Designer’s Notes #1 – Introduction

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Designer’s Notes #1 – Introduction

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For 10 years I have been programming professionally, thereby financially supporting myself and my family. My work is like building a house from blocks, but in a four-dimensional world… Not only is the code itself important, and its construction, but also its deadline. And although it is difficult to imagine calmer work than typing at a computer, the rest of the process – primarily managing individual projects – is extremely exciting. I have worked for dozens of clients: Norwegians, Koreans, Americans, British, Germans, Italians and Russians. Although the orders come from different continents, I have always fulfilled them in the same location: the pearl of European cities, Wrocław. This is a very inspiring place where every day the city’s colorful, thousand-year history meets with one of the largest new technology hubs in Central-Eastern Europe. You probably know the game “Dying Light” which took the US market by storm, and was created right here in Wrocław.

It’s a good job, I like it, I want to keep doing it. So is there a problem? It turns out that, yes.

Because for 20 years I’ve been interested in games.

Games are my first and most important hobby, something like a first love, which we idealize and remember for our whole life. No matter how many projects I’m juggling in my mind and how many hours I sit in front of the monitor. Always somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m eager to spend some more time on games. On creating games.

Of course, I never stopped playing games: my phone and tablet are loaded with the newest games as well as classics from the past. But when you’ve been programming for many years, you start to look at games from the other side, as a creator instead of a consumer. You see in them projects, and you evaluate them as projects: not only in terms of gameplay, but also from technical, marketing and business perspectives.

For many years I have known that I want to do it. Life is too short to postpone one’s dreams.

Of course, I did not start with Brass, because it is too difficult and too important a project to use for learning all the specific aspects which distinguish game development from the classical software development process. Therefore, in 2013. I created and published a mobile version of the game Jasper and Zot, passing a test, or rather a “trial by fire”, in the world of gamedev. This was a very simple game, but it wasn’t about the game itself, but rather about executing the complete project. From beginning to end: business plan, license, graphics, code, tests, placement in the App Store, evaluation.

And what was the result of this test? Since I am writing this text, and I’m creating for you this ambitious project of a mobile version of BRASS… Clearly it was a success! It was not only a business success, but also personally satisfying.

This autumn, you will play Brass on your phones and tablets. But before then, I will try to ease your waiting time with these designer’s notes, written by a professional software developer who listened to his heart and took up game development.

Designer’s notes are written by a game designer during the process of creating a game. Their purpose is to explain the reasoning behind certain features of the game. This allows other people to understand some problems faced, and the game designer’s assumptions about the problems and conclusions about how to solve them.

In the forthcoming entries of this blog you will find the designer’s notes we wrote while creating BRASS for mobile devices. Please do not hesitate to ask questions – I’ll be happy to answer them.

 

Grzegorz – Brass for mobile producer