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  • One Year Of Game Dev After Graduation

    - Craig Robinson
  • Part 1: A Year in Review

    This begins in summer 2017 after I had graduated University. I ended up moving back home for a summer as I had no plans for post-graduate studies or employment.

    I struggled a lot over that summer attempting to come to terms with my life and my future. Before even entering the workforce I was filled with dread. I had no leads or connections to anything that interested me and was essentially left not knowing what to do or where to go.

    So I set a goal - take the summer off to figure things out, look for job prospects while attempting to further a hobby I started months prior - streaming Hearthstone. I was already pretty good at the game, making it to the top 500 players in North America previously, but had no following or community to speak of.

    This disaster of a room represented my state of mind at the time fairly well.  I promise I'm not usually that gross - my childhood bedroom was turned into my parents storage closet almost immediately after I left for university

    Streaming didn't turn out as well as I hoped for. As the summer went on my time at my parents soured due to my worsening mood and streaming habits. Streaming wasn't making much money and after 3 months I decided it wasn't the hobby for me despite being offered Twitch Affiliate.

    Near the end of the summer I received a job interview after hundreds of failed applications and landed a job near me at a local engineering firm. I moved out of my parents shortly after.

    Although this job may have not been exactly what I wanted it is able to support me well and for a time was interesting enough. My life normalized as the months went on, but something was missing. I didn't feel like I was doing things for myself, and I went on bored and unfulfilled. I started to contemplate ways I could break this rut, and thought of another hobby I had dabbled in prior - game development.

    During my university days I had spent some time coming up with concepts and ideas for a large scale game. A metroidvania about an unnamed cloaked character who used the light of his lantern to guide souls to the Underworld. I played with the concept for no more than a couple months before putting it aside to finish my studies.

    Lumen, the Soul Warden

    My only experience with actually making anything close to a game was my bout making and testing Mario Maker levels, where I would push the game to its limits by making Mariovanias - a genre that fit so poorly in Mario Maker's engine.

    After spending a few months working my feelings had not changed. I wanted to enjoy my life, not spend it cooped up at a desk for someone else's benefit. I wanted to have fun.

    Before deciding if it was even for me, I started gathering a team of my friends to work on an untitled metroidvania. Lumen's development unofficially began in October 2017.

    First ever Lumen concept by Spencer, November 2017

    Recruiting for Lumen ended up being much easier than expected. I am very lucky to have a group of friends with many unique talents and skills. Our team along with myself includes Dylan Zdrobov, Spencer Donoghue, Andrew Beach, Dylan Butson, and Mike Maclean.

    We all have ties to each other that make Buttery Games unique. I played house league soccer with Dylan Zdrobov for years, moshed with Spencer Donoghue at Andrew Beach's punk shows, stayed up late gaming with Dylan Butson and Mike Maclean too many times.

    Dylan Z, Craig, Spencer from left to right


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