Making Games

A fix

The worst drawback in the “one man and no dog” league of indie development is the never-ending fear of stagnation: if you don’t do anything, you don’t release anything.

Having a team rallying around the dream of a game ensures something is always happening. A coder committing code and bugs, an artist artisting an artisty thing, a designer stressing out why the game is the opposite of fun, and the producer either tuning the cell spacing of an Excel sheet to achieve feng shui, or mass-emailing links of best recordings of frolicking felines. The illusion of somebody doing something for the game inspires you to do something too, often only out of sheer fear of looking like a slacker, but the drive is still there.

When it’s just you and the walls of the room closing in, with murky water up to your knees and the cursed metallic body of the droid making it too slow to stop the walls… wait, I think I’m mixing up my game development history with my space adventuring days. Ahem.

…When it’s just you, you’re the only one keeping the inspiration alive and the only one with the responsibility of getting s#it done. It’s a good thing to acknowledge, because it’s very often the doom of an indie project. The first few weeks or months are the greatest time of your life, then you feel like you’re hitting a Wall, and then, after 8 years, you find the decomposing remains of the project next to the Wall – with the plastic bits still shiny, because they don’t decompose.

Part of the fun of the creative process is to release stuff and getting feedback. It’s probably only the ego wanting a pat on the head, but it makes it more fun to get it out there, to get some feedback, to know that somebody is playing the game you made.

So, part of my masterplan is to figure out the exact amount of pre-exposure for the game I need to churn out to keep me happy. This blog is naturally a part of it, but I hope to be able to figure out how to release the game in chunks. Making a game “Episodic” sounds so very 00’s, and it didn’t really help Valve, so I’m looking to find another way. Maybe a playable trailer? A pilot of sorts? An prologue game? What Lucasarts did back in the day with the demos of their adventure games having a separate play-through flow from the actual full games? Mini-game with the early days of the protagonist?

I don’t even know if this is an actual realistically solvable problem, but admitting you have a problem is the first step.


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