Recently I partnered up with another developer and artist from work, and we set out to create an iPhone game. We came up with a few ideas, mostly derived from other games we had previously played and loved. No idea was solid, but some had promise. We settled on one idea to start, and decided to run with it. We each went separate ways to work on our portions of the game. The artist was to develop concept art for the game and work on character development. The other dev and myself were to determine which game engine was right for us and start prototyping some of the basic concepts in the game.
Determining the engine to use wasn’t too difficult. Our game wasn’t going to be 3D, and after some research we quickly settled on Cocos2D as our engine of choice.
In my spare time away from the day job and family, I set out to do my part and start prototyping our game. I quickly fell in love with Cocos2D, and all it has to offer. I was able to get examples up and running quickly, and do show off some very simple demos of some of the features we wanted in our game. However, this is where it stopped being easy.
I quickly discovered that when you talk to other people about developing a game, you will find potential team members who are in love with the idea of developing a game, but quickly bail on you when it comes time to execute. Both the artist and second developer I selected for the team never really got off the ground when it came time to start executing on our ideas. I soon found myself developing prototypes on my own, with my own “developer” art.
The excuses from the other team members boiled down to either not having time, being too tired at the end of the day, or just a simple, “I didn’t feel like working on it”.
I also found that it’s pretty much impossible to develop a game without a solid game spec, which we didn’t have. We barely had a story line, let alone a full fledged game spec.
After a month or two, I felt like the team had given up, even before we started. I had worked through several test apps the prototypes a small fraction of what we wanted to do in our game, non of which was impressive or fully reusable. I myself was discouraged with my overall lack of game design and development expertise, and not knowing how to motivate the team to help out.
After expressing my feelings to the other developer on the team, he suggested that we change course and possibly set our sites on something smaller. I agreed with him, especially having read a couple of articles that agreed with his suggestion.
So, we decided to do a big reset, and focus on some simple clone games first before restarting our efforts on our big original game. This has turned out to be a magnificent idea. In my next few posts, I’ll be detailing my experience developing a simple iPhone game based on an existing game. My plan is to develop a full game and release it for free once its complete.