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Yesterday, I did something for the first time since I was 13

By on August 20, 2013

I fired up GameMaker and started to make a game.

Actually, that’s a bit of an overstatement. I’m older now, and realise the value of following tutorials to save time later, so I’m just following the initial tutorial to create a simple game in GameMaker.


I can write pretty passable HTML and CSS. My knowledge of PHP is limited. I still don’t understand arrays. Object Oriented Code sounds clever to me. That last game I wrote was nearly 30 years ago (it was a simulation of a gold mine on the Spectrum. It would fit a free-to-play design well, now I think about it).

I’m not expecting to release anything for a long while, if ever. But I am spending more of my time on game design these days. My focus is designing the long-term game: the retention loops that add fun and longevity to the game without which a F2P game can’t thrive. I want to get my hands dirtier with the core elements of game making.

I don’t expect to be a coder. I expect to work with people who are more talented, more practiced and more focused than me. I do expect to understand the building blocks of their job. It’s why I hand-coded the whole of by hand, but am now working with an external designer to redo it, probably in WordPress. It is crazy to build a website by hand but, by crikey, does it teach you a lot about the process.

Now that I understand the process, I am much better at commissioning websites and advising people on how to improve them. That’s why I fired up GameMaker yesterday.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: