Lots of Indie Hackers have built a game at some point, what was one that you made?

A lot of software developers and indie hackers that i've talked to have built a game at some point, even if it was just a small side project.

Would love to hear about your game(s)!

  1. 3

    I created a tycoon game completely in Java. It was many years ago. The game was called "Train Tycoon," and it was written in Java/J2ME. Basically, it was Transport Tycoon but only with trains.

    It took me like nine months from the first line of code to the finalized product. There is much more behind it other than source code - GFX, SFX, testing, achievements design, level design, etc.

    Also, it was a quite challenging task as it had to run on devices with 215kB RAM having a limit for app size 64 kB. Of course, on better phones, it introduces more features and larger maps. There were thousands of preprocessor conditions to generate around 120 different versions based on phone type, screen size, vendor-specific APIs, etc.

    In such a limited environment, I managed to introduce advanced features like terrain manipulations, growing cities, animations, map generator, statistics, bank, or automatic building of rails (including bridges over water - using modified A* algorithm), etc.

    As available RAM memory was minimal, I can't afford to create object instances for everything, and so almost all data was stored in preallocated arrays of primitive types. That was pretty crazy as it wasn't Java as you probably know it.

    J2ME didn't have anything like OpenGL or so :-). It could draw just basic shapes (line, rectangle, ellipse) and images.

    What you see above was rendered by drawing image sprites (in PNG format) in precalculated order based on the screen size to achieve the correct isometric look without glitches. It was impossible to redraw the whole screen on each frame due to speed. There was a buffer, and only images that were affected by the cursor, state information or moving trains were redrawn. And, of course, also images affected by redrawn images as, for example, the train could be behind a building and redrawing the image behind the train affected the building in front of him).

    The whole situation was a bit more complicated due to several layers of terrain (aka hills and water).

    Scrolling was boosted by moving the whole buffer and drawing only missing pieces and replacing the buffer with the new version.

    The whole screen redrawing was used when the screen was covered by dialog, etc. In such situations, speed wasn't a concern.

    Btw, all texts were rendered from letters stored as images (in fact, one bigger image). It saved a lot when calculating word wrapping, dialogs, etc. and, more importantly, it allowed me to provide desired user experience across many different devices.

    To save space, PNG images were stored inside the single file (to reduce the number of metadata in a resulting JAR), and all had to have the same format, color palette, etc. as that information was stripped away during compilation and recreated when loading images. It helped me to reduce app size by 30% and fit the compiled code as well as tons of images into 64kB.

    I'm still proud of it!

    PS: It was sold worldwide, and I even received a cake (shaped like a phone) from Sony Ericsson for being their valuable developer :-).

    1. 1

      This is amazing! I've never heard a game developer that made games for phones that far back. The constraints you went through are so interesting.

      1. 1

        It was amazing time. The optimization meant something completely different :-).

  2. 2

    I am building one right now.

    I found most programming courses to be quite boring.

    I decided to change that with Crevolute.

    Visit- www.crevolute.com , let me know what you think :)

    1. 1

      Looks really cool! Best of luck with it!

  3. 2

    Back in the Twitter API heyday (2010?) I created a multi player twitter client / game thing that had some simple grinding / collection mechanics. The setting was on an alien planet, with you gathering the last memories of earth from a crashed spaceship.

    It actually went "viral" for a bit, until people realised how little game there was underneath the cool-looking pixel art!

    1. 1

      Really cool concept, I'm sure you learned a lot about working with APIs from that project.

      Side note: I've really enjoyed following your journey with BannerBear, wish you the best and look forward to reading about your future success!

  4. 1

    I made this multi-platform puzzle game a few years back: https://m12y.com/a-snakes-tale/

  5. 1

    I made a few half-assed games in game jams, my favorite being a pattern game : https://wavering-systems.itch.io/kungfu-impact .
    My current main side-project is still a game in some way : https://www.guesshistory.com/ .

    1. 1

      Checked out guesshistory, it is a fun idea! A bit like a sporcle quiz optimized for history.

      I think the UX could use a bit of work, mostly the map was a bit cumbersome to use (on safari mac).

  6. 1

    I have to say we worked in the videogames industry, so that was a challenging side project (still I'm on that industry).

    We made a trivia game for Telegram 👉 https://cashout.games

    I've designed it and my boyfriend was in charge of dev and backend.

    Right know we're making another game app and we will post it on our website monthlystart.com

    The twitter of the creators:
    👉 @teodora_dobre
    👉 @rescodeio

  7. 1

    For my first startup(2014), I recruited freshers without prior experience in programming and had to train them to be developers. Figured that developing a game would be challenging enough to train them and also if it gets viral it may help grow our startup.

    So we created emojiball,


    An arcade, arachnoid type game where you have to hit a ball with same color of the paddle, if you hit a wrong color ball the paddle gets smaller and you'll eventually loose when there's no more paddle. The paddle can be moved moved to one side of the screen and can appear on the other side.

    emojiball gameplay1

    emojiball gameplay2

    We developed for android and iOS. Went through couple of game engines, settled with AndEngine (RIP) and Sprite-kit (iOS).
    emojiball iOS

    It had,
    • Score sharing to Facebook, Twitter.
    • World leaderboard.
    • Achievements

    The game came out better than expected, had decent number of downloads ( > 10,000 iOS, > 1000 Android). When apple removed 'Arcade' category for its subscription gaming service, the discovery of the game got affected. It recently got removed from Appstore due to lack of updates, the game is still available for android on my personal account.

    If I was building the same game today, I'll build it for Apple TV as the remote would be perfect to move the paddle.

    1. 1

      Looks like a fun project! I'm sure you learned a ton from that project. You build any other games since?

      1. 1

        Nope, we did not go back to games. But, might personally build one next year if I could make some time for it.

  8. 1

    A few months back I published a puzzle game called "Shuffled Nightmares" (https://darkdimension.itch.io/shuffled-nightmares).

    I basically wanted to experiment with game design and making unique games. This was part of it. Using what I learned from that game, I started working on a new title called "The king is gone" (https://darkdimension.itch.io/the-king-is-gone).

    Both are available for Windows and Linux.

  9. 1

    iOS casual asteroids meets missile command 👉 http://eveofimpact.com

  10. 1

    Couple of years back I Co founded a small mobile game studio where we made some hyper casual games for Android & IOS. It started out more as a fun project. But we had some success with the games and even got one of them published with Ketchapp.


  11. 1

    I made a "choose your own adventure" brazilian jiu-jitsu web app, which ran for about 4 years and paid my utility bills during that time. Maybe game is a stretch, was also educational...but people found it pretty fun

  12. 1

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