Should I learn how to make computer games?

I’ve been wondering whether I should learn how to make computer games. I used to do a bit of coding when I did more WordPress customization, and I know it isn’t exactly the same but I did use things like conditional logic in PHP.

I was trying out a tutorial in an open source game engine called microStudio the other day and it didn’t seem too dissimilar from the sort of thing I used to use when it came to the conditional logic and loops.

I always wished I could make my websites more fun and eventually got bored of the whole thing when people had to make everything accessible to mobile and arguably more boring as a result. There was a time when I used to have fun adding little pointless interactive elements to my early websites like wobbling mushrooms.

As for games, I started playing them on my dads old ZX Spectrum and then an Atari ST, Dos and of course PC. I used to love point and click adventures, Dizzy the Egg and Civilization. I used to watch my brother play Doom because I was too scared to play it without the immortality cheat on. I discovered Tomb Raider when the first demo for it came out and got more into the 3D action adventure thing. I was absolutely fascinated with the idea of 3D worlds. I was pretty much a dedicated Tomb Raider player for years and years (still am when they make a new game) until I discovered Morrowind and later Skyrim. It took me several years to stop playing Skyrim and try a different game.

Eventually I got over Skyrim and tried Ori and the Blind Forest. After that I also tried several smaller indie games such as Shelter 1 and 2, Ghost of a Tale, Rime, Abzu and Roki and was struck by how powerful the storytelling and art could be even though the games were much shorter. The only possibly bad thing I would say about these sort of art and story driven games, is that they tend to make you cry a lot.

That was arguably a good thing because it made me play games less until I discovered 2016 Doom. I also learned a valuable lesson, that Doom should never be played with the immortality cheat on because it takes all the fun out of it. The whole point is to get through the challenge of surviving impossible odds. Its successor Doom Eternal continued the tradition of fun challenging game play and most importantly didn’t make me cry (just scream and swear a lot instead).

I don’t play games very often anymore, just when I need a bit of time out. The graphics are amazing these days, sometimes you forget you are playing a game and get completely swept up in the story, the characters and the world.

I still think the fun or play ability factor is the most important thing though. It must be incredibly hard to get all of the ingredients right in such a complex medium: the story, game play, art, music etc. and I am in awe of the people who manage to do it.

I think I will try to spend a few hours here and there when I can to learn the basics of Godot if I finish the microStudio tutorials and want to continue on this path. Godot is another free open source game engine, I’d want to learn that one because it can do 2D and 3D games and I’ve heard it is a good one for beginners to start with.

Not sure if anything will come of it, but I’d like to gain a better contextual understanding of how games are made and hopefully have some fun in the process. Not saying this will go anywhere, but perhaps I’ll mention more game dev related things on the blog in future since it does tie in nicely with digital art.