opportunity to learn new skills, which was the third goal of 2018. So that’s two flies in one clap! No, that’s not my terribly translated idiom, that’s what we call a ‘Louis van Gaaltje’. It’s a real thing, I promise! Enough bollocks now. Last month I created the mobile game ‘Stay on the Road!‘, which you can download on Google Play here, in which the player needs to stay on a neverending procedurally generated road by rotating their phone, as the steering wheel. The game was made in the Unity3D and I found the development to be incredibly fun, especially figuring out the algorithm of the procedural generation. In terms of production quality, I’m even more proud than my previous mobile game, swApp, which took two full years to develop and release.

Learning new skills

Last, but not least. Learning new skills. Being a programmer with no design, art, modeling or business skills and with little music production skills has its downsides. Especially if you want to make a game by yourself, a situation in which you most likely turn to free or cheap assets, which often don’t really combine well with other asset packs. While learning how to create my own game art is something for next months, in January I focused on learning how to promote my game. Although the final result wasn’t really successful, as you can see in the upcoming vlog and (briefly) in the screenshot below, I think the lessons I’ve learned are very valuable and applicable for the next couple of months.

 

These are the number of (active) installs one week after release.

These are the number of (active) installs one week after release.

 

Let’s summarize

This first month felt weird. It was packed with inspiration, motivation and action, with a lot of work being done, but it also felt a little brain-melting at some points. I think it contributed to the thrill. It feels good finally finishing projects, but it hurts to see that business-wise they failed. For February I probably won’t change a thing, though. I’m eager to learn and what better way to do just that than to land flat on your face a couple of times.