In education-focused Gamasutra sister site GameCareerGuide's latest feature, student developer Joshua Nuernberger explains how
a game he began developing in high school grew into a commercial project, and what he learned on the way.
"I was about eight or nine years old when I played a game called The Secret of Monkey Island
. Little did I know that this one game would implant an idea in my head that would alter the course of my life. The idea was that one day I would somehow create my very own video game," Nuernberger writes.
Developing a game on his own wasn't easy, of course. Nuernberger started Gemini Rue
, then titled Boryokudan Rue
, while he was still in high school -- after only having made a couple of small games.
At the outset he intended it to be a freeware title; years later, after making it as a finalist in the IGF Student Showcase, he ended up signing the title with Wadjet Eye games and releasing it commercially.
The game went on to be in the top five best-reviewed PC games for the first quarter of 2011, according to aggregator Metacritic
The genesis of the project affected how he approached content creation, he writes.
"When I started production on Gemini Rue
, I was in my last year of high school, working on games in my free time. Because of that, I needed to come up with an artistic style that would allow me to mass-produce backgrounds, yet still evoke a strong atmosphere with minimal time investment. Yet I didn't realize how the simplest (and one of the quickest) design decisions would be what many people would remember the most from the game: the visuals."
Inspired by a need for ease-of-creation and the aesthetics of popular anime series Cowboy Bebop, Nuernberger writes that these visuals became a cornerstone of how fans related to the game.
"There was something about the combination of pixel art, impressionistic brush strokes, and a striking palette that resonated with people. Whether it was nostalgia or luck, something about the art just clicked with people."
The full feature
, which goes into great depth on how the game evolved over its multi-year development process, is live now on GameCareerGuide.