Bit late

Posting this a bit late today. I’m in Atlanta, Georgia at the moment visiting family here. Actually staying at the house my aunt Sara and uncle Phil have on their property I had never seen before.

Funny thing is, Phil is the person that convinced me to start a company; to become an entrepreneur. I didn’t always plan to be an entrepreneur. My order for my desired profession as I grew older was fire fighter, then everything, then everything but a wrestler, then quantum physicist, then game developer, and finally entrepreneur after all those.
On a trip to the beach in North Carolina in 2009, I one day took a walk with Phil. He asked me about what I wanted to do from this point forward since I would be graduating high school the next year. I told him I wanted to make games, and after getting a bit more specifics, he asked where I wanted to work. I said that I didn’t really know for sure, but named a few companies whose work I was fond of.

Quickly after that, Phil told me that he thought I should start my own company instead of working somewhere else. He gave several reasons, along the lines of having to do the grunt work when working at other places, and being able to have freedom when working on my own.

Much like other times in my life, I made a decision that day that didn’t seem as large as it would end up being. I didn’t know how soon after that that it would all be beginning, either (which ended up being 2011, or 2010 depending on how you look at it). Being an entrepreneur in games has transformed my life in a huge way, and I’m glad that I had that talk with my uncle on the beach that day.

Until next time,

~David Klingler

Without Form

I started the prototype of my first game, Cool-B in Search of Floyd, in December of 2010. I made it in two days, finishing at the airport on the way home from my university in another state (yes, I was there for Computer Science). At the very beginning of January following that, I found out that the school had a meeting about my health (which was absolutely horrible at the time) and they decided that it would be best for me to stay home on medical leave for a while until I got better to come back.

Now, I know this was not for academic reasons. I was doing extremely well there. It was because they cared. I knew this at the time, but I was still upset because I didn’t want to get behind my classmates in terms of progress in the Computer Science program.

After finding out about having to stay home on medical leave, I was thinking, “I can’t just sit around and do nothing.” I decided to give myself a big challenge: make my first video game completely by myself using an engine I make using a programming language I don’t know yet — all at the point in my life in which my health was the worst.

As you can see today, I completed that challenge. The language I chose was C#, I made the engine itself (all the rendering, asset handling, loading processes, game systems, etc.) using the beautiful XNA framework, and I did all the music, graphic assets, design, code, etc. completely alone. It took a while because I didn’t really know what I was doing very much at all for the longest time during that process, but also because of something that I ended up learning the hard way…

I felt tremendous external pressure to rush the development of the game. Therefore I worked normally 17 hours a day, 7 days a week, for several months in a row. I apparently would fall asleep at the dinner table, then eat really quickly when I woke up and go right back to the computer.

…I released the game, but it never did get up to a standard with which I was satisfied. I wanted to make an honest and personal game about my cats, Cool-B and Floyd. I wanted to have a lot of meaning and purpose hidden in this “childlike game about hope” so much that it ended up being confusing to most everyone and was just dismissed mostly as a game with poor craftsmanship.

To this day, I don’t think a single person has found and understood all the things I put in that game that were meant to affect the player’s perspective on life and games. The game as I said was mostly just dismissed by people, and I would say probably one person was able to see the game mostly for what it was for. I also did receive dozens and dozens of encouraging emails for years after the game came out. Either way, I moved on after that.

By the way, you can still get Cool-B in Search of Floyd on GameJolt for free on PC and Mac. Also, the mobile version can be found on the App Store for iOS, and the Google Play Store for Android. The game is free on all platforms.

The university I was talking about earlier was Neumont University in Utah. It was in South Jordan at the time, but is now in Salt Lake City. I never did go back, mainly because I was headfirst into game development, but I have much respect for that school, and I was lucky to have that experience in my life.

Until next time,

~David Klingler