Garry’s Mod Dev Shares Secrets to His Success

Working on GMod has taught Newman some valuable lessons that he shared with the community, and he spent part of the AMA offering advice to modders to help make their own work successful.

“Be different,” he said. “Do stuff to please yourself — not everyone else.” His other advice for young game designers was just as simple but effective: “Make stuff. It’s the only way to get anywhere.”

Newman also suggested people interested in games spend the time to get good at coding, as the experience and knowledge pays off over time.

“Code as much as you can,” he said. “Even if it’s hard; it starts to go in eventually. Don’t be scared to code stuff you think is useless and will never get released — it’s all good practice. Look at other people’s code — people who are much better than you at coding. Never stop learning. If you think you have learned everything, find something you don’t understand and learn it.”

Prospective modders will be encouraged to learn that Newman doesn’t hold any official college degree. Instead, he explained that he taught himself code like C++, and when he started Garry’s Mod, he wasn’t even very good at it.

Instead of formula schooling, it was GMod that was Newman’s teacher, he said. The time he spent learning to code and applying that knowledge practically while working on it helped him to develop more and more skills, until finally the mod became what it is today.

Unfortunately, that lack of a formal education may be a hindrance to getting hired by a major developer like Valve, however. MINERVA modder Adam Foster landed a job with the giant after releasing his mod, but Newman doesn’t believe he would get passed the interview.

“I love Valve,” Newman said. “I once sat in on a talk on their interview process, though … and I would not make the cut! … Their interview process is intense. Half my coding is done with Google open on another monitor. I wouldn’t be able to write a program out on a whiteboard!”

As for what the future holds, Newman is presently growing his team, Facepunch Studios, hoping to expand into the indie game scene.

“We started staffing up our office this year,” he wrote. “So we’re experimenting with other game ideas. We’re trying not to aim too big, though — I don’t want to make AAA games. So we’re hoping to find a nice indie mid-level game to work on.

“I really don’t want us to release stuff for the sake of releasing stuff though. I want to release unique, fun games that we’re proud of. If we can’t come up with that, we’re failures and need to get other jobs.”

But that doesn’t mean Newman plans on dropping Garry’s Mod. As long as the mod remains profitable, Newman will continue to support it. “There’s always stuff that can be improved upon,” he said. “There’s never a point of it being finished.”

Newman was emphatic about one day including his mod in a Humble Bundle, and a Linux port should be released “very very very very very soon.” He also confirmed that his mod should have support for the Oculus Rift within the next month or so.

Although Garry’s Mod is now a commercial product, you can still download the free version of Garry’s Mod right here.


Read more of CJ Miozzi’s work here and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @rhykker and @gamefrontcom.

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