After the chaos and excitement of freshman year, summertime seems to be a welcome change of pace. But loads of free time make me wonder about who I am outside of the structure of school, family obligations and work. Like many other bored college students, I want to do something fulfilling, exciting, fun, and worthwhile, but struggle to find the inspiration or motivation to start. Today I talked with a close friend who knows how to follow through his ideas with incredible results.
Tom Lum is a college student studying computer and cognitive science. This summer, he spends his time creating and coding his own indie computer game inspired in part by his novel, Gear. We discuss the influences of Nidhogg, The Stanley Parable, Super Smash Bros, and Hotline Miami on Tom’s project as well as the “artisnal” quality of indie games today.
For more information about Tom’s creative work (including music, movies, and more), visit http://www.thatbookbytom.com.
On the process of making a video game:
“The coolest part about coding a game from the ground up is that you really can do anything, and at first that’s…the biggest problem… ’cause you can do anything.”
“It’s one of the longest, in terms of projects…like, a movie is great because you can really see the progress of it, a book is good, because…you can show someone a chapter of it. Music is perfect, because you can just show someone a song…that doesn’t take that long. Video games are really just a long-term effort…I get to show it to people a bit, but it’s going to be a long term thing…but, because of that, there’ll hopefully be a good reward.”
On breaking the video game “mold” and indie games today:
“There’s so much of an established basis of what to expect, that it’s really fun and really exciting to get something new…that’s what I would love to do.”
“In the flash game era, games were really just a boredom reducer…whereas [now] they’re really starting to go back to being an “art form”…something that someone makes.”
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