I love my job. Working independently under my own time constraints on projects that totally interest me. Here I’m going to write shortly and sweetly about my journey so far as an indie game developer.
I started drawing when I was very young. I learned everything from Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes books. I would study their drawings and use techniques from them to create hundreds of hand-drawn comics about a snail named Mew and his crazy adventures. Man, those were the good days. At age twelve, I got my hands on Toon Boom Studio and a Wacom tablet and began creating animations. I had played Flash games online before and kept wondering, “How could I turn one of my animations into a sweet interactive game?” I did some searching and discovered Adobe’s Creative Suite, which I received that Christmas from my parents. I got the book ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University by Gary Rosenzweig and started learning how to build Flash games. At age thirteen I completed my first game called Flatland Freestyle, featuring Mew the snail riding around on a skateboard and collecting coins.
From there I worked on improving my programming and art skills. I made some small puzzle games like breakout and a matching game. Then I made a game called Leaf Catcher, which at the time was a wasn’t much; Mew the snail just caught leaves in a basket. I abandoned it and moved on to other projects.
My first real game
In early 2011, I started researching iPhone development. Flash had the ability to export for iPhone and Android, and I really wanted to give it a shot. I took Leaf Catcher and started building on it, adding levels, difficulty, and eventually turning it into a nice casual game. In April 2011 I published it to the Google Play and Barnes and Noble stores, and eventually the Apple App Store. I didn’t own an iPhone or Android device, and wasn’t able to test my game on one before releasing it. I just decided to wing it, and I’m glad I did! At the time of this writing, Leaf Catcher has had over 30k downloads. Not bad for my first published game, huh? And at fourteen years old? Come on, that’s awesome!
I worked at a summer camp and then continued working on projects during the school year. I got a couple freelance gigs; one was making a daily Bible verse app for CLASH Entertainment. You can check that out here, and read an interview from CLASH here. By 2012, I had a lot of started ideas, but no finished games to show for. The year continued to be one of learning and experimentation. I worked on a game called Falling Dreams and got pretty far on it, but abandoned it for I wasn’t satisfied with my programming. I was also lacking motivation. In the Fall I attended CGDC, a Christian gaming conference in Portland. That was a really fun experience and it helped me get back on track.
Now I do everything perfect and I have it all figured out
Eh, no. It’s 2013 and I’m sixteen years old, almost seventeen. I’m really stoked to ship some games this year. My head is overflowing with ideas and I’m learning new things day by day. I’ll try to write here more about my progress, and share the things I’ve learned. Big thanks to everyone who read this for supporting my creative endeavors. Let games be made!