It was several years ago when I decided to make the move into developing games, thinking that I could leverage my programming skills as a developer to get involved with something that I was passionate about. But not just making games, making the game that I wanted to make. I began researching game engines looking for viable options. Being a VisualBasic.net programmer I quickly discovered my primary expertise wasn’t going to be of much use to me. In addition, I lacked the fundamental understanding of game making and its mechanics but, I already knew the type of game I wanted to make.

After researching multiple options, I settled on the decision to use Construct 2, a 2D game game engine. Practicing with this game engine to learn the to learn mechanics initially by prototyping a platformer for practice, and working the forums I quickly made a few developer friends.

Being a fan of such games as Rebel Assault 2 and Wing Commander, I shared my idea to create space simulator only to be told by developer friends, that making the type of games that I was describing really wasn’t possible in a 2D game engine and that I should strongly consider unity 3D or some other 3D game engine.

Disappointed, I abandoned my dream for a space simulator but, continued on with Construct 2 continuing to learn and prototype, determined to become a game developer.

I was somewhere between six and eight months in to the learning curve when one morning, sitting in front of the TV and working on a game, watching a re-run of XPlay, a half hour news program the covered the week’s latest gaming news, and there it was. Wing Commander, a fan base game project led by Chris Roberts of the now famous StarCitizen. I scrambled to hit the DVR button to record the episode. Re-watching it several times and with a new understanding of game development under my belt, I had an epiphany.

It was a week before Christmas and I had just been laid off for two weeks over the holiday season. Having some time on my hands I immediately went to work to see if I could develop the basic mechanic for the game and in just a few hours I had developed the basis for my new game, Final Contact.

I worked tirelessly on it for the next week, creating a simpler version of what is the now the first level of Final Contact. Of course, lacking confidence, I still had a lot of doubts about myself and the game, so I posted a short video of the game on the forum looking for developer’s feedback. To my surprise, the response was incredibly positive and complimentary, including a post from a high-ranking developer whose article I had just read a week earlier entitled, How to do a Successful Kickstarter, encouraging me to write some tutorials on how I accomplished some of the mechanics involved in the game’s design.

With a renewed determination and excitement, I went to work on Final Contact until; I came across and read the ebook entitled How to Make Money with HTML5 Games. Thinking this would be a great alternative approach to earn revenue to fuel my primary project, I became sidetracked in what I thought would an easy way to make an alternative income.

For the next year I endeavored to enter the seemingly lucrative market of licensing HTML5 games to publishers only to discover, it was not as easy as it sounded and incidentally, I have a great deal of respect for those that do do it successfully. For me, lacking a clear vision and a real feel for developing casual games, I experienced moderate success, leaving Final Contact on hold, periodically returning to continue its development however; in the course of developing a half dozen smaller games, I learned new mechanics and in each game I took different approaches in coding practices, further enhancing my skills. During the course of this time I spent a lot of time on forums, challenging myself to assist and aid other developers with issues in their own game development, further enhancing my abilities and forcing me to come up with new approaches to problem solving in game design. Of course, this experience was not a waste of time by any means. Besides making a lot of new and very talented friends, the time spent during this process helped me to develop and become inspired to come up with new creative solutions overcoming limitations normally presented in a 2D game development environment, making it possible to provide a pseudo 3D gaming experience with all the intensity of fast paced 2D game. I also spent time building proficiency with a number of softwares including 3D Studio Max, utilizing it to render 3D objects into 2D animations for the game.

It was almost two years and several marketing related endeavors later until I fully returned to developing Final Contact. During during that time, I faced a lot of criticism for even considering going into game development, especially after having only moderate success in the HTML5 games market but, after viewing Final Contact, several developers and avid gamer friends, encouraged me to continue work to develop Final Contact.

Suggested to me by a developer friend, that I should try make the game available playable for Steam, I returned to work. Rebuilding from the ground up at a higher dpi and based on the original prototype, I combined some marketing expertise and was able to raise awareness for the Final Contact project, breathing new life into it.

Possessing a passion, a clear vision, and by creating the game I wanted to play, Final Contact was finally resurrected and here we are today.

If you’re the aspiring game developer, my advice is to follow your dream. Focus on developing that one game that you’re passionate about and stick with it.

For everyone that supported and stuck by me, all the fans for this upcoming project, and everyone that was passionate enough about it to join the beta testers program, thank you.

I hope we’ll all have a lot of fun throughout the process and I’ll do my best to provide a great gaming experience.

Dominick Gentile