Why Cave Defender

TL;DR:

I’m making a VR tower defense game for Google Cardboard (iOS and Android) and can’t wait to launch it. I would appreciate it if you subscribe for development updates here.

Back in April 2016

I participated in the Global Archiact Jam and made a little tower defense game for Google Cardboard. It was great getting something small shipped in less than a month, especially on a new medium like Virtual Reality. I had strong opinions about VR for some time and I felt like I should do some work in the space. The result was the first prototype build of Cave Defender.

Inspiration

My interest in game development began in childhood and I worked in the industry for over five years. I’m also inspired by local indie studios like Hinterland, RAC7, Slick Entertainment and Eden Industries. They vary in size but all have achieved incredible things. This year I decided to start working on a full product release of Cave Defender. 

I want to make a great game experience for the Cardboard platform. There is a lot of untapped potential for VR and I want to work within the current constraints to make something engaging.

I also want to launch an indie game title to check that bucket-list item off, as well as have it as a reference of a shipped product.

The road so far

The game jam build of Cave Defender got good feedback from other game jam participants. I had (willing) family, friends and coworkers try it and it seemed like I was on the right track.

For most of 2017 I worked on it irregularly. For a little while I was making steady progress by participating in #screenshotsaturday on Twitter: committing to share a screenshot with new content on a weekly basis.

In-game screenshot of Cave Defender from early in production

In-game screenshot from early in production

This worked for a little while but fizzled out.

In August I was re-inspired to resume working on the game after listening to the narrative design episode of the podcast PlayMakers by Jordan Blackman.

In Episode 6, Ed Kuehnel shared a lot of Narrative Design insight and recommendations. I started watching his YouTube channel videos and began reading many of the books he referenced. Cave Defender has a story thanks to him!

The plan is to make most of this game on my own. The main area I will likely reach out for help/find creative commons-licensed content for is audio and music. I’ve been practicing all the other necessary skills over the years but haven’t made it to music composition quite yet.

I’m now working on the game on a regular basis, making progress daily. I will also be posting updates soon.

Challenges along the way

  • Going from high-level vision to specific deliverables
  • Wearing several hats (engineer, designer, artist, marketer, etc)
  • Prioritizing working on the game
  • Wrestling with thoughts like I helped ship AAA games why I am having trouble with this

Working through these continues to be a great learning experience.

How you can help?

Getting this far in my article is very appreciated! Any likes, up-votes, subscriptions, retweets, etc are hugely appreciated as well. I’m excited to share more of the game as it gets closer to release. I hope to create something that inspires you to dust off your forgotten Cardboard and give it a try. Thanks for reading.

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