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Size Matters Not - A Story of Overcoming Age Limitations
Published 2 years ago
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The Idea of Youth Restrictions And Overcoming Them
For most programmers, graphics designers, sound/music creators, and level designers creating fun, adventurous games is your job. Every morning you wake up, go to work, and sit down with a group of very talented people to pull off the creation of an awesome game. For others, game creation is part of college - getting up, going to class,
and creating a game aspart of your studies. However, there are a few developers out there, me included, who are under the age of 18, and still use Unity and programming languages to create games. But, as you know, with great power comes great responsibility or, as I like to put it, the younger you are the more responsible you have to be about how you spend your time. Now, don't jump on me and yell at the screen about how I don't respect what adults go through in their lives - I do. All I'm saying is that we minors have a lot on our plates. Lets start off with the magic six-letter word: school.
The production of Trump vs. The Wall took a long time, which means that means that it interfered with school.  As I write this, I reflect over the balancing act I had to perform in order to stay on top of all my school work while spending hours trying to create a fun, interesting game. During the course of the development process, I was assigned a technology research paper, a french project, and a math research paper for a double advanced math class. To keep my grades up, I had to do a number of things. The first off, I had to limit myself. I made sure (with a little reminding from my parents!) that I didn't skip homework or ignore a project to program and design the UI. This is a time  structure problem faced by any developers under 18 and it must be constructed delicately, lest the entire tower collapse. If you end up facing this problem, there are a number of solutions out there:
  • Organize A Club: Talk to a teacher about starting a club to create video games, and make your game at school. This way, you can make the system work for you, not against you.
  • Gather Others: Find some like-minded people at your school to join you in making a game. This doesn't mean that you all have to be programmers. Get some people who can program, some who can make graphics, and some who know how to make sound effects and music.
  • Talk To An Adult: Just because you're a kid doesn't mean adults can't help you. Talk to a teacher or other adult and ask for advice. You're not alone in the universe, and there are others who want to help you.
Another, more even serious, limitation thatalmost stopped me in my tracks was site age restrictions. For example: to sign up for a Google Play Merchant Account the owner of the account has to be over 18. To remedy this, I was forced to create the account under my parent's name. Afterall, dishonestly checking a box could land you in a heap of trouble later on. My advice: get your parent or guardian to help you if you're too young to hold the account in your name.
Also a problem: money. First off, how was I going to finance the creation of this game. The answer: I didn't. I had to be able to figure things out for myself, without assets and without any professional assistance.  For instance, a relative created the graphics for me so I was able tocreatethe game without spending anything.  However, since it's an app, I eventually ran into the problem of paying for the Google Play Developer Account. for that I used some of my own money that I'd saved and borrowed the rest from my parents with the plan of paying them back from proceeds from selling the game. There are a few things you can do get money for your game:
  • Perform Chores or Other Things: Performing chores or special jobs is the best and fastest way to get money. Work out a deal with your parents to perform jobs in exchange for money.
  • Sell Something: Another thing you can do is sell something. The most obvious would be lemonade, but you can also sell cookies or even services such as weeding a garden or babysitting a pet/younger child.
  • Kickstarter: By far one of the best things you could do is start a kickstarter or gofundme. To check these out here are the links: Kickstarter, GoFundMe. 
However, even with these challenges, after a lot of work and a few very early mournings, I was able to finally build the complete .apk package of Trump vs. The Wall. The game is coming out on Android and IOS, and will hopefully bring in some revenue. It incoporates a lot of learned skills and,  even more importantly, it taught me how to overcome obstacles and limitations based on my age. If you're a minor creating a game, I have one piece of advice for you:
Sometimes people underestimate us. They say, "You're just a kid, you don't know anything".  You may not know calculus or be unable to name every bone in your right hand, but you are still a game developer. If you're a teen, a tween or haven't even broken double digits yet, you can still know C#, or draw incredible graphics, or design amazing levels. So you know what? They're right. We are just kids. But big things come in small packages.
James
Indie Game Developer - Programmer
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