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Driven to Develop
Published 2 years ago
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Racing Driver turned Game Developer
Looking back two years, my journey into game development had yet to begin. I was 2nd in the U.K. Renault Clio Cup championship with 2 races to go and all my spare time was spent analysing and focusing on what I needed to do to close the gap.
Fastforward to October 2014 and I was crowned Champion.
 
It was a strange time once the championship had finished, as all the focus and energy I had put in, was no longer needed and I was left longing for another challenge. 
I used to play a great game called Badlands on my iPhone when there were quiet times on Race weekends. My father and I used to talk about how it might have been made and how successful other great titles were. With my left over energy and focus from the Racing Season, I started to look into JavaScript and games.
The next few months were spent very frustrated and heading in no particular direction, as I learnt the JavaScript language by scouring through YouTube and online tutorials. The biggest achievement I had in this time was making a small red square move on my iPhone screen with a little touch joystick in the corner.
February 2015 was a bad time for game development, but more importantly a bad time for me...
I was struck down with Pneumonia, which became much worse as the infection spread to my heart and resulted in a heart attack. At the age of 25 it certainly gives you a jolly good kick up the backside.
My sole focus and purpose was to get fit enough to Race again and 2015 was my debut season in the British Touring Car Championship, the U.K's top level motorsport. My time with JavaScript and my silly little square came to an end.
However my relationship with coding and development would come to life again with some more of my misfortune. A large racing accident in May left me with a dislocated shoulder, hip and bad ligament damage. In the time it took to recuperate, my love for coding came to fruition as I created a basic small twin stick shooter that I could play on my iPhone.
 
This early success gave me a real hunger to see how far I could push myself. After a few months I ended up with a vibrant little 2D shooter that I had called.... ARENA. 
I was the only person who really played it, a couple of friends had a go, but only 5 minutes or so. 
Towards the end of the 2015 racing season I had somehow how managed to fit in Racing, working as a Mechanic and developing the new ARENA using the power of Unity to bring it into 3 dimensions.
 
It has been a hard journey up to now, I can spend many hours through the night working on new features and then head to work early the next day. Rinse. Repeat.
So far 2016 has been kind to me, ARENA 3D was greenlit on Steam in January and at the time of writing this I am 2nd in the U.K. Renault Clio Cup Championship again. Hopefully I can repeat my racing success this year, but also achieve success in ARENA 3D.
 
Solo development can be a lonely affair, but I take pride in all the positive comments after my hours spent behind the screen can be enjoyed by other people.
One thing racing, a heart attack and bad crash has taught me is to not give up. You have good days and bad days. The same applies to developing a game. If you stick at it, there is every chance in the world you can succeed.
 
Mike Bushell
Lone Independent Game Developer - Programmer
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