How and Why to Build a Game a Week



Thomas Palef builds one game a week to hone his HTML5 skills fast rather than hitting his head against the wall on a single game that may or may not end up being any good.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Thomas on his new challenge and to find out how/why he’s doing this:

Our takeaway - stop that awesome game you’ve been working on for months. You and I both know that it’s a never-ending battle to make it perfect. Instead, create a game a week. That’s right – instead of slaving away on one for the year, write one a week. No big deal. That’s what Thomas Palef is doing and he has thirteen under his belt now in less than three months. How many do you have again?

Q: What prompted you to create a game a week?
A: I had zero experience making games, and I wanted to become good at it. Forcing myself to build one new game every week seemed like a good way to achieve that goal. 10 weeks later I can say that it worked out pretty well: I'm now feeling more and more comfortable building more and more complex games.

Q: What is your biggest challenge for building games?
A: My biggest challenge is to make the graphics. I'm not really good at it, so I try to keep things simple by using a pixelated retro look. However, I still have to spend a lot of time in Photoshop to get a decent result.

Q: What comes first, your love of games or your love of dev?
A: Coding is really fun. But what I enjoy the most is finding ideas, discovering interesting mechanics, designing challenging levels, etc. So I guess I'm more into game design than coding.

Q: What would be your best tip for HTML 5 Devs?
A: I think the most important thing for people who want to start learning HTML5 or making games, is to just do it! This is very common advice but it's also very true. I wrote some tutorials on how to make games in HTML5 on my blog. (

Q: What are the top 3 tools you use?
A: I actually only use three tools to make my games:
1. Sublime Text, to code the game
2. Photoshop, to design the game
3. Bfxr, to make the sounds effects

Q: What are 3 things every dev can learn from what you’re doing?
A: I’ve blogged about it several times, but talking about my project and showing it to the world was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I've received tons of support and advice, which has boosted my motivation and allowed me to learn a lot about programming and game design. It also got me new interesting opportunities (job offers, freelance contract, etc.).

Challenge Yourself.  Thomas Palef dove head first into an unfamiliar world knowing he wasn’t the best, but that didn’t discourage him. Instead it empowered him. Creating a game a week is a challenge, but it allows you to cut the pressure and instead focus on creativity.

Check out Thomas’ games here and see for yourself. But careful, they’re a little addicting.

Thomas: @lessmilk_
MSFT Dev: @msdev

This post is part of an ongoing series presented by the  AppBuilder “Every Dev has a Story” offer  from Microsoft where we share stories about innovators, creators, and developers doing something unique. If you’re harnessing technology in a new way or have built something great tweet screenshots, video, or blogs of your story using the #iDevThis hashtag on Twitter.