Mike Tighe


My Opinion of the State of the VB Gaming Community


When Peter asked me if I wanted to write columns for Voodoo VB, along with a few other guys, I thought to myself “Alright! This should be cool. I’m sure I’ll have lots to say.” So I asked for the first topic. “What’s your opinion of the state of the VB community?” “Well oh great”, I thought, “He managed to pick the one thing I have nothing to say about”. But, nevertheless, I’m going to give the best rant I can.

Now there’s a reason I have little to say about this topic, and that’s the fact that I haven’t been around for that long. When I first got into VB, I went straight into game programming, because honestly, anything else is just plain boring. So I came across this site called “Lucky’s VB Gaming Site”. Now at first, and I’m sure most of you probably had the same reaction, Lucky frightened me with his antics, and I had my doubts about the VB community (mainly it’s mental stability). But as time wore on, I have come to realize just how strong the VB community is. Now I’ve heard people complain about “Oh, no games are coming out” and “Oh, there’s no one left here”, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. But I don’t think you can just look and say, “Hey, only two games have come out in the past year, the VB community is dead!” You have to take into account one undeniable fact of game programming: It takes a hell of a long time to make a game! If you look around, there are a lot of games in production. Every second guy (or girl, but that’s an all to rare occasion ;) has their own project going. The problem is that with all these “one-man armies”, it’s going to be a while before all these games start coming out. The people involved in VB game programming have other lives too, that don’t involve programming their VB game, and so it takes a long time to develop a game. I myself have been working on a game for quite some time, and find myself having less and less time to work on it, but it certainly hasn’t been dropped.

Of course, you have to take into account that a lot of these games will never be completed. But I don’t think this in any way diminishes the strength of the VB Gaming Community. As long as people are working on games in VB, and helping each other out, then the community is very much alive. We have a lot of talented people out there; all you have to do is take a glance at the forums. Let’s take Lucky’s forum for example. Have you ever seen it this strong? I swear every time I go there there are another eighty or so posts. Questions get answered extremely quickly. On numerous occasions I have run into a problem, posted, worked on another function somewhere in my game for a little bit, then came back to several responses. We have a lot of helpful people out there.

So you still come back and say, “Still man, I wish there were more VB games coming out.” Well, I agree. With so many independent projects going on, the community seems a little fragmented, and not many games actually come out. This also attributes to a lack of news, which some people also site as a “sign of the end”. There is a solution to this problem, and we can see it in action. Community projects could really get things going. We have so many talented people, with so many different specialties; it just makes sense to get them together to make a game. Darkness Rising, a community project headed up by Alex Kriss, is coming along great. It’s amazing how smoothly things are running, and how fast a project can go if you put a whole bunch of people together like that. Get a bunch of those going, and we’d have a hell of a community. I encourage people to follow in the Darkness Rising footsteps and start up some more community projects.

Is it just me, or are the people the make comments about the dwindling of the VB Community always people who haven’t been around lately? How many times have you seen “Hey man, I just came back to this site which I haven’t been to in two years, and man, nothings happening? Is anyone here?” Or something to that effect. These people are the problem (If there is one). Just because they haven’t done jack shit in two years doesn’t mean everyone else hasn’t.

I personally believe that the VB Community will only grow stronger, especially with the growing inclusion of VB in the Direct X SDK. If you feel otherwise, then I challenge you to a duel!

If you’re still with me, I thank you for reading my rant, even though I really didn’t know what I was talking about ;). I promise my next rant will be better. Now I’m going to write another delicious memo. Mmmmmm…..memo…….*drool*.

-00 Dork

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Mike Tighe is:
The developer of the space action game, SUP 2000, and an artist on the Darkness Rising team.