August blog

Creeping Souls?

6 years ago, I was sitting inside my school’s computer room during lunch. At the time I had no idea about game development as a career and wasn’t even thinking about my future. All I knew at this time was that I loved to develop games, share them, and make people experience something. It was during this lunch break that my teacher said to me “That looks good, how about you enter that into the YICT competition”. This was the start of my journey as a game dev. From that moment on I had a goal and an attachment to game development which lead me down the path to where I am today. In that time, I have developed a wide range of games, including releasing An Aspie Life on Steam. I've been to various gaming events (such as GCAP and Free Play), exhibited at PAX twice, and won a range of awards in 2017 for An Aspie Life.

In doing this, I have gained significant experience in the Australia’s game development community. If there was one word to sum it up, that would be small. On 28 November 2019, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) released a report on Australia's Games development scene from 2018 -2019showing there are currently only 1275 full-time game developers in Australian (IGEA, 2019). 21% of those jobs are in located in Brisbane, as are 20% of Australia’s total studios(that is only around 318 positions in Brisbane). That is a very small amount, but it is a significant increase if you compare this data to the same report from 2 years ago. Then, Brisbane only held 14% of Australia’s game design companies. While there were only 928 full time jobs in the whole country then (IGEA, 2017), somewhere around only 90 – 150 jobs were based in Brisbane. I In the span of only 2 years, the industry has grown rapidly., which does lend some hope as to full time employment in Brisbane. To increase my chances of landing one of these positions, I need to have skills that match the platforms for studios in Brisbane. Many studios in Brisbane focus on mobile games development(some notable studios being Half Brick and Gameloft Brisbane). To get a better understanding, I did some research. In the same 2018-2019 IGEA report, they listed the platforms that Australian studios develop for:

(IGEA, 2019)

73% of games are released for PC, 55% for mobile platforms, and 30% for VR. If we compare this to the same report two years earlier

(IGEA, 2017)

In 2017 only 17% of games where made for VR (IGEA, 2017). This shows a jump of 13% in only 2 years, and these numbers are expected to rise as the market for VR develops (as it becomes cheaper to get a headset). At the same time, we can see that mobile comes second in terms of the highest developed platforms in Australia. These conclusions are backed up by a report from the International Game Developers Association in 2019 titled ‘Developer Satisfaction Survey 2019’,which surveyed developers from across the world. In this, participants where asked what platforms are important for future growth.

(International Game Developers Association, 2019).

Here we can see that VR was selected by 37% of participants,along with Mobile platforms (android iOS) which was selected by 53- 50% of participants (International Game Developers Association, 2019). Given this, I have drawn the conclusion that it is best to develop a game for both VR and mobile platforms to expand my skills in these key areas and allow me to increase my employment possibilities. This game will be a horror game that will involve the player protecting themselves from a stone horror monsters. I want to port this project to mobile VR, PC and VR headsets. As a result, I have made a choice to not use any controls(only the head movement of the VR device). This comes with a lot of restrictions as to what I can do, but that helps with the horror element. So, time fora nice pitch of the project! Creeping Souls is a mobile VR horror game in which the player must survive (if they can) from stone monsters. These monsters slowly move towards the player when they are not looking. The player needs to stare at an enemy (when they do, it resets them to their start location). If one of the monsters reaches the player, the player dies and its game over. The game goes on until the player dies.

Overall, I think this will be a simple game to develop. The AI for the enemies is very simple to code. Most of the work will come from presentation and polish to make the game have that horror expect,such as flickering lights, animations, and gameplay environments. I expect the area I will have the greatest issues with will be performance polish(including getting the application to run on a mobile at a stable frame rate). This means a lot of playtesting on a range of devices, which will take a lot of time. Regardless, I am very confident I can develop it. The key outcomes form developing itwill be an increased understanding of VR development and mobile development. This experience will help me with my design choices in the future. I have plans to move into VR development, and experiment with the possibilities this new platforms provides. It will also help my portfolio to potential employers, showing I have knowledge in developing for both platforms. Overall, by the end I should have a simple but well-polished product, that is to be released on both Google play and Steam.

Bradley Hennessey

Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA). (2017). Industry snapshot FY 2016- 2017 [PDF].

Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA). (2019). Industry snapshot FY 2018- 2019 [PDF].

International Game Developers Association. (2019, November). Developer Satisfaction Survey 2019 Summary Report 20 November 2019.