Hi, I’m Daisy. I’m 13 years old, and I programme games.
Today I’m going to tell the story of how I became a video game creator in a year.
I’m a pretty average person who does well in school and spend my free time doing things I enjoy, such as playing video games.
Anyone out there who plays video games will probably know the frustration of not being the best at the game, or not being a professional. That’s when I had the idea that if I had my own game, I could know all the ‘ways’ of the game and be the best.
Now, my mum is a software developer so she was totally into the idea of me starting programming. I’d had previous experience with it, coding in Python on a Raspberry Pi, learning HTML and coding simple Minecraft plugins for servers.
I set about finding out how to create games at age 12, and making some simple things like quizzes and guess the number—simple things like that, although I made them from a text editor, and they had no graphics. In my 12-year-old mind, I wanted to have made a game that was like Fortnite, something popular and interesting. Then my mum suggested using the Unity Game Engine. I started watching tutorials and downloaded the free personal version. Tutorials generally lasted around one to three hours, which was way too long for me since I’m impatient (it took me double the time since I had to keep pausing and replaying bits), and then I stumbled upon a Unity User’s YouTube channel—Blackthornprod. Noa made videos that averaged at around eight minutes, on small parts of video games. This got me going, and I started commenting on his videos, suggesting ideas that would help me, and no doubt others out. I had a 2D platformer in mind, because after seeing a game called Hollow Knight and researching it, I found it was made in Unity and Photoshop, which are the two softwares I have.
However, I became discouraged when I couldn’t make good art or animations for my game, because I kept comparing myself to other, experienced artists, and kept raising my own, already high, standards.
Then I discovered Ludum Dare, a game making contest where you have 48 hours to create and submit a game. I thought this would be a good place to create my first game and practise working with deadlines, so I waited till the weekend (when Ludum Dare began), and got my ‘game’ on.
After a couple hours of trying to create art on Photoshop, I quickly switched over to pixel art, and created some simple pixel art (inspired by the Hollow Knight character).
The game had a lot of flaws, and I mean a lot. The double jump ended up turning into flying, crystal shards were on the wrong layer so they were invisible, collecting the invisible shards was useless, and there was never really anything to tell you when the game was over, which made a lot of the friends that I told about the game annoyed as they’d spent a lot of time trying to look for the next level.
Nevertheless, I uploaded it to a game hosting website called itch.io, and submitted it to Ludum Dare. I got five or six comments on it that were all positive, but with good criticism, and the game got over 52 plays in a few weeks. Although this may not seem like much, it’s an achievement I’m still proud of today.
After this small success, I’m continuing to make games and learn, giving presentations to new year groups at school to try and inspire them to start programming, and running a small computing club at lunchtimes with some friends.
I became a game creator for free, self taught, on my family computer. If I can do it then you can. All it costs is some time, dedication and practise.
Also for anyone wondering, the game can be found here—it’s called Incompatible Worlds.
Thank you very much for reading my story, I hope this was interesting.