Robert Tamayo


Envision the Product, Not the Success

I don't have any tips on how to be successful. I don't even have any tips on how to make a really great product. But here's a shot at it.

1. Don't envision the success of a product. Focus on its quality.

Don't get caught up in ideas of how well-received your ideas will be. Most likely, no one will ever notice you or your original creations. So don't fantasize about being a rock star -- just focus on making good music. Don't imagine people talking about your games, just make good games.

2. Working together is better.

It takes me forever to make games because I make fairly long games for a solo developer. Bad Blaster wasn't super detailed in its art, and its only about 45 minutes long if you play straight through without dying. But it took me forever to make. 

Robot Ops is also a fairly long game; there are 4 characters with 6 weapons each, 48 levels across 16 different maps, 8 different environments, 10 enemy types, 12 enemy abilities, 10 powerups, and almost 30 different songs. It takes a long time to make each one of those things. If I split the work up between a few people, I would have been done with the coding part of the game much more quickly.

If you really want to go solo...

...the only advice I have is to reduce the type of work you have to do to the fewest different parts possible. By this I mean that you should focus on your strengths and change parts of the project into aspects of those strengths. Instead of drawing every character, animation, and ability for Robot Ops, I created them using procedural graphics. By doing the art in this way I was able to turn the job of the artist into a job for a programmer. 

A writer, for example, can tell a whole story by himself, whereas telling the same story in film would require actors as well. So if you want to tell a story but don't have camera skills, actor friends, or a huge budget for intergalactic travel, write a book instead of making a movie.

3. Don't sacrifice quality, but keep realistic expectations.

Do the best you can with what you have. Don't be ashamed of your work. Stand by it. But don't expect minds to be blown if you're just starting off.

I'm very early in my game development career. Robot Ops is sort of my game development reboot, and in this reboot, it's going to be my 3rd complete game. To me, it really feels like a third game. I'm just  starting out, and I'm still learning how things go.

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