The past few months have been an interesting exercise in learning a new game engine and making something playable with it.
The game started out with completely different intentions for its core mechanic, however, after iterating and trying various other approaches, the game ended up in a completely differnt place. I feel that I have pursued this as much as I wanted to and will not be pursuing this any further. Sure, I could add a lot more features to the game that would add a bit more depth to the game mechanics and increase its replayability but it just wouldn’t be the kind of game that I have ever been interested in either making or playing.
Working on the project has some interesting “side-effects” too. I learnt where I want to direct my creative endeavours in the future, the kind of things I don’t want to work on and also, what kind of projects are better suited to one-person team whether or not I used a prebuilt engine. There’s only so much I can do as a single person and I’d rather use my time exploring interesting within constraints than put hours upon hours into making intricately detailed models, textures and animation.
I have also realized that I miss programming and in particular programming closer to the metal. Unreal does use C++ for programming however in practice it’s more like writing scripts and plugging them into their relevant places. In addition, unreal engine is a massive, sprawling beast that is constantly increasing in size and functionality. All this complextiy makes it very difficult to hold the whole of it into a single programmer’s head and be able to reason about it. Make no mistake, unreal is an incredible engine, much better than anything I have used. I just feel that its not very well suited to how I think and how I want to work.
Going forward, I want to focus more on what I find interesting in games. By using games as a medium that allows discovery, that reveals fundamental truths about the universe. I don’t know the exact specifics of how but therein lies the challenge and partly what makes it interesing because to my knowledge, almost no one is thinking of games in this way. It’s a different mode of thinking that I aim to employ to the whole process where the ultimate aim is not to create something new out of nothing but to uncover and reveal what is already all around us, to silence, to contemplate and witness wonder. I don’t know where this will lead to, but let us see where this road goes!