Originally I intended to mention a couple of specific developers I respect, and I still will, but there’s a wider group of people that also deserve credit.
Those people are found in the credits that we never watch. The artists, the animators, the coders. These are the people who do the grunt work required to make the games we play. It’s not a nice job either. My understanding is that it’s a job with some extraordinarily long hours. So long that maintaining a personal and/or family life is difficult. I got a taste of hours similar once, but not as severe. I worked 11-12 hour days 6 days a week, plus a couple of Sunday’s to boot. Did it for a few months and paid a very heavy price in my personal life as a result.
These guys do more than that. Sometimes without the same compensation I received. They do it time and time again to my once. I wouldn’t even do it again if asked. I’d rather quit than do what I did again. It has a high rate of burn out as well.
Many of them do it because they have a passion for games and gaming. It’s a different way to channel the type of creative energy that I’m focusing into words. Those are the heroes that make our virtual worlds a reality.
Also exceptional to me are the solo developers out there. The people who sat down and made the whole thing. The art, the code, experience. All from the work of a single individual. People like Eric Barone aka ConcernedApe.
Stardew Valley is fairly well known. It was a runaway hit that had great timing. The Harvest Moon series that many of us grew up with was a pale shadow of itself that was mostly stuck in handheld purgatory. One man sat down and made his own game in that vein. Yeah, it took a while, but he did the artwork, the coding, and the support at launch. This guy was manually repairing people’s save files so they wouldn’t be forced to start over. I have a lot of respect for him and his game.
There’s another solo developer I’ve been follow named Francois Duret. He’s making a voxel based space game called Skywanderers. He’s already accomplished a lot and releases regular devlog videos and QoL updates. I think I might try to slide this title into one of my Sunday posts.
Digital Extremes. Certainly a larger developer and the two individuals mentioned here. I specifically brought them up to mention Warframe. I’ve played the game off and on for quite some time. I initially tried it on XBOX because it was free, and it felt like a FtP game too. It was really grindy and you only had four revives per day. You could, of course, buy more with cash currency if you ran out. Building new weapons required collecting seemingly obnoxious amounts of in-game currency and resources and took real time to complete. Naturally you can complete them instantly with cash currency.
It eventually became something more though. They changed the revives to being per mission and you’re no longer able to buy more. Yeah, almost everything in the game still has a build time for the patient, but can also be bought outright with cash currency if you wish. Almost everything in the game can be obtained by spending time instead of money. It’s one of the best implementations of FtP that I’ve seen. You can even sell parts to other players in exchange for the cash currency, you don’t technically have to purchase it, though somebody has to.
One thing I like is that they have one Warframe that was a founder’s pack item, Excalibur Prime. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been any other way to obtain it. I admire their willingness to keep that as an exclusive, even though that means I’ll never have it. It makes it mean something, a true exclusive.