A few years ago, I made a new years resolution to get in shape, lose weight and to feel much better about myself in general by the start of the next year. In the end, I lost 60 lbs, got laser eye surgery, and improved the way I presented myself by leaps and bounds. Having a goal and a timeline really kept me going and was a big part of the success.
A year later, I needed another goal. Before falling into electrical engineering, as a kid and all the way through high school I wanted to work on video games. Every video game I ever played was an encapsulated experience and introduced the player into a new way of thinking, told a great story, or brought people together to compete and explore.
I decided that my new goal was to create a game.
Video games are my bread and butter, but I don't have any significant programming knowledge or skill. I actually quit a job because I just couldn't hack it as a programmer. I wracked my brain for ideas and played board game nights at a co-workers when I decided that a card game sounded the most fun. I thought up the rules, prototyped it with some bicycle cards, and even play tested it. Simple right? I had enough under my belt to say that yes, I made a game. It was a very rough alpha but the game was mine.
This year, I decided that that wasn't enough. As I was working on the game, I learned about the Cards Against Humanity independent game design competition. I now had my timeline. I wanted to take it all the way, take it to a place where not only was it polished enough to give to strangers, but also look presentable as well and nice enough that a professional wouldn't second guess it.
That was four months ago, where I started with sharpie on a poker deck, and now it's playable, printable and polished. It's a little mind boggling how far the game has come with testing, and sharing it with friends and strangers. It's weird, but as the project has evolved I'm growing more confident in it's existence. It's so validating to play it with a group of people for the first time and they tell me that it's really fun.
Ultimately my plan is to keep polishing, and getting it ready to submit to the Tabletop Deathmatch (http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/deathmatch/) in addition to some other independent game competitions and reviewers. Hopefully at some point I can put together enough support to put it on Kickstarter and maybe sell it at some point. I'm not designing a game to get rich, but having something that you put time and effort into resonate with people is an extremely satisfying feeling.