Hi Andrea, thanks for joining us! Firstly, let us know a little about yourself – how did you get into game development? Was it something that you always wanted to do, or did you discover it later in life?
I got into game development in 2014. I attended Full Sail University and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Game Design in 2017, and graduated as Salutatorian for my class. I have always loved games: video games, board games, tabletop games, and even card games. I would design quests and dungeons for a game my dad, two little brothers and I would play called Hero Quest when I was aged 10-16. This is where my love for Game Design started officially. Game Design and Game Development are two totally different things though. Game Design does not focus on programming at all.
You’ve now published several games, including Narrow Escape, Electric Space Cage, and Cowboy Down, and it’s great knowing that our courses helped you get to this point! Could you tell us a little about the courses that you used, and how they help you with these games?
Master Unity Game Development – Ultimate Beginner’s Course and Master Unity Mobile Game Development – Build Android and iOS Games taught me how to code, helped me learn the ins and outs of the Unity Editor, and showed me how to properly adjust the screen ratio for my mobile games (Cowboy Down, Hallow Domes, and Card Draconis). I also learned many other important skills and techniques, including how to deploy to the Google Play store, and how to work with objects, materials and scenes.
The Ultimate Game Development Course with Construct 2 taught me how to work with the Construct game engine, and as a result I was able to publish two games with Construct 3 – Electric Space Cage and Narrow Escape.
Many game developers make the mistake of attempting to start out by creating games that are overly complicated, but your games are both beautiful and addictive in their simplicity! However, simple games don’t necessarily mean a simple development process – did you have any obstacles that you had to navigate, or issues to combat while creating your games?
Of course I did! For instance, one of the largest issues was when I was developing Card Draconis – I was unable to come up with an algorithm that allowed the difficulty of the game to scale properly in endless mode. In the end, I replaced the endless mode with a mode called “Coffee Break Mode”, which was meant to be played in a quick manner as if you were taking a coffee break. It was simply a mode you played until you reached 100 Dragon Points or were defeated before you reached the 100 Dragon Points to win the game.
Another example was with Hallow Domes, one of the first 3D games that I ever published. I had several issues with collision and getting the 3D models to roll properly while being controlled by the accelerometer. I ended discarding the accelerometer, and using touch controls instead.
It’s great to hear about all of the projects that you’ve created so far. Do you have anything in the works that we can look forward to in the future?
Right now I am currently working on adding more to my game Narrow Escape – I plan on adding an in-game store where players can purchase different skins for the ball. I will also be going back and updating all of the games I have published (especially Card Draconis) because I have become a better coder. Games are never largely finished, and designers and developers should always revisit past games and make them better.
Thanks Andrea for giving us a look into your life as a developer! Before we go, is there any advice that you’d like to share with us?
When working on a team developing games never take someone’s silence as agreement. When working solo always stay consistent and keep on trying. Don’t drown in paperwork either, I often see beginner designers and developers start with a Game Design Document (GDD) and start writing 15 pages, but you should always start with a prototype and begin making some basic mechanics. If the prototype is fun and your basic mechanics are fun, then start writing down the 15-30 page GDD.
A huge thanks again to Andrea for her practical insights!
Catch you all next time…