“My name is Peter Law, and I’m attempting to be an indie game developer.” Part 2
This week Train2Game caught up with Peter Law, the forum favourite that operates under the username: Carwash. He’s helped many other students with their Train2Game related queries and assisted lots of people on their games creation journeys.
Not a lot of people actually know that Peter has been working in the games industry for years, he’s now working on his own projects and has recently released two titles under his independent label, Enigma 23.
This is the second part of the interview, where Peter gives his input into his experiences: Developing, Train2Game and plans for the future.
What is your experience working in the game industry?
Eight years in QA, working at publishers (I really wish I’d gotten to work at an internal QA department for a developer). At ChangYou I was hired as QA, but helped out with almost everything – community management; tech support; PR; game design; IT – I learnt quite a lot here, and made some of my closest friends.
How long have you been studying with T2G and how have you found the process?
I signed up 4 years ago this month, and stopped studying 2 years ago when I started work on SZ. I’ve moved over to v3 though, and just got an extension, so plan on spending the next 12 months to get the C&G qualification.
I went to the T2G game jam last year, and made a pretty damn good game (AstroSim) with my team (Wolfwash), which we’re using as a prototype to turn into a full game – I got really lucky to find some really talented, friendly and easy going team members – friends.
You are a prominent member of the forum, is it a good place to meet other students?
At their height (during my time) the old forums were great, but since the release of v3, they’re now pretty much dead. The new forums, are full of new students (as you’d expect, being new for v3 of the courses), I tend not to go on them very often – too busy making my games and searching for solutions compiler errors.
They are a great resource though, that all students should use – along with the #train2game IRC channel, without it I wouldn’t have met my game jam team.
Can you tell us what you learnt from the Development process?
– First, C# and Unity, I taught myself both of these so that I could make ‘Shh, Zombies’, and have improved both skills a lot since October.
– The art of searching how to implement a game mechanic and searching for solutions to compiler errors.
– Build iOS first, the review process can take anywhere between 7 and n days, with possibly a rejection at the end of it.
– Building multiple platforms at the same time is a pain, switching between them just isn’t efficient and gets you side tracked trying to make everything work on all platforms at all times … pick a lead platform.
– Even though I did it for a living … Test properly, and then test it again.
– Use some versioning software, or cloud storage at the very least. I broke a pretty major part of SZ, a part I hadn’t worked on for over 3 months (that part was “finished”), and couldn’t work out what I’d one or how to fix it. Thanks to dropbox I was just able to roll that script back to a version before I’d started I broke it.
– Put the expected non-game features into your game before release, not having them for release could hurt your launch window. Things like achievements, leaderboards and video recording.
– It’s difficult to get even 69p out of people, but free seems easy (SZ total downloads = 97 in 10 months, MCR total downloads = 430-ish in 10 days).
– Always have somewhere to make notes, for when those ideas/ answers to problems suddenly appear. Evernote is a great note taking app available on mobile and desktop, or ye know, pen and paper.
– The best answers come in the middle of taking a shower.
And from releasing your first solo title?
– Don’t do a massive game.
– Don’t care about how it looks at the start, use placeholder assets.
– Get prototype up and running, with basic game mechanics then iterate on that and add more in one by one.
– Where possible, finish implementing one game mechanic before starting on the next.
– Go to game dev meetups, speak to people about your game, about their games, about game development.
– Go to game industry events.
– Do game jams.
– All the other stuff I’ve spoken about in previous questions.
Where can players find your games?
My games website (new URL pending) has links to all the stores they’re available on: http://shhzombies.com/apps/
What are your plans for the future?
Make more games! I started prototyping my third game, a top down racer, at the start of March. Minecart Runner has been more successful than I thought it would be, so I’ll be doing updates on that to try and keep the momentum going. Wolfwash are also wanting to kick back into full gear on AstroSim, so I’ll be doing design, and maybe a bit of development, for that.
I’m also starting to look for some freelance work, and/ or a full time Game Designer/ Unity Developer job.
Enigma23 work and Social media can be found at
Enigma 23 Games site: http://shhzombies.com/apps/
Peter Law can be found on Train2Game Winners at http://train2gamewinners.co.uk/peter-law/