A few years ago, I decided to leave the office and become a freelancer, I thought that I would have more time to develop my own games and more time to spend with my friends and family. I took a lot of effort to become an efficient freelancer. The most difficult task was not just getting the job done, but was getting the job done efficiently and in a reasonable amount of time. So, now I’ve decided to challenge myself and push my limit a little bit further, I decided to make games while traveling the World. I decided to travel for at least 6 months across Asia while continuing to do what I love to do most: "Making games." As a matter of fact, I'm writing this article after 13 hours of riding in a bus in a bumpy road from Nepal to India and still having a couple of hours ahead of me. Before we continue this story, you may have a question for me: "Why are you doing it?"
Why travel the world and make games
As I told you before, when I became a freelancer, I had to force myself to become very productive, and now I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could push it and see if it’s still possible to make games with fewer resources. We're all used to a nice working environment, a big desk, a good connection and a reasonable amount of time to make our games. All of these are gone. My desk is a tiny table when I’m lucky, otherwise, I just code on the bed. My time is very limited and that’s good because I'm forced to get the most out of what I have, but so far it’s going great. And if I have to be straight, these are the main reasons that have pushed me to face this challenge:
- It’s fun.
- It's a lifetime experience.
- It forces me to be super productive with what I have.
- I'm learning to appreciate what we give as granted: a nice desk, a comfy chair, a multi-monitor setting, a fast connection and so on.
- When I come back, I'll be a better developer.
- It’s expensive.
- It’s stressful.
The fact that I'll make game while traveling doesn't mean that I won't' have fun and enjoy the trip, but is about using the spear time available to do what I love most: Make games
Making games while traveling the world: the project
I decided to make a minimal cross-platform puzzle game called Square Maze, the game is very simple and there is one main reason for that: I cannot carry in my backpack my hi-end desktop PC along with a keyboard and a monitor. I had to travel with my MacBook Air, and given the limited resources of the machine, a minimal and simple game seems the best choice. The game that I started to develop is called Square Maze: It’s a minimal and simple design puzzle game where you have to go through a maze, avoid the evil shapes and save as many friends as you can.
What I learned so far
After four months of traveling, I’m halfway through the game and I’m actually looking for a publisher. So far, this experience has given me a lot: I learned that you don't really need a desk to be super productive, actually, it will help a lot, but it’s not mandatory. I learned that no internet is actually one of the best ways to come up with new design ideas and game concepts. Paper and pencil are my best allies since they don't need a battery to work. And the most important thing: it doesn't matter what conditions you're working in, if you have passion, you will find a way no matter what. Having less time to make games also teaches me how to write better code, since I don't have that much time to do trial and error or fast prototyping. I really had to think through every feature that I wanted to be in the game and the best way to make them without losing too much time. Studying, research and plan everything before even write a single line of code is the best solution to not waste time.
I little bit about my trip
Since this is not a travel blog, I'll try to keep it short and tell you just a little bit about my idea of making games while traveling the world. I started from Russia by doing the trans Mongolian route, so Russia, Mongolia, China. Then I moved to Japan and from there to Nepal. Now, I'm on my way from Nepal to India. And the next destinations are: Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. I know what you're thinking: "This guy must be rich to travel for so long." The answer is no, I saved for the last few years and now I'm living on about 10/15 dollars a day.
Make games while traveling: Conclusion
I will probably write another article at the end of the trip as a recap of what went wrong and what went right. Specifically, I will tell you if the game made it through or if It died on the way, but so far, it's still in development and is doing great. I will probably post more in the future about the development of the game so keep one eye on the blog or subscribe to the Square Maze game community to be always updated. If you have any questions or you’re just curious, please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.