[ Game Dev Thoughts ] #001 - Give Me!
We have all seen it, across Facebook groups, Discord, and other sites for beginners or aspiring game devs. Where one of the first posts of a new user in the group starts out with… Give me!!!!
Give me a code, give me 3D Models, explain to me how to build an entire game, that will make me money. Not even that the person requesting is greedy or a bad person, it is simply a problem of them not understanding just how complicated Game Development is, how much time is involved, how complicated systems can be, how much effort is required to succeed, and no game developer I have ever known had success that had it given to them.
The Problem with the "Give Me Approach".
First of all to create something takes time, as they say “time is money”, and if I value myself regardless of my skillset why would I “Give You” anything when I would much rather you pay for it instead? Don’t forget we are all competing for the same customer dollars to sell our precious creations, why would I help you compete with me?
This isn’t to say there aren’t some charitable hobbyist out there that love to give a newbie an encouraging boost, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. That said enabling through “Give Me” doesn’t increase the skill set of the person, they don’t learn anything, and they will just be back in less than 24 hours for the next thing they need.
The biggest problem is that “Give Me” doesn’t produce quality game developers, it just creates and enables a community of needy amateurs disillusioned into the idea they will make a career out of their first game.
I am NOT bashing new game dev’s, I am raising a point that this behavior is as harmful to the community as it is to the developer. Nor am I saying asking for help is bad or wrong either, I myself still ask for help, but the how we ask IS IMPORTANT!
Our best chance of getting valuable help is with a specific problem, after we have done full research, and exhausted our options.
I want to be specifically clear, I don’t place the blame on the person trying to just get started!
I feel this myth of how easy it is to be a game developer is continued by Youtube videos hungry for views, posting “How To Make A Game in 10 Minutes” and compounded by game engines with equally hungry marketing campaigns. This profoundly impacts people unfamiliar to the industry into thinking that it’s all easy, and that anyone can do it in less than a weekend. All they need to do is rely and trust on their newly made friends who can sell them the solution for nearly next to nothing.
Our industry is selling lies that cause harm to our industry, ourselves, and our community, and benefit no one, except the person making the quick buck at the expense their audience and customers.
The Solutions to Getting Out of "Give Me".
Option #1 - Free or Paid Assets
Here a beginner can buy or sometimes even find free assets on the Unity Asset store, same with many other sites such as Turbo Squid, and Art Station. I will caution you, if they are free often they can be free for a reason, sometimes it is a quality issue, sometimes it is because the item is so basic it really isn’t worth charging for. This is can save a lot of time, and help you get over barriers if you are more interested into getting to something else in the project you really want to focus on.
[CONs] This can get pricey quick and after a while you can spend quiet a bit of money buying assets, and if you are inexperienced you may find they are out of date, incompatible with other assets or start developing conflicts in your project if you don’t know how to manage them properly.
Option #2 - Free or Paid Tutorials
[PROs] This option requires some time investment and determination on your part, however there are tons of great tutorials out there such as a few like C# Survival Guide, Brackey’s on Youtube, you can find some on stores like Unity Learn Premium, Udemy, Coursera etc. The prices will range depending on course length.
Don’t just look for hand holding tutorials that spoon feed you the entire way through! If you are really serious try learning different skills, or systems, and then try to modify, or take different things you have learned and build your own functionality or asset!
I highly recommend that you get in the habit, of learning how to search for information you need rather than asking for it! As most of this job is being good at finding what you need in order to problem solve the point at where you are stuck.
This quality of being able to learn how to learn is one of the defining characteristics between a failing or succeeding game dev!
[CONs] At some point the tutorials run out, it may take a while but don’t count on tutorials to get you through every aspect of game development. At some point you will need to learn how to problem solve, as well as read and learn through documentation, and even create new ways of accomplishing something if it is a mechanic not many others have done, especially if you want your game to be unique enough to sell.
Option #3 - Team Up or Hire Someone!
[Word of Warning about Collaboration] Yes you can collaborate with someone for free, and that is definitely a good approach starting out, unfortunately at some point if you are really serious about producing a commercial game you need someone with the skill you lack. Those who agree to RevShare projects or free collaboration will likely get stuck on the same problems as you. Free help is also hard to find, and often unreliable.
[Hiring Help] This is a great way to get help especially if you are a programmer needing art, or an artist needing a programmer. As long as you can afford to actually pay someone. Talented individuals with at least a few years of experience will expect payment that allows them to pay for the cost of living. Costs can become very steep, so it is very important to budget early on and keep your project scope small if you hope to go this route.
[CONs] You are relying on someone else to be dependable, honest, have the skill and to be interested in the project you are working on. Starting out this can be very difficult and if you aren’t a seasoned project manager I recommend a team size of no more than 5 people who are each focused in a single discipline of their own.
There are many approaches to building or developing your game, the “Give Me” approach is not one that will likely give you any success. Not only will you not be taken seriously, you can also receive bans from moderators, etc, and even if you get something for free, the freebies always run out, and may not truly be how you imagined your game to turn out!
Start building the ability and skills to “Learn-How-To-Learn”, “Problem Solve”, and how to be “Resourceful” it won’t make game development any less painful, but it will make you a better game developer, and allow you greater freedom in what games you can make!
I hope this was helpful, and the next time you see someone saying “Give Me!” instead of giving them assets, give them this article!