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Creativity is Collaboration

Each week I take one evening to work on my personal videogame project, a karmic roguelike called The Lighthouse. I’m building it in UE5, an engine I know pretty well, and it’s surprising how fast you can put a prototype together with these tools.

I got the last of the core gameplay features implemented two weeks ago including damage, healing, death, respawning, sprint stamina, enemy AI, and victory condition, all in a first draft state. Since then I’ve built out the initial version of the level which is an island based on a relief map I found of a real island off the coast of Greece.

Last night I got procedural foliage populated across the landscape, set up moonlight and a skybox with animated clouds, got volumetric fog working, swapped in a new enemy character, and set up some looping sound effects which are crucial for gameplay.

And, wow. Even just these basic assets combine into something that already has the mood and tension I want. I expect to replace most of these over time, but as placeholders they still hang together well.

I could never have made this much progress this fast without terrific community tutorials on YouTube and a variety of great assets from the Unreal Marketplace. I may be a solo dev, but I already have dozens of retroactive collaborators who made the building blocks I needed to bring this project to life. Not to mention the folks at Epic who have evolved Unreal into a remarkable product.

There’s a romantic myth of the lone wolf creator bringing their singular vision to life. But every act of creation is an act of collaboration with all your influences, all your mentors, and all your tools.

We’re in this together.