Have you ever made your own game?

But enough about me! I must say I’m a bit flabbergasted at how many of you just made your own boardgames, because this just never occurred to me. I don’t know why though - I’ve played them all my life, I guess I just never got that lightning bolt of inspiration that made me say ‘hey, I could do that!’ Pretty fun to see how many of you did actually get hit with that inspiration.

As was I, but even a bit further back, as in playing the Avalon Hill game, B1 Nuclear Bomber, loaded from cassette tape of course, to play on a Tandy TRS-80 computer that my father gave to me after not being able to figure out how to run his tax preparation software on it. My game skills weren’t a lot, mostly just modifying the work of real game companies in order to customize the experience for those of us playing it.

My friend from the neighborhood came over and as we learned to play that game we made plans to change it to suit our needs. It became REVENGE, which was basically us digging into and rewording the basic code in the game so that we were doing attack runs on the older kids in the neighborhood, who for what it’s worth, were a bunch of jerks who never let us younger kids play around them. So instead of the tense, strategic choices presented by Avalon Hill, you made choices to “roll their yard,” aka with toilet paper, attempt to beat them up (which was like a bombing in game and was quite hard,) or run from one of several named dogs in the neighborhood that were fierce (akin to the MIG attacks.) We had a blast changing damn near everything in the game and saving it to tape but all of that was lost to time, sadly.

This was the original:

I had something of a second version of bringing real life into a game sometime around 1997-1998 when stationed on a US Navy ship based out of Italy. There were hours upon hours of time to burn and we of course had many PCs on the ship where people would load games, etc. Jagged Alliance was a favorite at the time and at some point there a map editor was made and floated out. We used this to create a version of our own ship where you had to take a set group of us, aka the group of about 5 friends who played games, and assault the ship ala Jagged Alliance mode and eventually work through it to our division officer, captain and eventually our flag admiral as we were on a flagship at the time.

And we made the enemy team full of the biggest asshole chiefs, officers, crew, etc, which made it kind of a fun escape. No pics of that one either.

But I realize now looking back that either of those games could be frowned upon as a bit violent against their subject matter (neighborhood kids or those we served with.) In reality it was just a fun escape for those of us who played them and allowed us to vent some steam about things when we really had no control over them.

I commend some of the work here though, rulebooks and everything!

1 Like

Bravo to all of you, for your pioneering efforts!

I can’t say I actually ever created a working game, really. Being a fan of military history from about as soon as I learned to read well enough to hit the history section of the library (or get those Ballantine illustrated books about WWII from the Stars & Stripes bookstore on base), I fiddled around with drawing maps and unit symbols and figuring out imaginary encounters and stuff. Later, playing hex and counter wargames from around 11 or so (Avalon Hill’s Luftwaffe was the first I had, though God knows I never actually figured it out), I would go and try and make hex maps with hex paper, later on using library light tables to help with the tracing over real maps. Never actually got too far with making a game, though I tried a few times.

The most I did I think was much later with the C64, and games like Battlefront. It had an editor and I remember making a NATO/WP scenario about Russians seizing the Bosporus with paratroopers. It didn’t work all that well, but it did work at least.

And like everyone else, I tried my hand with various adventure or RPG maker type things from the 1980s on, but never got very far. I did, um, later build a DOOM map; it had two rooms. I was very proud of the working door! Oh, and I fiddled with Microsoft C in the late 1980s to make a naval game like Harpoon. I got as far as a bare-bones routine to handle missile attacks before realizing I was not cut out for that sort of thing.

So other than one scenario in HPS’s (now WDS’s) Sicily '43, I haven’t actually designed anything that would qualify as even a part of a game.

I am surprised the majority of the amateur projects have been analogue based: what happened to the dream boxes of possibilities, all those 8bits computers with included BASiC?!

Actually I tried many times to make a text adventure in BASIC in the mid-late 80s, but those few projects became vaporwares at an alarming rate. I think the only working “game” I programmed was some rudimentary die betting thing with absolutely no graphics. I remember I tried to create graphics once, using the logo turtle under CPM, and figured you’d have to be a rocket scientist to even achieve a triangle.

The only thing I did that could account to a game was merely an expansion:
a “dynamic” board for Bloodbowl that I had designed to be constituted of tree trunks chaotically put together on a river, which would change formation according to a set of rules I was terrified by when I looked back at them. There were pages upon pages of detailing how the whole messy terrain would live its own life, and how the players could affect it as well. I remember it mainly because I had gone through the painful process of creating boardgame parts for various size of tree trunks and such. We played a single game using it. It was not the funniest game of our league.

It is all gone now: I had stored our precious copy of Bloodbowl with all its side materials and the league’s individual player statistics I was keeping records of (I then had not been introduced to the wonder that is baseball yet: the statistical sports of my dreams!) in what seemed a very safe place in a locker near the roof of my place. But there had been some losey plumber works upstairs done by a neighbour, which silently molded all the precious manuscripts two years ago. I just threw the box away, instead of breaking my heart trying to see what could be recoverable.

I feel like I should hand a hundred bucks to whomever may have read this wall of text, like i do to my therapist.

I am really amazed at nightgaunt’s efforts’ quality. That reminds me of the blog Bill Harris kept when he was making his Gridiron Solitaire game. You two guys are in leagues of your own if you ask me!

1 Like

I have kicked around the idea of doing a match-3 roguelight rpg, because 99% of match-3 games suck. I thought about combining it with a hex grid ala Barbarian Prince to create something with a Strange Adventures in infinite space vibe.

But when I start thinking beyond the concept stage, I get bogged down in how to actually do anything.

At one point, I bought one of those software creation bundles on humble and wanted to recreate an old favorite of mine as a learning exercise (Stardust by James Burton). I went so far as to try and contact him but never managed. That was a few years back, now.

Even into my teens this was the issue with trying to create a computer game. (How I envy these days of relatively easy engines like Unity, Unreal, or even RPGMaker that offer asset stores.) So much easier to grab a pen and some paper and start jotting down ideas and then taking scissors to cardboard to flesh it out.

Oh, I did create a bunch of BASIC text games. Lots of ‘if/then’ and ‘goto’ if I recall correctly. Nothing too deep and nothing I saved. They were on floppies that lord only know where they ended up.

I actually just finished working on a small card game that I made for my friends. It’s derivative of an unknown German game called Tome of Calling that enjoys cult status among a very small group of people. It’s a very simple system: everyone takes a turn, and in your turn you first draw a card and then play a card. Very similar to Love Letter.



I made some clarifications to the descriptions on the cards based on the feedback I got from the players, and I’m about to order a new print run. For the second printing I’m also adding new cards. The school where I work has a program for printing and graphic design. Our students print the cards, cut the corners, apply the varnish, and make the box as part of their vocational training.

2 Likes

I was never a board gamer, but I loved me some video games. Early on in high school, we had to get TI 85 calculators for math class. I quickly learned to program for them, because they were simple and kind of fun. So I made simple text adventure games - more like Choose Your Own Adventure, as I was only smart enough to make games with a few simple choices per screen. I distributed those to friends.

I also made an app that simulated clearing the memory/device storage. It even reset the brightness like the real process. This was useful, as the teachers made you do this before an exam, and observed the process, since you could otherwise store info on the calculator and cheat. I sold that one to people, that wasn’t a freebie.

And finally, in Senior year, our AP History teacher was just kind of out of fucks. Our final project was to do anything that reflected something we had learned that year in his class. Some made paintings, some wrote papers.

I made a text adventure in DOS where the player wandered a museum with exhibits related to the subjects we’d studied. At the end of it, it launched a new executable for an FPS I’d made using Pie in the Sky Software’s game making tools. In that, you wandered a replica of our high school in order to rescue the President, who’d inexplicably been kidnapped and was being held there. Mind you, this was all pre-Columbine; this would obviously not work today. In any case, I got an A.

1 Like

This art is incredible, I can’t help but ask you to share all of it with us!!

I took a summer school class in elementary school where, for one project, we made pinball games. These weren’t real pinball game, of course. The tables were big cardboard boxes propped up on one end. The flippers were just tongue depressors or popsicle sticks stuck through slits in the side of the box. The pinballs were marbles. But we had fun making ramps, targets, and secret passages. My pinball game was probably influenced by that top-down Capcom arcade game Commando. You’d get points by blowing up enemy fortresses (you’d have to count the points up in your head, of course). One feature I still think is pretty cool, if I do say so myself, is that I made little enemy pillboxes (or turrets? I didn’t know about army stuff) out of upside down Dixie cups with straws sticking out of them. I taped down the uphill side of the cup. Under the cups went extra marbles. If you could knock over the cup, a marble would be freed, which meant that you rescued your friend from captivity, and also unlocked a multiball mode!

In college I used to make games in Flash. I did everything except the sounds, I blatantly stole those from other games and movies.

My crown jewel flash game was a full on JRPG engine that used 3e D&D as the rule set. I got to the point where I was making sprites for the games enemies, drawing them myself then getting them into the game by tracing them with my Wacom tablet in Photoshop.

Some dickhead at school made fun of my art when I was demoing it in class. It shattered my ego and I quit.

I loved it when I was doing it. I wanted to get into the game industry when I graduated. It didn’t work out, though. I wind up a developer at a healthcare corp. It was like real life Office Space.

Fuck. I wasn’t expecting to get hit in the feels like this so early in the morning 😆

I just remembered another story! My first assignment for this class I made a clone of Asteroids. The TA failed me and reported me to the university for plagiarism. Not because I copied an Atari game, but because he said I copied the code.

The code in question was some math to calculate the acceleration and velocity of ship. I used radians and pi and shit, and the vector math I learned in my physics class. He said there’s no way I could have come up with that myself. And I was like I didn’t, generations of mathematicians and physicists did. I had to appeal to the professor and she was cool and shut it all down and basically called the TA an idiot.

1 Like

Eff that! You should totally get back into it.

Word. If you got any of it left and cared to share it one way or another, I’d love to see it.

I’ve made an Android game like 10 years ago. I’m not sure you can even launch it but maybe you can cause it’s very basic and only uses basic android components. On the play store it’s called Chose to Survive. It’s basically a board game cause I liked the intrigue part of Civilization-style game but felt it’s too diluted in between mechanics demanding a lot of your attention.

But I’m not sure, is this about boardgames? Or games that are good?..

1 Like

Made way too many games. I started as a kid when I got bored playing with little green army men, and started creating rules for how things worked. Then I started making rules for play-by-mail style games (didn’t actually have the chance to play any, but reading about them was enough to get the basic idea), and when I got a PC, I started programming simple arcade games in QBasic. Been working on something pretty much consistently since then (also boardgames, but mostly PC and later mobile).

Created “Pirates and Traders” on Android for fun when that became available here in 2010, and since then I’ve mostly been working on that and it’s sequel. Someday I’ll get around to the point where I can actually work on something “new” again.

1 Like

Thanks. Here’s a link to the png files of all the cards:

I don’t really know how to use colours, but the crayon brush I used goes a long way to hide the fact that I’m only somewhat good at drawing outlines. The trick is to find the right level of detail for the size of the image you’re making and the size of the brush you’re using. You can see in Goblin Market that I’m stretching the limits – the detail on the goblin is a bit too fine for a card.

(The cards are actually quite big; our printing technician suggested A7 which is half a postcard)

Edit: there’s 48 images in that link; click the A-Z filter if it doesn’t show you everything at once.

1 Like

This is so good, not only are the characters so disctintive, but your animals are adorable! I’m gonna look at all the text and grab the little pieces of lore that I can gather.

Yeah, the art is really very good, @Space_Inhabitant!

Oh yeah, forgot that during a three week lull between projects in 2001, I built a CounterStrike map of the studio, which mostly meant texturing boxes with digital photos.

We’d play after work, and it was a trip to blast away at everyone in the office, in the office. I found myself paranoid in real life to go down the hall to the bathroom in a straight line, it was a sniping corridor.

1 Like