Pete in Gamification Land: How I made my first game



In this blog post I will talk a bit about how I decided to make a game for our website and what that process and experience was like.

I always enjoyed being creative. Since a young age I loved LEGO because they gave me the chance to make whatever I wanted. I created my own castles and homes for my heroes and villains.

Growing up my creativity found an outlet in music. I am not really talented at playing music but I love writing music and taking a recording from A to Z. I think I learnt how to project manage through these experiences in music.

 When I got into gamification my first project was to design a gamified training tool for managers. A process I thoroughly enjoyed and taught me a lot. That project was never completed though and I felt the urge to take something from A to Z like I could do with music.

I convinced Pete to let me work on a game for our website that would help us promote the new framework we made. I believed that a gamification company should have a game for everyone to play on their website so I started messing around with Construct 2, a simple tool to make HTML5 games. I had never made a video game of any kind in my life before and the task was frightening to say the least. I quickly realised that making everything from scratch on my own would not be easy.

I decided to go with pixel art style graphics which I really like and I thought would be easier to make. Graphics proved to be maybe the biggest challenge of this whole project as I quickly realised how hard it is to make pixel art. It’s basically like trying to make a painting without ever being trained on how to make one. It took me some time to get the hang of it and make some visuals that were decent and of course super simple. After that came the gameplay. What would I have players do in such a game? I decided to make an endless runner because again it was fairly simple to get the basic controls down on Construct 2. Last came the text and the simplistic story to tie it all together and let people know why I made this game in the first place.

The whole experience was a fantastic learning curve. I did something completely new to me, learned how to use a new tool and made something I shared with the world and helps us get our message across. I also learned how easy it is for a project like this to take much more time than what I initially thought and expected. It took me some time to really understand how Construct 2 works and how I can improve the game so it works well even on mobile devices for example.

If you want to make something similar from scratch my advice would be, be very patient and have a clear goal. Having a purpose always helps me keep working on something even when things are not going great or deadlines are fast approaching and stress really gets to you. Another thing would be to keep it simple even if you think it’s too simple. The first of anything you make is not going to be great. If it serves its purpose then you have succeeded. The same goes with music, video or drawing. Set small goals and try and achieve them step by step, otherwise it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the high standards you set for the project and yourselves. Also, try and get as much feedback as possible from testers. Having people play it and tell me what works and what needs improvement was very important! 

Please try Pete in Gamification Land out and let me know what you think and what I should make after that!

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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