Game Development and Filmmaking: An Insider’s Perspective
Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a game? Do you have an interest in game development but don’t know where to start? In this article, we’ll be diving into the mind of a UK-based videographer and game developer who has been in the industry for almost 20 years and has had a passion for both filmmaking and game design for nearly as long.
Meet Scott Tanner (Avenging Eagle), a videographer for a sight loss charity, who has previously worked as a freelance filmmaker. Scott has been using TGC products since 2005 and has been interested in filmmaking and game design for nearly two decades. In this article, Scott shares his experiences, insights, and tips on game development, offering a unique and personal perspective on the industry.
Getting Started in Game Development
For Scott, game development started as a childhood hobby, where he tried to make his own versions of games and films that inspired them. Quickly he discovered he was a creative kid and really enjoyed trying to make his own versions of stuff that he loved, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and games like Quake 2, Grand Prix 3, and Age of Empires just to name a few. Scott would sketch level layouts, enemies, and weapon designs and had “designed” over 50 game ideas as a kid. It wasn’t until 2005 when Scott discovered FPS Creator that finally found an accessible means of game creation and became instantly hooked.
Scotts’s favourite game project to work on was probably Acid Factory, a 1-level FPS Creator game made for a level design competition in 2009. The unique setting gave Avenging Eagle some great opportunities to use stark lighting and a sickly green and orange colour palette, as well as an excuse to use lots of horror tropes and create a thick, foreboding atmosphere. FPSC was actually pretty adept at making little horror games! Scott even enjoyed voice acting in it alongside a friend and writing some menu music for it, making it a memorable experience.
The Self-Motivation Challenge
One of the biggest challenges Scott faced in both their filmmaking and game development career was self-motivation. To do both of these disciplines, especially as a hobby in your free time, requires a lot of self-motivation. Sometimes a film or a game can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when you look at it in its entirety. Scott’s solution was to try breaking it down into tiny tasks and focus on completing the current task to the best of his ability. It’s important to know when to take a break and recharge, but once you’ve completed a project this way, it’s incredibly rewarding knowing you had it in you to persevere and deliver.
The Creative Process
Scott’s approach to the design and development of a game varies. Sometimes he starts with a story, constructing it a lot like he would structure a film idea, thinking of the narrative in terms of “acts” and “plot points”. Scott then splits this up into levels and works out a purpose for each one, but more recently he has changed this up and has been starting with the mechanics: what can I give the player to do and how can I introduce that? However he usually runs into technical difficulties, runs out of enthusiasm, or gets a fresh idea before he finishes the game that he is currently working on.
Scott finds that a lot of his ideas start out on paper, and if it’s a good one, they work on it further. He also says that the process of putting pen to paper helps them to clarify his thoughts and refine his ideas. By taking the time to write things down, Scott is able to break down complex ideas into manageable pieces, making it easier for them to see the connections between different aspects of the project.
Scott further explains that the physical act of writing helps to stimulate creativity and generates new ideas. This is because the act of writing engages different parts of the brain and encourages new ways of thinking. When he is stuck and can’t seem to come up with any new ideas, they often find that simply writing things down can help to kickstart the creative process and get their ideas flowing again.
Scott also emphasizes the importance of reviewing and refining his ideas. By looking at what they have written down, he is able to assess whether the idea is worth pursuing, and make any necessary changes or improvements. This allows him to continue to develop their ideas and turn them into more fully-formed projects.
For Scott, having a written record of his ideas is valuable not just for personal use, but also for sharing with others. Whether it’s a pitch to a potential collaborator, or just a way to organize their thoughts and keep track of their progress, having a written record of his ideas helps him to communicate effectively and ensure that their ideas are well-received by others.
For Scott, starting ideas on paper is a critical part of their creative process. Through the physical act of writing, he is able to clarify their thoughts, generate new ideas, and refine their existing ones, ultimately leading to more successful projects.
Find out more about Scott!
Check out Scot’s Youtube channel here