Thursday, 14 March 2013

My Development Methods

I was originally going to do a post about a new game that I was working on, when I thought to myself: man, I'm doing a lot of posts about new games without a lot of follow-up on them. I want to explain and justify this, as it seems like a poor work ethic to those who don't know better, but in fact it tends to work well with creative endeavours.

Working in a creative manner is not like any other field of work. The most important thing for you is inspiration, which does not come regularly, and cannot be forced. This results in the best method of accumulating ideas is to record ideas that you have over time. However, your ideas will be largely scattered and only a small percentage of them will actually be helpful to whatever particular project you happen to be working on at the moment.

I have found that a way to compensate for this is to have many projects open at any given time. It really isn't a bad thing to have a project sit on the back burner for several months, so long as you have several others ongoing all the while. This allows you to work on whatever interests you, and assuming you take good enough notes, resume your works at a later time without forgetting anything important.

In many cases, the distance from your projects that this provides can help offer insight. I mentioned in Legacy that you can use yourself as a guinea pig, to see what names and traits are most memorable, by simply stepping away from your project for a few days and seeing what you remember when you come back. This can also work with game ideas as well; coming back after a few weeks can help you reevaluate your ideas, and separate you from any bias you may have as a creator.

Note that this method is not as effective when playtesting or developing, as it generally helps to work on one project continuously once you reach that stage. It is mainly in the cerebral, highly experimental stages of early design and planning that this is most helpful. Once you have a design document and basic idea of what you want, it is best to choose a project and dedicate yourself to it.

But more on that later,

-Colin

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