The day was finally here. After 3 years of only existing in my head and on my computer, HedgeHogers was being released into the wild. I had put together a teaser trailer and prepared the 307 versions of the graphics needed for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I uploaded everything, then sent off my first emails to journalists and bloggers to share with them the wonderful birth of HedgeHogers. Needless to say, the response was deafeningly….quiet! Which in fairness was to be expected and wasn’t going to put me off.
Over 3 years ago I was made redundant and took it as an opportunity to spend time with my 3 children during their formative years while also pursuing a childhood dream of making my own video game. After researching the mobile market ( way back in 2012 ) the least viable option was to make a game. A casual game. A physics-based casual game. So that’s what I did. Because I really wanted to. Which is just as well, as there is no way I would have kept going this long if I was making some niche time-management app for people who take care of badgers. As it is, I’ve pulled most of my hair out.
Lacking any experience in how to make a game or any of the required skills, I decided the best thing to do was make it entirely myself.
I’m stubborn and somewhat of a control freak. So, while looking after my 3 little darlings I taught myself what a Mac was, Objective-C, 3D modelling, animation, graphic design, audio recording, level design, music composition and all that good stuff.
I also like things to be right, so what started out as a learning project turned into a high quality, polished game. I couldn’t leave anything alone. I’d do the animations, then go on and do some more coding, then look back at the animations and think – they’re making my eyes bleed! So I’d update the models and redo all the animations, then do some more coding. Then I’d look at the graphics and say – what was I thinking?! Then I’d update them to look less like they were done by one of my children, blindfolded. Due to the slow progress of learning, iterating and bringing children to the doctor ( a lot! ), my target release dates kept getting pushed back. This meant that I had to adjust for each new iOS, from iOS 6 to iOS 7 to iOS 8 and now to iOS 9, with iOS 10 only down the road. I also had to redo my graphics when the lovely iPhone 6 and 6 Plus arrived with their 4.7” and 5’5” screens.
After the 1st year when I realised this wasn’t quite the 6 month project I had envisioned, I started a diary to keep me sane.
When the 2nd anniversary of starting the game came along I nearly lost it, but I read back over what I was doing the year before and realised how much I had progressed. This helped me to keep going and was even more beneficial on my 3rd anniversary. I was on my second keyboard by then. My first one had a run in with my fist due to sheer frustration.
Finally the end is in sight. I was determined to get HedgeHogers into the public domain so that I could feel I had achieved at least that much and progress was being made. So a few weeks ago, I sent out that first barrage of emails. There is a lot still to do, but 2016 is game launch or bust!