It’s been about a month since I released Endless Lines so I thought I’d take a quick look back at its five weeks of development.
At the start of June I left my job at Lionhead Studios where I’d been working as a gameplay programmer for the previous seven years. I went straight from school to university, spent six years at university and then immediately joined Lionhead – this was scary, at 30 I was suddenly in a world without a set structure for the first time since I started primary school at the age of 4. Fortunately I was best man at a friend’s wedding the weekend I was leaving Lionhead so I spent far more time worrying about the speech than leaving my job.
My plan was to start with a small, simple project I can complete on my own. The reasons for this were quite simple:
- Get used to working at home rather than in an office environment.
- Get used to working on my own rather than part of 70+ person team.
- Finish something to prove to myself I can see a project like this through to completion before moving onto larger, more ambitious games.
The second part of this plan was to use SDKs and middleware wherever possible to save reinventing the wheel. These things aren’t a magic bullet that will do everything for you but they can significantly speed up your development process if used correctly. Every SDK and piece of middleware also has it’s limitations and flaws so be sure to look at their forums, talk to others using it and look at a wide a range as possible before deciding on one. Of course you have to know what you’re making and what your target platform is before you go looking for an SDK.