Christopher Timmons of Temecula has a passion for video game design, and that passion is something that has spurred him to work on the creation of a game for more than four years.
“Gunplay” is now on the cusp of being released on video game website Steam and other platforms, and Timmons, 20, feels like a proud parent.
“It’s been sort of my child that I’ve sort of raised, and I’m trying to push out now,” Timmons said. “That’s definitely something good. It’s taken me a long time, but that’s totally fine in the grand scheme of things because at least it’s done.”
The futuristic space game has three different levels. The first level features a player shooting enemies and traveling through a spaceship, the second level is set on an industrial-themed planet where lasers and traps are hidden everywhere, and the third level is based on a planet infested with a swarm of enemies.
Timmons is the main force behind the game, but several members of online communities have helped him with other elements of the game, including some of the game’s art and music.
When Timmons has needed a sounding board, he’s gone to his friend Joshua Wheeler, 20, of Temecula, he said. He has asked Wheeler to consult and test just about everything from the way the game looks to the way it is played.
Wheeler compared Timmons’ love of video game design to an artist who has been practicing their painting techniques.
“You kind of take pride in it, and as you get better at it, you find new techniques, and it makes it a more enjoyable experience,” Wheeler said. “I would say it’s more than a hobby, but he doesn’t work full time for it.”
Timmons said he’s planning on initially releasing an early access version on Steam in December, and a full version of the game could be released on Steam and other websites as early as January.
He said the new game won’t be a money-making effort. He plans to release it for free online, but he hopes the game serves as a marketing tool for Shocknights Studios, the new indie video game studio he is founding.
Timmons said that while he hopes the game gains exposure as a side benefit, it wasn’t really his main focus when he was developing it.
“The reason why I do games is because I want to make something that I want to play,” Timmons said. “A lot of game developers will say that. And the other thing that I do it for is because I honestly enjoy watching people play my games, because I create an experience for another user to play through and have a good time and escape for a little bit.”
Timmons offers this advice to budding new game developers: make a game.
“If you want to get into game development, make a game,” he said. “Make a game and keep making games. Don’t stop because if you stop, you won’t make it.”
The 20-year-old said he is working toward a career in video game design and would like to work for a major design company. He said he plans to follow his own advice until he gets there.