It’s too easy to get caught up in life and forget to be ambitious. For the last several years, I’ve spent my holidays building small and quick side projects – projects that are easily digestible, easily executable, not ambitious, and primarily intended as practice. Happily and fortuitously, several of these have been popular successes (and many have not), but I’d like to try a different approach in 2015. I’d like to build something big and ambitious, work with my friends, and have a long term goal to look forward to.
I’ll be spending the entirety of 2015 developing a video game. I’ve built games before, both big and small, but never professionally. In fact, my first early success that taught me that computer software was my passion was a text-based MMORPG – but since then I haven’t built a game grand or immersive. The Botanist scratches that itch for me, and hopefully it’ll scratch the same itch for my friends that join me on this project.
The game itself is inspired in large part by The Elder Scrolls series (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim), Diablo II, Zelda (“The Legend Of” and “A Link To The Past”), and I’d love to emulate the depth of universe and mythology of the Lord of The Rings.
Obviously, we’ll never be able to create something as rich, professional, thorough, or deep as the above. Our game will be dinky, small, potentially unplayable, and low-budget. But that’s ok – because we’re going to spend a year building something. Creating something. We’ll sink our teeth into something big and creative and ambitious for a full year, and even if it goes nowhere, we’ll be able to look back at our effort and be proud of what we’ve done. Personal fulfillment comes from exploring a passion and pursuing something big, whether or not anyone else is there to witness it.
It’s also important to me to work with my close friends throughout this project, and also to make some new ones along the way. I have no expectations of this project ever making money, but in the case that it does the proceeds will be distributed communally amongst the regular contributors. We’ll all track the hours we put in to this project over the year (honor system), and if the game makes any profit I’ll distribute the proceeds purely based on the number of hours contributed.
Finally, I have a minor obsession with making this game work well on mobile devices. There are surprisingly few immersive gaming experiences for Android and iOS; every game out there is a Flappy Bird or a Subway Surfers or some other bite-sized, mechanic-driven thumb-tapper. It may be true that those types of casual games are more popular generally, but I know that there are many like me who crave an immersive experience they can enjoy on their commute to work. I want to be able to dive deep into a universe while sipping my coffee on the ferry.
Here’s to the new year’s resolution to end all new year’s resolutions!