Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2017


Computer games – not as easy as it looks

Many people learn to code because they want to write a computer game. More often than not, they want to re-write their favourite game, but making it a little easier! Unfortunately the gap between a personal project, open source game, and professional offering is substantial, with the lack of polish obvious at every turn. In this talk, Steven Goodwin, a game developer of 20 years standing (and 3 books on the subject), dissects each discipline (art, music, writing, and code) to explain where polish should be added and why it’s so rare to see open source games as effective as their commercial counterparts.

In theory, an open source game should be much better than a commercial version. After all, as a group, we have more resources at our disposal, over more time, in order to build more assets, write more code, and fix more bugs. But that’s rarely true. Our efforts look rushed and amateur in comparison. After a brief discussion on the meta-problems of open source game development we look at each discipline and demonstrate what needs to be written to improve the game, details of simple, but effective, visual improvements that can be done with very little effort, and how certain functionality can be implemented in order to make a game shine. The talk also includes a checklist of features implemented in Space Bounce that, while you might not have noticed them, you would certainly realize if they weren’t there.


Photo of Steven Goodwin Steven Goodwin