Starting small: working on my first video game from start to finish

I started working on my first video game at the start of this year. I tried to make a video game a few years ago, but I was in over my head and I was at my last semester in college before I graduated. When I started I had plans of making this complex game that I should go all in for. At the time, I didn't plan and I was not passionate about the theme leading to failure. Years later I learned from my mistakes and decided to downsize.

After all, I'm a solo dev and there are strengths and weaknesses in my skillset. I decided to make creating video games as a hobby to have creative freedom and work towards something I care about. Being a solo dev has taught me many skills I did not have before and I enjoy it. I decided to pursue my first video game with a short concept I had. Starting small for my project benefitted me. I was able to focus on the overall vision for my game.

Starting, I had the story that I wrote and went to work. Here are a few things I learned:

  • Game Engine
  • UI and Images
  • Programming
  • Audio
  • Marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Taking criticism

After learning, I feel like my game dev skills are at the beginning slowly getting better.

A fresh start

For the game Engine, I chose Ren'Py because I plan on doing visual novels and have a generous community on where to get information. Another benefit was I could integrate Python to add features and create certain effects for my game. When I generated my project in Ren'Py I got to work on my game.

First, I wrote the script and set the variables needed for the game. The programming wasn't too difficult since I didn't do anything crazy. I made sure my features were easy to implement and understand that this was my first game. Adding customization, I modified the UI by adjusting the title and save screen, and changing the default font, cursor, and window icon.


The most difficult aspect of the indie game is marketing (this deserves a separate article). I did try to utilize hashtags on social media and join dev groups. This is something I can do better in the future. Currently, there are zero views and downloads, but I'm improving my writing and development skills. I plan on creating better trailers and titles in the future. I may release a demo for the game and market that more before releasing the full game.


There will plans for a future game. The outline and draft are in Twine. I started scripting in RenPy, but I still have yet to do the customization. I decided that part would come later when I've completed the draft. I decided to be a game dev to explore my creative limits and enjoyed the process. I will be positive and one day I will have the skills to make the game of my dreams.

Play Project Interitus below

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Jamie Larson