I've read a lot about developers attempting to start from scratch and create their own engines before starting a game. Usually these projects end on a poor note because the developer didn't manage scale or simply lost interest. Many developers consider solo game projects too difficult even with the assistance of a commercial engine. I found the idea of diving in the deep end very appealing. I figured if I lost interest when programming a small game engine, it's the wrong way to spend my time anyways.
I made everything from scratch with the exception of the music, which my friend Dana was kind enough to let me repurpose. The plan was to turn out a near complete game with "brute force" using only my current knowledge. I consider every line throwaway code. There is some optimization, but my next project will be optimized further and originate from an existing engine. I'm aiming for a small iOS game as my next project, but I can't say for sure as my plans seem to be continually evolving.
Check out the rest of Dana's album here. You can "name your price" and download the full length album.
I wanted to get in to the habit of submitting something to the Independent Games Festival once every year, so I submitted this to the 2014 IGF competition. There are cash prizes, and all finalists in the competition gain entry to the festival as well as the larger Game Developers Conference free of charge.
There was a $95 entry fee and the competition is fierce (I believe there were around 600 games submitted the previous year), but I wanted to learn the process in order to make future submissions smoother. Submitting to the IGF itself was fairly easy. You give some details about the game along with directions, a few screenshots, and a video. The game can be uploaded or you can provide a link to a website that hosts the game.