Why Game Development?

In my introductory blog post on Gamasutra, I examine the reasons why I make video games: my drives and motivations, my strengths and weaknesses.

I've never blogged on Gamazutra before, so let me introduce myself. I'm Bob Saunders, and my indie game company is Ibology. I make games about space, strategy, and physical sciences. In 2013 I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for my never-ending space rogue-like, "Approaching Infinity", which was later picked up for publishing by Shrapnel Games. Last year my game "XenoBloom" came out on Steam. It's about growing plants. In 2016 I was contracted to make a game about a martian colony, for a live competition event.

So before I get into what I do, I want to take a step back and look at what “game development” really means to me, and why I do it.

First and foremost, my involvement in game development is about creativity. I am absolutely driven to make things. I have ideas. Pages and pages of them. I feel like I could make a game out of anything.

Next, I like to solve problems. I really enjoy saying, “This is what I want to happen, how do I make the computer do that?”. I like to code, always have.

Finally, I LOVE number systems. Numbers are at the heart of every game: how fast do I move, how many hit points do I have versus how much damage that monster is going to do to me? Economic rates and technology costs and crafting recipes and oxygen consumption. NUMBERS!

Those three things are why I love procedural generation so much. I need to figure out how to use math to create things, like trees, maps, bugs, spaceships, etc.

After that, everything else is really secondary to me. I value gameplay over graphics, so I’ve never been overly interested in flashy presentation. I’ve been told “gameplay is cheap”, but I often see complaints about pretty games that aren’t actually games. Business and marketing concerns have always been near the bottom of my list, even though they are absolutely necessary to (the more commonly accepted definitions of) success.

I’m not suggesting that anyone follow my example. I’m just taking a (public) look at what I do and *why* I do it. I’m saying there is nothing inherently wrong with my approach, but I will also say that it’s not necessarily the best route for financial success...😉

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