Indie Postmortem: Grambo: The Game!

Hi, my name is Ben, and I got fed up of playing shit games all the time, so I actually went and made one. My best friend’s band split up very recently, and so I decided to use this as a basic for my first game. This is what happened.

What Went Right

1. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Since there’s only me on the team, I decided to keep costs low by not writing my own game engine. I downloaded an application called GameMaker by YoYo Games, and spent an hour going through the tutorial. Once I’d done that, I had a basic game up and running.

2. My best friend’s band split up. Once I’d made the tutorial game, I was pretty drunk. I thought about what to base my game on, and the only thing I could think of was to make it about clicking on my face and getting a funny sound effect. This was boring though, so I decided to rewrite my design document, and remembered that my best friend’s band had just split up. So I took a load of photos off Facebook and cut them up so the band member’s faces were the targets by changing the sprites in the tutorial game. Since I’d bought their EP the other day, I put one of their songs in as background music (and I didn’t think they’d mind cos I forgot to ask in advance if I could use their music, or their faces, I just did it, because I was drunk and it was 11pm).

3. Play your game. Now the game was up and running, and had photo-realistic graphics and a lovely soundtrack, I played it. Wasn’t great, but wasn’t awful either. Some fine-tuning was required. Luckily, I’d built enough time into the schedule to allow for polishing (I had about 45 minutes before I had to go to bed, cos I had work the next day). During that time, I tweaked the speed of the targets, added a couple more graphics, stuck the band logo in as a loading screen, and put in a text greeting message when the game starts.

What Went Wrong

1. I was shit-faced drunk. In the morning, when I’d got washed and changed and was having a cig before heading off to work, I saw Grambo.exe on the desktop of the PC. I thought “hmmm, that’s odd, what could that be?”. I loaded the application, and played the game again, and realised I’d made it the night before. This meant that the design document (in my head) was gone, as well as the core talent of the team (I couldn’t remember how to change anything).

2. The game was shit. The game was the basic tutorial game from the GameMaker application, with heads in it instead of fruit, and a “Principle Songwriting By:” graphic in place of bombs. You could play it, but I’d say you could gain more enjoyment from just breathing.

3. You can’t have too much polish. Some ideas I’d wanted to get across weren’t implemented correctly. I wanted certain heads to move faster than others, but I forgot to change the speed value to the relevant heads. I also forgot to add a decent score counter; the score is kept in the title bar of the game window, but who looks at that when they’re playing a game? This might be a strength though, because the score counter doesn’t distract you from the main game. Bullshit, I fucking forgot to make one. End of.

4. I forgot to ask permission. This isn’t too much of a problem now, but it may be if a certain someone sees it up on here. Ah fuck ’em, life is too short, and so am I.


There is nothing funnier than opening up an unknown application on your desktop and realising you made it the night before. If you’re going to steal, steal while drunk. Work out how to add a score counter to your game, cos once you realise you forgot to add one, you can’t help but notice it’s not there, every single time you fire the game up. If you’re going to use a game-making application, don’t just stick new graphics over the top of the tutorial game, because the tutorial game isn’t that good (teaches you the basics though, and that is good).

Also – now that I’ve made a game, I am now 100% right all the time with every opinion I ever utter about games, cos if someone ever says “you don’t know shit until you’ve made one”, I can say “ha! fuck you! EAT MY GAME” and send them a link to this page.

Man up, fuckstick! (right-click, Save As, etc) (might not work on Windows XP for some reason)

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