N-Fibbin stated the following regarding his introduction to game development:
"When I was young my friend let me borrow the newest and greatest game "Halo: Reach". The game had just been released and featured an in-depth campaign, and many cutting edge features for its release in September of 2010. It had quality multiplayer that still stands as a great defining feature of the Halo franchise. However the thing that caught the attention of young N-Fibbin was the extensive and refined Forge Mode, which had undergone detailed refinement following its early implementation in Halo 3. Forge was a great tool for any player to pick up and experiment and explore the editor and worlds that it had to offer. Forge put the power in the hands of the player, letting them create whatever they desired, as long as it followed specific criteria such as staying within established map bounds and budgets, and only being able to add objects from the game.
I loved this feature, I could literally create anything I wanted to, as most of my early experience comprised of me and my friends messing around spawning ridiculous objects and not really achieving anything in particular.
As time moved on, I matured to the point of wanting to create something my friends and I could enjoy in our usually scheduled LAN parties (where we would gather and play custom maps and game modes typically found on the file browser) And with the release of Halo 4 from Microsoft and 343, I set my sights on creating maps for me and my friends to play during these LAN parties.
In my opinion, the Halo 4 forge mode was the apex of the franchise as it offered large open worlds for players to create endless amounts of maps and share them with others. It's controls were simple enough that given how young I was I was still able to manipulate and eventually master precise object placement that was crucial to making good multiplayer maps.
It was only at this point that I knew that I wanted to become a game designer full time. It was only after I saw all the fun we had together playing something I had made, that my hard work had payed off and my friends even started liking certain maps over others. This helped me establish a good system at this point.
My friends would gather monthly for LAN parties and I was designated as the map maker of our group. This would give me some of the main points of game development: Motivation, A Timeline, Testing, and a Payoff. My motivation was to make maps that were enjoyable and balanced, for all of my friends came from different platforms and experience with the Halo Games, so I made them relatively simple but enjoyable. The Timeline was on a monthly basis and I worked whenever I had free time. The testing was an interesting aspect as I would often work on maps, then switch gears to something else, leaving my progress only half done on certain maps, resulting in me having a catalog of maps I was certain were finished, and others that I was unsure were even 10% finished; my friends had a lot of patience as we would often cycle through maps, starting a game only to realize the map wasn't finished and switching to another one. The payoff was self-explanatory, when we really had a good time playing different game modes and maps I created, my confidence would boost motivating me to make more maps, thus restarting the whole cycle. "
If you happen to be wondering how this experience ties to our game development here at Northward Games, allow me to elaborate.
One cannot simply master any art in a mere matter of good experiences, the most renowned painters and writers dont get to where they are overnight, and neither did we here at Northward. It's vital to know what you can do, how well you can do it, and what you can do to improve that.
Many of our maps for our upcoming comedic first person shooter will come from these games. These maps will go back to the drawing board of course, as we look at how we can improve their flow, movement, and the strategy involved while playing.
The long and short of this post is simple, our experience from what we can do well is transferring over to how we make games. We want to improve and make things that everyone can enjoy, and by analyzing what has worked in the past we can build upon that and craft quality games in the process.
N-Fibbin is the founder of Northward Games, and acts as the blog Author for Development Posts