As I sit in front of my editor, I’m faced with the daunting task of drafting the first post of my blog. I’m having a bit of a writer’s block. I’ve learned so much from other great blogs, websites, and communities out there in the wild, without which I would be far worse of a developer. My goal for the site (in addition to being a host for my portfolio) is to give back to the game development community by sharing my projects and thoughts. Hopefully someone can benefit from what I post as much as I have from others.
But first, I feel an obligation to give credit to those who have inspired me in my journey so far. There’s certainly no way for this list to be comprehensive, and it will fall victim to being relevant to what I’m currently working on, but I don’t think the credit itself is my point with this list. My intent is to demonstrate how much providing simple content online can mean to a random person all the way across the world. It’s as simple as posting about your project, or something that interests you, or just taking a few screenshots. So without further ado…
A Short List of People Who Inspire Me
Keijiro Takahashi & Seiya Ishibashi
Keijiro Takahashi and Seiya Ishibashi (aka i-saint) are amazing developers from Japan who make awesome open-source projects (Keijiro, Seiya). Seriously, they are incredible, and other people think so too. Providing high-quality, advanced game development techniques for free has allowed me to examine them and grow as a developer myself. After learning about them I followed them on Twitter (Keijiro, Seiya), so now I get a steady stream of work-in-progress images. Also, Seiya has has a great blog, and even though I have to use Google Translate I’ve learned so much from his posts. In particular, I’ve been inspired by his raymarching experiments and his general level of polish with everything he does.
Red Blob Games
The Red Blob Games blog is run by Amit Patel. The level of detail he goes into with his tutorials is insane. His tutorial on hexagonal grids is probably the best article on a game development technique I’ve ever read. It includes the background theory, useful and dynamic graphics, lengthy discussion, side notes on tangential topics, and to cap it all off, a wide array of further reading. These are the qualities that all of his tutorials share. There is such a wealth of knowledge on that single site.
Sometimes, all you need to inspire is a large stream of .gifs. Strangethink, the mysterious developer out of Manchester, UK, is someone who I secretly idolize. S/he uses vibrant, neon colors and procedural generation to create enigmatic and compelling worlds. Just go to the itch page and try out the games. My favorite is Joy Exhibition, where you paint canvases with procedural spray guns. The interaction is pretty much as simple as that one-sentence description, but within that experience there is so much interesting and fun play. I think Strangethink is on the verge of a breakthrough of experimental gameplay. For me, just being able to witness this is a privilege.
Shadertoy is a website that blows my mind every time I visit. The idea behind it is to create images using only the fragment shader - and people have come up with things as wild as a physics-enabled driving simulator, a minesweeper clone, or a dolphin swimming in the ocean. I always wonder: “How are more people not aware of this?” This website is what generated my interest in using shaders creatively, and I come back from time to time to replenish my shader-making creative juices.
I think most every game developer is aware of GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) and just as many are aware of the GDC Vault. So if you’re one of the people living under a rock (or perhaps just new to the game dev world), you should seriously check it out. While full access to the vault requires a subscription, every year free content is released (somewhat unheralded) to the public. Most of my favorite talks of all time are from GDC, and they include Alexander Bruce’s An Overnight Success, Seven Years in the Making and Jane Ng’s The Art of Firewatch. Once again, it’s a great resource for finding inspiration and new directions to pursue in game development.
This is a tragically incomplete listing of the countless number of people and organizations that inspire me in game development. Posting it is my way of saying “thank you” to all the people who post great learning and inspirational content. It’s also the mark of me joining their ranks, and my only hope is to live up to a fraction of what I see around me every day.