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Moving Forward

December 31, 2008

It’s always around this point in break where I think I did not do all I could. This year it’s different. This year it’s wow, I did a lot, but I sacrificed a lot to do it. Case in point to the left. Was this really winter break, or did I ever stop working after Applied ended?

With a whole new game in the works for Studio II, I decided I would take the time during my winter break to develop what I need for a successful pitch. This includes a piece of concept art that I feel successfully depicts the style of the game, a 32 page design document, and a Powerpoint Presentation with all of the above. Hopefully I do not have a situation like in Studio I where my project gets shot down simply because “there is too much done already.” In the real world, that would save a ton of money if there was a platform to jump start a project from.

Designing this game has been kind of an exploration of the rhetorical questions I have asked, as well as the game design philosophies I have discussed on this blog. The main one was the point on innovation I made a couple months ago, how innovation for innovation’s sake ends up in quirky game design that does not necessarily mean a game is good. What I am a fan of, however, is necessary innovation, the steps in a genre that should have been taken ages ago but never were; the kind of thing that redefines a genre from that point onward. Mouse-Looking in Quake comes to mind.

The other question that came to mind in the design of this game was that of narrative-based systems, and how narrative can not only impact gameplay but define it. At the same time, however, I wanted to make sure that good gameplay was not sacrificed just to make the game fit with the narrative. I feel it is important for both to play hand in hand. Since I feel that games in general are perhaps the greatest medium ever created for storytelling, I wanted to make sure I created an intense and controversial story. Controversial especially, since that’s what gets you noticed.

A wise man – who unfortunately many people don’t think is so wise – once told me to make only games I love, because if I don’t love them, nobody else will. Well, six weeks seriously working on this project and I can honestly say I love it. Getting my new Wacom tablet just so I could finish the concept art solidified my love for this project, one that I feel is a culmination of all that I have learned from being at art school for four years and especially of everything I’ve learned in the game design curriculum. I’ve gotten sick of people saying, “You are so good at what you do,” and “You are an f-in genius,” but having nothing to back it up with. Time to change that.

Keep an eye out for updates on Absolution: Rise of Apollyon in the near future.

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