Maybe you've got an unfinished RPG Maker experiment on your hard drive, or you made a text-based game in Twine. Maybe you tried your hand at Doom levels or a Team Fortress 2 cosmetic or a mod to fix that one annoying thing in an Elder Scrolls game.
Have you tried to make your own game or mod? And how did it turn out?
Here are our answers, plus some from our forum (opens in new tab).
Morgan Park: I love making stuff in Dreams, Media Molecule's surprisingly elaborate creation tool on the PS4 (and hopefully the PC (opens in new tab), eventually). Most of my creations are simple assets that others have used in their games—a bookshelf (opens in new tab), lint roller (opens in new tab), lamp (opens in new tab), light switch (opens in new tab), etc. I even threw together a few characters for games I want to make someday, like a sentient waffle (opens in new tab) for a 3D platformer, a shellshocked WWI medic (opens in new tab), and a remote-controlled spy briefcase. Cool ideas are one thing, but following through with level design, gameplay, and music is a huge undertaking. Making a proper game takes a solid grasp of the logic tools that I don't have yet. Someday!
Shaun Prescott: I made simple choose your own adventure style games in BASIC when I was a kid. Equipped with the PRINT, INPUT and GOTO commands, I could spend days on my old Amstrad CPC 464 making silly text adventures. More recently I have downloaded and messed about with Twine, which is an incredibly intuitive tool for making text adventure games. The problem, of course, is that you need the text, and that's very time consuming. I've always wanted to download Unity and learn it, but that's probably a task for another life. I did some Doom mapping as a teen too, which is a weirdly relaxing, even meditative activity. I keep meaning to pick it back up.
James Davenport: I made a series of microgames about the parts of my body, but only published a few. Some of them got a little too personal to share, like the one about lazily tugging at my nuts or the one about scratching scalp until it bleeds. They were part of an attempt to learn basic game development skills and to confront some super bad body dysmorphia. Homemade MS paint art, music from a junky synth and busted guitars—I love the messy DIY style. I don't know that making a game about fucking up some teeth or pulling individual beard hairs out of my face actually helped me in the long term, but they were certainly earnest and cathartic at the time. You can find those last two on Itch.io (A Videogame About My Teeth (opens in new tab) and Push (opens in new tab)). I wrote a few Twine games that I never released either, one of which was about roleplaying a kid mad at their dad. You could smash a mirror and piss on the radiator. There was a final score based on how mad you made him. Good fun. Most recently I took a stab at making a first-person narrative game about finding your dementia-addled parent in the woods at night. I made a Trello board, (bad) concept art, and everything. But I have no idea what I'm doing and not much spare time, so I'm not sure if it'll ever see the light of day. Either way, I dig dinking around with game dev tools just to learn about how the sausage is made. Good insight for the job.
Andy Kelly: I've dabbled a LOT in modding and game dev over the years, but I have very little to show for it. I tend to spend hours watching tutorials, start making something, then give up. I've abandoned so many projects, including a stealth game (made in GameMaker) that was basically finished, but that I deleted in a fit of self doubt. Of all the tools I've used, it's Twine (opens in new tab) I've enjoyed the most. So much so that I actually finished a thing I created with it. It's called Derelict (opens in new tab) and it's kinda like Her Story meets Alien, but not as good as either. I also got very into voxel art (opens in new tab) recently, originally to import into Unity and make games out of, but mainly just because I find sticking those lil squares together extremely therapeutic. I used to make terrible Duke Nukem 3D maps in the Build editor too, when I was a sad teen, but the less said about that the better.
Lauren Morton: I've got dozens of started and abandoned projects on all sorts of platforms from my university game dev program on forward. Sadly I've only released a single jam game (now defunct), including the times I was a paid employee at game studios. Haha, layoffs amirite? RPG Maker is a fun slapdash way to mess about but I really would love to go back and mess around making text parser games in Inform 7 like I did in highschool. That and Fallout/Skyrim mods. I love building physical spaces, so the one thing I keep meaning to do and not making time for is really sitting down and getting my hands dirty in the Creation Kit to make small, intricate little maps that I could slap into my game. In the meantime I just build houses in The Sims 4 and call that good enough.
Christopher Livingston: I have tried to make probably 5-10 games and at least two dozen mods... in my mind. Which is to say, I've thought of ideas for games and mods and then never done anything with them. This fits in with all the films and screenplays I've thought about writing (several), all the exercise I've thought about doing (so much!), the places I've imagined visiting (mind-travel), and the skills I've fantasized about learning (I've been thinking for ten years about learning sign-language, and 10 years is considered the time it takes to become an expert at something, so I consider myself an expert in thinking about learning sign-language).
I did, at one point back when I had energy, create an entire pen-and-paper role-playing game (it was like D&D but with science), but never actually played it with anyone. And, okay, I have legit dabbled a bit with various game-makers and modding tools, but I tend to always run into an obstacle where it feels like it's taking a lot of effort to figure out a simple thing, at which point I stop trying and wind up just thinking about it again.
Jody Macgregor: I have a couple of unfinished text adventures that turned out a little too ambitious for Twine. As soon as you start experimenting with its advanced features the documentation gets pretty poor, and maybe I would have been better off with Ink or one of Twine's other competitors. I did finish one game, a stripped-back fantasy urban exploration thing called Kingsbane City (opens in new tab), then put it up on itch.io for free.
From our forum (opens in new tab)
Zloth: Yep. Queen of the Doomweb Pits for the original Doom. No idea how popular it was but Sam's gave me a free copy of their Tricks of the Doom Programming Gurus to put it on their CD. Wish I still had that CD.
Also a quick mod to fix some pathing issues in a couple of sectors of X:Rebirth's Home of Light DLC.
SWard: Yes!!! I'm part of a networking group for women in games development "Women Making Games" and we started working out how to mod our t-shirts into different games, like Minecraft and Animal Crossing so I learned how to do it in the Sims 4.
XoRn: Tried? Yes
Given up? Hell no! I just started learning C# a couple months ago and I've been slowly chipping away at Unity as well. The short term goal is to make something passable that will serve as a second income. The long term goal is to just quietly become Tom Francis and hope no one notices. Then I'll add a game to the Defenestration Trilogy where you'll play an angry window out for revenge for all of its destroyed brethren.
I DID make a mod ages ago for Rainbow Six Vegas. Those of you who played the game will recall a who slew of assault rifles, shotguns and SMG's, but ZERO sniper rifles. I've been a Kar98k fan since my youth thanks to Call of Duty so I hopped in the weapons LUA file and changed one of the guns to behave like a bolt action rifle of sorts. It could kill in one hit, but after every shot you had to reload. I also only allowed an iron sight on it, again hearkening back to COD. Good times. Broke a lot of windows in that game now that I think about it...
Rensje: I used to be big into making levels for Descent and Descent 2 when I was a kid. You could string them together too, so me and my brother ended up creating an entire campaign out of them. I think we have them stored on floppy disks somewhere and I should still have those, but I don't have any means to use them anymore!
Tried my hand at some Game Maker projects in my teens, but that never led to anything serious.
Did make some persistent online worlds for the original Neverwinter Nights, but those are all lost to time.