By Dalibor Kamnjanac, an Indie Developer
First of all, I must say I didn’t even have a registered company/studio, so wherever it asks me for the company name I’m sticking with my name – Dalibor Kamnjanac, or I type “Ka Studio” or “Llama Entertainment” because that would be the name of my studio if I had one. And yes, I’m obsessed with llamas.
So, my story is pretty interesting (I hope you’ll agree with me at the end of it), because I’m absolutely a “one man army” developer and I believe that the best thing that happen to me would be that I quit my (very low paying) job six months ago. Why? Because in that moment I decided to completely dive in game development. Even though I am neither a programmer or a designer and I knew that it could go wrong in so many ways, it was still very motivating, especially because of my previous job. I knew that I can’t express myself in the electromechanical industry either. I believed that I could do well in the management sector since I graduated. And above all, when I graduated in December last year, I came to Italy from Serbia where I grew up and also graduated.
So, to summarize – I graduated a year ago, I moved to Italy, I worked a couple of months in electromechanical industry and now I have finished a game. Actually, as I think back, this year is not that bad at all, in any sense except in financial one. A lot of things right now are crossing my mind, probably all those transitions and changes unconsciously made me come up with that silly idea of becoming a game developer, because it didn’t seem scary and impossible to do.
Okay, surely, that is one part of the decision, the other is that I’m absolutely in love with video games since 1999, when I was like 7 years old, because that is the year when my dad bought a PlayStation 1 for my brother and I. Yes, we had also Sega Mega Drive before that but I only remember playing Duck Hunt.
What Made it Possible?
I guess you wonder now how I could make a game with nearly zero skills. Well, I don’t know if this means that I’m promoting a game engine, but Unreal Engine made it possible for me. Without it, without Google and community I could never have made it possible and I would miserably fail. And yes, never, never give up. I know that that is said by basically every guy out there but trust me, I could say that in this six months I wanted to quit at least ten times. Especially when you don’t have any programming skills, there are many moments that make you think that it’s impossible. As you can see, it isn’t.
So, the Game Probably Sucks?
Well, that also crossed my mind thousands of times, and I think that the answer that I will get from people and community when I put this game on store (probably the Apple App Store).
Well, there was a game idea in my head for a few months, and I can’t lie, I must say that credits for the mechanics absolutely goes to Braid and Superhot because I adore manipulating time in a game (although it would be pretty awesome to manipulate time in the real world). So, in this game the year is 2092, you’re playing as a cute little tree (called Ungrodo) which is the last tree on earth, and everyone’s chasing him, but he has a very special skill – time slows down when he moves.
But probably the main reason for creating this game is that I can’t find any other way to express myself and express my emotions in a way that we are, as a society and human race, absolutely ruining this planet every single day, every single hour.
I know that via this game I probably on’t make any difference, but I think that here I also have an opportunity to raise awareness about deforestation and clearing Earth’s forests on a massive scale worldwide, which happens for many reasons, but most of them are related to money.
And that is the reason that I have made the game about “the last tree on earth”.
When it comes to quality of the game, I’m aware that this game isn’t perfect, especially the design, but with time I’ll progress and I’ll enhance my skills, so I’m certain that I’ll continue to make games like this one, but more beautiful, with more emotions in it, and with a better story.
– The Last Tree trailer
The Biggest Problem in the Indie Game Developer Universe
Definitely, besides programming of course, undoubtedly the hardest thing for indies like me is marketing. Although I’m new in the industry and I don’t have any experience, I must say that the undoubtedly hardest thing for indies like me is to stand out on Steam, app stores or any other store. Because the industry seems to very profitable, big players (publishers) out there are taking the biggest part of the cake.
The game is now available on iOS