For a few weeks now, I’ve been working on the design of an Adventure Game. I can’t remember exactly when I started thinking about it, but I DO know I created a game file for it on Feb 20, 2012. So I guess that counts as good a date as any.
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in terms of plot or anything, but I knew I wanted to make a light-hearted adventure game about a girl and a dragon. I wanted a dragon because I have very, very vague memories of some sort of probably-educational game I played in year 3 or 4, where the end part was something to do with a dragon. That seemed a good enough reason as any. Also I’m pretty practiced at drawing dragons. I called it “Georgia and the Dragon” because of St George and the Dragon. I thought it was
clever terrible AWESOME.
I started working on a hand-written design doc (somehow, writing by hand seemed like a good idea, as I can’t press “backspace” or just forget to save it), and over a couple of weeks, I started fleshing out the intro and the preliminary puzzles. Then I got stuck, so I left it for a bit. And then I wrote some more, and came up with some silly ideas and themes that I could commit to. I decided I would have a “demo” that was a standalone series of nested puzzles, and then I’d work on the main game while that was out there getting some attention (and funds, hopefully!) Yes! Awesome. And then, the worst. I was stuck. Absolutely, completely, stuck. I had this one puzzle that I just couldn’t make WORK.
And then, a friend linked another friend to Jordan Mercher’s journal entries of The Making of Prince of Persia. I don’t know what it was-maybe it was his own struggle with whether what he was doing was worthwhile-but suddenly I KNEW what to do with that puzzle. Pop! It unblocked. It all made sense. And I was so excited.
And I thought about how, if I was writing a journal, I would have written an entry last Friday: “Saw Liza for coffee, wonderful to hear her GDC stories. Afterwards had dinner with Baz, Shem, and his friend. Complained that I was completely stuck on this puzzle. Discussed a few things, but nothing seemed right.”
Then, less than a week later: “I have it! It’s so right. It makes sense, it does so many good things. I can make a joke, I can foreshadow, I can tell the player what to do without treating them like an idiot! I AM A GOD.”
And then people would think I’m arrogant and it would be awesome, because I’m so afraid of being arrogant that I’ll err on the side of “being terrible.” So I’m forcing myself to do this, I’m forcing myself to be accountable, I’m forcing myself to talk myself up. Because if there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I have high standards. And if I have high standards, I’ll either let things fall by the wayside (too embarrassing/not good enough!) or make them awesome. So if I can’t let them fall by the wayside, I’ll be forced to make them awesome. So that’s what I’m doing.
It’s two weeks since I had that puzzle come unblocked, and I’ve made Georgia and the Dragon a Facebook page. I’m making art assets now, which includes character design, items, and world design. I really need a logo. I really need two logos!
But more importantly, I need to keep blogging, both for myself and for others.