What if we could have fun AND make stuff?
GameDev Breakdown has been around for a long time.
I started the podcast in my earliest days as an indie developer and budding industry journalist without any huge goals for the show. I had podcasted elsewhere and came to enjoy the process, and I thought it might be a nice way to catch listeners up on my content if they didn’t have an opportunity to sit down and browse around the website.
Since that time, I’ve worked with multiple cohosts, recapped hundreds of news stories, covered events, and worked with sponsors, major book publishers, TV networks, game studios, and more. It’s been incredibly rewarding. I’ve made a ton of friends (guests, listeners, and others), and I’ve learned loads about the process of developing and producing a show.
Among the most important lessons I’ve picked up along the way are:
- Don’t continue to grind at it if you stop having fun.
- If you’re unhappy, change something.
Podcasting has become one of a few things in my life I can’t bring myself to give up. It’s never made me a ton of money, and the connections I’ve made didn’t exactly launch a new career in the industry, but I’ve always enjoyed trying to put together the best product I can for folks to listen to and (hopefully) enjoy.
Of course, there are other activities I don’t want to be without, and I miss them. Obviously, I started the podcast to talk about game development. I’ve always been passionate about that. The learning process alone shaped my teen years and helped me develop skills that brought me out of absolute poverty. Even in a region with virtually no industry presence, I was able to provide for myself and later my family using the skills I developed in software development and project management. Similarly, writing has always helped me interpret and explore the world around me. I love trying to use my writing to entertain.
In recent years (especially after the start of the pandemic), podcasting well has become a full-time job. It’s difficult to do much else if you’re doing it right. I’m happy to say I learned the craft when it was mostly hobbyists and other goofballs like myself, and things were simpler. I went to a podcast “masterclass” event in 2017 where Radio Hall of Famer Norm Pattiz said we still hadn’t reached the golden age of podcasting. I’d just flown from St. Louis to Irvine to pitch a show to a major podcast network along with what looked like hundreds of other hopefuls, so it was difficult to believe at the time, but he was absolutely right. Radio talent, celebrities, and star athletes have all started to trickle into the scene, and Covid positively supercharged it, so the competition is…formidable.
I’m happy about the changes because more talent has led to more listeners which has led to more business opportunities for those of us who keep at it. I also just love the format. I was a talk radio listener growing up, and listening to my favorite comedians and entertainers has been fantastic.
All that said, if I’m going to bother continuing, I have to up my game.
I firmly believe that the best thing I can do for listeners is to make sure that I’m having fun and anyone who joins me for an episode is having fun too. To do this, I need to be able to incorporate everything possible that I love, the writing, the friends, the development, and the things that catch my interest along the way.
My solution? A new format. Moving forward, I want to create stuff with friends. In upcoming episodes, I’ll have a guest join me and we’ll check in like usual. We’ll hear what they’re up to, and hopefully we’ll do all the usual goofing off that I enjoy so much. We’ll also have a goal to accomplish: to make a video game.
With each guest, I’ll brainstorm ideas for a game using genres they enjoy, things we’ve been thinking about, topical stories, anything goes. We’ll treat the discussion like the beginning of a game jam. By the end of the chat, we should have a clear picture of what we want to make together. If the guest has the ability and desire, they’re welcome to help with the creation of the game. Otherwise, I’ll take care of the dev work.
By the time each episode airs on podcast platforms and YouTube, there should be some small part of that game brought to life. If it’s even remotely playable, I’ll upload it to Itch for fun and examination. It won’t be pretty, but maybe it will at least be funny.
This format will allow me to tie in many of the things I love doing each day. It will provide listeners with opportunities to hear from interesting guests. Most of all, much more creativity and play will take place.
Without a doubt, there will be some format trial and error. I’ll rely on listeners, readers, and viewers to help me pin down the best way to go about it once in a while. My game dev skills may also prove to be rusty, but they’ll almost certainly return stronger than before!
I can’t wait to start the experiment. I’m in the booking process with the first set of guests now. I hope you’ll join me.