When Phil can’t sleep, instead of staying 4 hours in bed freaking out, he opens the computer and make art in homage to people who has helped him on his journey! This is the result of that!
Been wanting to do a bit of 3D lately and figured I could maybe do a take on a Xmas project by Rachel Morris (moosader). I’ve been following her dev log and it’s really entertaining and educational! She has a talent for pacing and making the act of learning really fun and dynamic.
I kinda stumble upon Rachel’s youtube channel two years ago, when I was starting my journey into learning programming. On the internet, 5 million people were giving all kinds of advice (some good, most just crazy) and I found out a “how to start making games videos.” Really fortunate to have found it. Here is my little thank you for the awesome videos and games, keep them coming!
Sweet progression! Still wondering where the design is headed but got a few ideas that might be cool. Basically it’s a game where your character is in spirit form or physical form. When you push objects his energy diminishes bringing him into spirit form. He cannot move objects in spirit form, nor can he climb up the stairs to the next level! Oh noes. Nothing set in stone yet.
There hasn’t been a lot of posts on this website for the past few years… the thing is.. I’ve spent the last 2 years studying programming languages. The journey to this very moment has been slow and steady, I knew one day I would try my hands at programming and making my own games. What really motivated me to try my chance was events in my life that really sucked.
A little big about PHIL : I’ve always been addicted to videogames, but really the action of creation above all else. The magic feeling of creating something out of nothing. As a kid I was obsessed with creating “radio shows” in which I would play music, do stories with characters whom possess weird voices(my voice is squeaky) and eat raw pasta to record the “crunch crunch” effect when you do. I did this for hours. Yup, I’m a strange dud. At 16 I learned about RPG Maker and started making games, bad pixel art, programming small features in the scripting side of RPG Maker. The games were really bad, but it was pure joy to create them. Two years later I left home to study marketing on a whims. That was the end of making/playing games… or so I thought.
A few years later, by serendipity, I found myself in a 3D school making art for videogames!!! My then boyfriend was studying there and I wanted a piece of the action too. So I shart together a “drawing portfolio” which was just awful, something I did in a week, added a flash portfolio showcasing my Pixel art and applied. The class could only hire 16 people, I was accepted as no. 17. So I wasn’t sure I would be able to go. Thank god someone dropped out and I win by default.
The school was nice (and very expansive), but it gave me a good basic to understand how the creative field work. You learn by yourself, no amount of teacher can force you to get better. This game me the mindset that independent studying is possible (and rewarding).
Leaving school I struggled to find a job, but managed to work in a small 30 people studio which was just great. Sadly, after a year the studio went bankrupt and I ended up in a big corporation who sucks your soul and gives you pennies. After living the awesome experience of working in a small studio, the big cold one just made me depress. Making clones of games and just going a little above the mediocrity bar to attract customers to make $$$$$. I saved money for a year and just quit for freelancing. Everything was better then being a cog in a soulless mediocre machine like that.
Doing freelance was an amazing feeling! What?! You don’t have to follow the same path everyone is doing in life?! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!!?!? Aka. it felt awesome to take risk and experience life in a totally different perspective. IT IS POSSIBLE. Making all these art gigs, expanding contacts… it all lead to what every game enthusiast wants… MAKING GAMES. LET’S DO THIS! So here comes the collaboration parts.
My dream really has always been to be making games. So I’ve tried to collaborate with other programmers to make something cool. Sadly they all failed, except one which I was really happy and lucky to take part of, Tidalis. The rest was just failure after failure. Like Derek Yu has written in his “How to Finish a Game” post, finding a game partner is like finding your soul mate, and I truly believe that. It’s not just because you are an artist and the other is a programmer, etc that you can just sit down and make a game. It’s important to see if you click and if the level of motivation is similar.
After a couple of failed collaborations with programmers, I was feeling pretty bad and demotivated. I “wasted” maybe 2 years of time making art assets and design ideas that just went down the toilet. Was I the biggest asshole on the planet? From different perspective some might think yes (with reason), but I believe I’m a nice guy and can contribute to this planet one way or another. I love bouncing ideas around, that is how something wonderful comes out of it. I don’t mind if you say “your idea is shit, but what if you put a gravity gun to the bouncy turd enemy” etc. You need thick skin and be humble about your ideas for this to work. Not every idea will be gold, but simply saying “I don’t like it” to every suggestion is breaking the flow and demotivating.
So this bad experience had something really positive in the end… it forced me to learn to code! I’m not a brainiac but being a total noob decided to start slowly. I recently made my first website (The one you are seeing now on PhilippeChabot.com). I had to learn HTML, CSS and a bit of PHP editing for WordPress. After taking a full month to learn this knowledge, I just said “Fuck it, I’m going to learn to code and make games damnit!!!!”. And that’s just what I did. I didn’t know nothing about coding, so I took a “hard language”, I started with C++. Ordering a book on amazon, Programming — Principles and Practice Using C++. I learned about the languague syntax, but also about the principles which is gold to know. After a year I was able to create an engine using SDL to make the game. It’s nothing fancy but it is my first game I ever made. Even tough it’s crappy, the sense of accomplishment is high enough to push me into the Unity engine.
And so this is where I stand now. I am working on my first Unity 2D C# game. Every day is a blessing to have the chance to work on it, learning and getting better each day. Even if I had years of break in making video games… the fire was always burning.
In the end… I don’t think you can escape what your heart really wants. I never regret jumping the wagon and following those old dreams of mine.