What can a single developer do?

I am currently in a situation where I am actively looking for a new challenge professionally. The reason is my current employer is moving business to another country and by doing so downsize the office I’m in. With all this going on the question arose in my mind on what it is that I want to do and were my strengths lie. For a long time I’ve had a bunch of ideas that I would like to wrap a company around and try my own wings but I have not yet been able to get a solid enough business plan to do so. While in these thoughts I asked myself, what can really a single developer or IT person do? Where are the limits for a small size software company?

Behold, the game Banished. Banished is a resource and gathering game where the player takes control over a small number of people who was banished into the wild and need to survive. The player need to help out by building homes, get food production going, educate the people, trade and in other ways take care of the banished population. The goal of the game is to get from a small number of people who have nothing and help them build a great thriving self sufficient town.

So, why am I talking about the game Banished in the same article that was about what a single developer can do? Well, Banished is a game created by a development studio called Shining Rock Software. Shining Rock Software consist of a single guy – Luke Hodorowicz. He is the developer, tester, requirement handler, graphic artist and sound artist. The entire studio is wrapped around one developer who loves what he does so he created a game. For two years he created the game Banished and just a few days ago, it was released to the market and open for sales.

The game software market holds companies with thousands of developers and here is a single guy company who can create and roll out a game which in many ways is a more polished product that we are used to see. I am truly amazed of the work done.

“A lot of people ask me for advice on how to get started – I tell them just start making games.”
— Luke Hodorowicz in an interview made by RedBull.

In my situation a story like this is really an eye opener as I can see what is possible. The boundary of what can be done is not in the individual, it is in where the individual decide to put their most personal boundaries. Luke wanted to build a game, so he went out and did.

So, to answer my initial question on what a single developer can do?

Anything.

2 comments for “What can a single developer do?

  1. February 20, 2014 at 5:57 am

    This is unbelievable and truly intimidating. I’ve never met anybody who is skilled at game design and programming and 3D graphics and sound effects. It’s impressive to meet someone who is good at even one of those things. The only thing I’m aware of him outsourcing is the music.

    I’m especially amazed that he did his own testing. I’m curious to see whether this produces a buggy game or not. Testing one’s own software is practically unheard of.

  2. February 20, 2014 at 9:48 am

    It is one impressive project and I have so much respect for what Luke managed. I have not tried the game myself but watched quite a few videos on it and read reviews from users and the quality of the release seem to be really good. Nothing worse then your every day triple A release 🙂

    You are absolutely correct in that a developer who test own code is usually a flag of warning since it is next to impossible to have an unbiased view of your own code. Hopefully we will get a blog post on the Shiny Rock Software site on the project when things settle down after release!

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