Picking The Technology for my Game

I want to develop a game, and not just produce it.

That’s not to say that I don’t like producing, but I would like to get my hands dirty at least once or twice on the development side to better understand the differences between game development the business-app development, which I’m already familiar with.

So that got me thinking: what technology should I use to code?

It is a common question, and I don’t think there is a right answer. I think that it really depends on what my game values are. Right now, I’m in the beginning stages of developing my idea, and I think that picking a technology now would impact the game as the vision isn’t clear enough to develop. Nonetheless, I’m constantly thinking about what is out there and what options I have. Here’s what I’ve come up with regarding what matters to my game.

Portability with minimal code changes

One of the core values I want for my game is to be able to port it to multiple platforms without having to make a ton of changes. Sure, depending the platform I may have to add features that are specific to the platform (i.e. using a controller versus using a keyboard versus using a touch screen), but at the end of the day, the guts of the game should be easy to move around.

Community Support and Guidance

No matter how educated I think I am about video game development, I’m not a developer yet. I’m a producer, which has nothing to do with the intricacies of game code. Being that I’ll be learning a lot about those sorts of issues, I want to make sure that there is a ton of support out there for language or whatever I choose to develop in.

Wow. That is a really short list, isn’t it? Apparently all I care about is portability and support in learning the tool. I guess that’s all my game would really need though. I want o maximize the number of players that can access the game, but I’m also looking to learn ONE tool, not 50.

Oh! I thought of one: Web Platform Playability.

Whatever game I build, I know that I want it to work on the web in some capacity. I know that market is really young, but I’m totally sold on the idea of making a game accessible via the web early on so that you can share and get feedback from players sooner rather than later.

I don’t know if that applies to all studios, but given that I need to know if the game is fun or not before I try and sell it, it makes sense to be able to put it in front of as many people as possible. People aren’t going to want to constantly install an app or whatever, even if they are family and friends. I’ve been that localized beta user before, and getting me to install it once was fine, but again the next day, and the next day, and the day after that…Yeah, it just didn’t happen after the first one.

In any case, having the web as a supported platform is important to me. Plus, I happen to love the open web and moving and sharing things forward through web browsers. Now that we have HTML5, it’s getting harder to justify using a native tool or language to a specific platform.

But what do I know, I’m just a producer right? 😉

End scene.

~ DW

Author’s Note: I’m trying to pick between two major players right now: Unity3D and pure HTML5/JavaScript, which provide the features I care about in different capacities. I’ll write about this again as I’m constantly jumping back and forth on it.

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