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An Account & Evaluation of Ozymandias’ Technology Development

In this article I pose the question ‘How should independent game developers approach the development and management of middleware technologies?’ and outline the approach we adopted at Ozymandias Australia, the state of our current technology, and the lessons which may be extracted. The article is quite lengthy, and I encourage you to click the links above to jump straight to the section which most interests you or matches your topic expertise. Thanks for reading.

The Question of Technology

Video game development is both complex and complicated, arguably even more so for independent developers who must often wear many different hats. Rather than implement every game from scratch, developers therefore exploit common technologies to minimise unnecessary repetition, reduce complexity, increase reliability, and expedite the completion of their projects. After all, implementing gameplay logic is sufficiently challenging without needing to simultaneously implement linear algebra and scene graphs.

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Developers may approach the management of this technology in diverse ways. A multitude of off-the-shelf solutions are available for most mass-market platforms, including both free and commercial products. Unity and Unreal are among the most popular commercial technologies currently available to independent developers, but many employ lower-level frameworks for 2D game development. Developers may otherwise choose to develop their own, proprietary solutions which cater to their unique needs. Whilst comparatively demanding and resource-intensive in most cases, custom solutions afford developers many advantages in terms of flexibility and skill development. Developers may also integrate existing technologies into their custom solutions to garner the same advantages such middleware brings to game development. So, with such a diverse range of approaches, how should independent game developers approach the development and management of their middleware technologies?

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Ozymandias Australia was a game development company I operated from 2010 through to 2017, during which we developed a suite of custom technologies intended to facilitate more efficient and ambitious game development projects. Lessons learned during the development of our first commercial title informed their inception as a hybrid of custom extensions to existing frameworks. Hard-gained marketing experience and skill development guided their evolution into a comprehensive, mid-level, cross-platform solution. Ultimately, there is no universally correct answer to the question of how independent developers should approach technology development and management. The approach we adopted at Ozymandias Australia conferred significant resource costs and contributed to the company’s failure. Yet it also conveyed many advantages, and the correct approach in any individual case depends on how the developer wishes to balance the immediate demands of business and long-term skill development; with many caveats and pitfalls along the way. I hope to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of our approach, and some of the lessons which may be extracted for independent game developers considering their own approach.

Sub-Sub-Heading Baby

Ozymandias Australia was a game development company I operated from 2010 through to 2017, during which we developed a suite of custom technologies intended to facilitate more efficient and ambitious game development projects. Lessons learned during the development of our first commercial title informed their inception as a hybrid of custom extensions to existing frameworks. Hard-gained marketing experience and skill development guided their evolution into a comprehensive, mid-level, cross-platform solution. Ultimately, there is no universally correct answer to the question of how independent developers should approach technology development and management. The approach we adopted at Ozymandias Australia conferred significant resource costs and contributed to the company’s failure. Yet it also conveyed many advantages, and the correct approach in any individual case depends on how the developer wishes to balance the immediate demands of business and long-term skill development; with many caveats and pitfalls along the way. I hope to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of our approach, and some of the lessons which may be extracted for independent game developers considering their own approach.

Sub-Sub-Heading Baby

Ozymandias Australia was a game development company I operated from 2010 through to 2017, during which we developed a suite of custom technologies intended to facilitate more efficient and ambitious game development projects. Lessons learned during the development of our first commercial title informed their inception as a hybrid of custom extensions to existing frameworks. Hard-gained marketing experience and skill development guided their evolution into a comprehensive, mid-level, cross-platform solution. Ultimately, there is no universally correct answer to the question of how independent developers should approach technology development and management. The approach we adopted at Ozymandias Australia conferred significant resource costs and contributed to the company’s failure. Yet it also conveyed many advantages, and the correct approach in any individual case depends on how the developer wishes to balance the immediate demands of business and long-term skill development; with many caveats and pitfalls along the way. I hope to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of our approach, and some of the lessons which may be extracted for independent game developers considering their own approach.

Sub-Sub-Heading Baby

Ozymandias Australia was a game development company I operated from 2010 through to 2017, during which we developed a suite of custom technologies intended to facilitate more efficient and ambitious game development projects. Lessons learned during the development of our first commercial title informed their inception as a hybrid of custom extensions to existing frameworks. Hard-gained marketing experience and skill development guided their evolution into a comprehensive, mid-level, cross-platform solution. Ultimately, there is no universally correct answer to the question of how independent developers should approach technology development and management. The approach we adopted at Ozymandias Australia conferred significant resource costs and contributed to the company’s failure. Yet it also conveyed many advantages, and the correct approach in any individual case depends on how the developer wishes to balance the immediate demands of business and long-term skill development; with many caveats and pitfalls along the way. I hope to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of our approach, and some of the lessons which may be extracted for independent game developers considering their own approach.

A Beginner’s Naïve Approach

When I founded Ozymandias Australia in 2010 it consisted of only Liam Alkamraikhi and myself, beset by the rising floodwaters of the Brisbane River and rapidly diminishing employment prospects in the Australian game development industry. Liam and I had both majored in game design at the Queensland University of Technology. Liam, already a skilled designer and artist, was responsible for art; whereas programming was my responsibility. However, whilst I had gained some invaluable experience developing games and software to complement my education, I was not yet a passingly competent developer. Unfortunately, it was this lack of experience that would drive the early phases of the company’s development.

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Nathan Runge

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