I’ve noticed I’ve been a bit afraid to work on my game… stalling a bit. I mean, I’m always juggling my health, as well as changing jobs and moving house over the last few months, but I’ve been distracted from working on it like I wish I was driven to do.

So I’ve been trying to really understand myself, really get a feel of what I want to be doing (and whether it fits) and figure out why it might not be on the top of my list.

Georgia&Dragon-smaller.jpgThe conclusion that I’ve reached is that I really want to play to my strengths, I really want to do a good job, and I’m scared that either I won’t be proud of this, or I will be making something of a cop-out. In other words, the idea is there, but the vision isn’t. I want to make something “me,” but of course the self is an always-changing concept, especially when going through life changes such as illness (or healing), job search/changes, or moving house. So now, I’m fairly settled, I feel well, and happier that I have been for a long time. I’ve had some moments of clarity, and I’m hoping to get a lot of work done. Hopefully you can all see something very soon!

Georgia and the Dragon

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.

Georgia... and the Dragon

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.


I feel too used to criticising the society and not the individual. I want to make my tragic hero properly heroic, and martyr him or her to reveal the flaw of the society.

I am far too used to plays that say, “So this is your society: a little fucked, isn’t it?”

Instead I need to think in terms of catutionary tales. I need to think in terms of an external society that is okay, and an individual who represents a seemingly alright deviation within society, or a sub-group of society.

Preventing social and personal change

I’ve been doing more creative research lately, starting to read up on Atlantis and the Knights Templar. The current edition of Hyper magazine is exploring moral choice in games. Very heartening, but also interesting because it isn’t exactly what I’m looking into.

I also gathered together my two essays and put them together to the best of my ability to begin my exegesis. I’m formatting it with topics and conclusions which then become my design constraints. In doing this, it has more brought to my attention where I’m going wrong with my thought process on Tragedy. Until now, I’ve kindof been seeing it as a way of changing society or personal thought. But I’ve since realised that this is backwards:

Tragedy is not about changing society, but preventing change and maintaining what else exists.

Thus, I need to ensure that the theme of my game isn’t about something I dislike about society, but something I do like that is being challenged. I’m supposed to be reinforcing behaviour and thought, while warning against incorrect choices. So, I need to ensure that the first part of my game design is aimed towards building up the relationship between the player-character and the tragic hero. I can’t have him/her be too deviant from the start, or else the deviancy must be understandable/interesting/tempting for the player as well.

It’s difficult, because my instinct is to show a “normal” hero or underdog- someone who goes against the corrupt society and is revered for it. Instead, I need to make sure that whatever I am depicting in the society in which this is set is what I want to reinforce, or otherwise the tragic hero needs to take their society to excess, and make sure that the law of their city is what they follow, instead of the law of the Gods of their time.