2013 is finished and I have had a few minutes to reflect on the year. Happily, I have spent the whole year working on a game that will be my first true commercial release. It has been a great experience working on a longer form project. I really feel like my strengths lie in working and re-working an idea until it is acceptable for me to send out into the world.
I have never been good at game jams or making small simple games. I sit in jealous awe of developers like Vlambeer who seem to be able to find the core of a game in a few days time and then iterate upon it. I am much more comfortable coming up with a concept in my head and then fighting my computer Thunderdome style to make that concept work (or die trying.) This is something I would like to do differently in the future.
In my reflection of the year I have also noticed a growing number of developers experimenting with distribution. Vlambeer is using Steam Early Access and open development for their next title Nuclear Throne. This method seems to work well for the random-generation, rogue-like games so I am sure we will be seeing more people trying it out in 2014. Colin Northway has recently been talking about his effort to develop a game on a small netbook and then ‘seal’ the game within that computer forever. This way the game can only be played by people on that specific computer. This idea dug into my brain like a termite and just wouldn’t leave.
I think the idea of travelling around with the sole copy of a game you developed is amazing! Its even more amazing when you combine it with the travel itinerary of the globe trotting Northways. I would love to do something like Colin is doing, however, I am a father who is firmly anchored to my house but connecting with people on a more regular basis is a real goal of mine in 2014. So I let that little idea termite chew on my brain some more, then the idea came…
“Games For People” is what I am calling that idea. Here’s how it works. Anyone can submit a brief idea for a game along with their name and email address here on my site. The subject of the game should be very brief. I am limiting it to 120 characters but it will ideally be even less. One word game ideas would be great.
After your information is submitted I will do my best to make your game as quickly as possible. These will be small and simple games. Each game will be unique. Each game will be personal and have a meaning (no endless runners about bananas.) When the game is finished you will be sent a link to play the game in your browser. Here is the good part…the game can only be played once. After the first play the game will become inactive and will be removed.
Through this distribution model every game made will be a one time only unique experience for the person that requested it. Games will likely focus on choice and consequence so play them like you mean it. There will be no saves and no do-overs. Rage quitting will be a pretty serious offense. When you receive a link to your game you should plan on playing under the right circumstances. I will let you know what sort of time commitment you should plan on giving the game (it will likely be pretty short.) It wouldn’t be worth my time or yours if you clicked the link on the way out of the house to an important job interview or something!
After playing the game you can feel free to tell anyone you like about the experience just as you would some crazy story that happened in the physical world. I am sure some people will record their play session and put it up on interwebs. That’s fine with me. This is your game, my gift to you, and you may do with it as you wish with the exception of distributing it.
I have no real idea on where this might lead but that is the fun of it. Its possible that this takes off and I cannot possibly make enough games for the requests. It is also just as likely (or more likely) that no one cares and it doesn’t go anywhere. That is all part of the fun. Let’s try this out and see what happens! If you want me to make you a game just click the “Make Me A Game!” link at the top of the page and fill out the form.