Blood, sweat and pixels - why is it so hard to make games?

Blood, sweat and pixels - why is it so hard to make games?

Emilia Tyl bio photo By Emilia Tyl Comment

tl;dr: Cool book about the making of ten great games, written in clear, accessible language, which everyone can understand. If you’re curious how game dev works and what difficulties it faces and why your anticipated game is delayed once again - just read it. :)

My whole career revolves around game development. When I started studying IT, I considered this branch of programming as especially complicated, hard and requiring extraordinary skills. Then I got involved in mobile games development in the Unity engine, where I could utilize my favourite language - C#. The projects I work on are, well, small, free to play casual games. Hyper casual even, as the latest Splashy Cube. So despite being in this industry for over 5 years, I had no real notion of how the AAA games are made. Until I read this book, I could only imagine how this process looks like, what are the struggles of programmers and designers and how hard it is to polish the game and release it.

This book allowed me to take a peek at the backstage. Ten different games - ten different games, each facing different, but somewhat similar troubles. Each story makes us closer to finding the answer to the question asked in the title of this post. There are stories of Kickstarter instant hits, but also about Kickstarter struggles. Stories about big studios dealing with its size and desperately needing money as well as the story about a one-man team, also desperately needing money. Getting along with a publisher and leaving a publisher to declare independence. Countless iterations in seek of perfection, sometimes found two years after releasing a game. You’ll see the magic word “crunch” a lot. Title blood and sweat is apparent in every story, there is also a big dose of passion and commitment to making the best product. I love how the author depicts peaks and thoughts of every game’s production in such an involving and interesting way, that each chapter felt like a separate novel. I just couldn’t put off the book until I finished the whole story. I even have to admit that I shed a tiny little tear when I was reading the last one.

There was only one game that kind of failed my expectations. The second-to-last one, The Witcher 3. I was really looking forward to reading it, as I am Polish and as this is my by far the favourite game of all time. There is just too much sugar in that story and it lacks that honesty which I felt in other ones.

I took some notes after reading the book to write about them in this post, but I decided not to spoil it to you. If you’re wondering how does making big games look like, just read the damn book. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the game dev industry and it’s vocabulary. The author thoroughly explains every technical and specific topics in footnotes, so that everyone can follow the story.

I totally recommend this book. I give it 6/6, as it is interesting, one of a kind and left me really inspired.

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