Creative Growing Pains

Now that I’ve no longer much of an MMORPG commitment — the marriage with Champions Online goes on, but the honeymoon is a faint and distant memory — game development has re-entered the picture.  In fact, it seems to be even a higher mental priority to me than my university classes, which is problematic if I plan to get out of here with any kind of accreditation.

Game development is, at least, very good mental exercise – which is rather important to get in order to preform well in said university classes.  It’s tough to appreciate when you’re actually playing the game, but somebody (or several somebodies) have gone about the mind-bending work of redefining reality in context of being an entertaining activity.

Being an original game creator looks easy, but it’s much in the same way an accomplished juggler could make it look easy to juggle 5 babies and a chainsaw.  Little wonder there’s so many clones in the world.

Consequently, like any valuable skill, it’s something that requires a lot of practice.  What I have been doing steadily over the past few months (Champions Online vacation aside) is basically grow a ton of synapses in the direction of learning how to do this.  I soon expect to have a finished game.  Maybe not a good finished game.  Even probably not a good finished game.  However, what master craftsman has not left path of crude experimentation in their wake?

That said, it seems I have a habit of pursuing excellence.  If I wanted to make a really simple game in BYOND, I could do so in one evening, but I wanted to make a unique gaming experience, and that has proven difficult on the grounds that most gaming experiences have been done.  There’s only so much pioneering you can do before the players are completely alienated, after all.  Take an RPG, give players control over multiple characters, put it all on a map they can see with an easy point-and-click interface, and all of a sudden you have a RTS.  Go figure.

What it’s looking like I’m going to end up creating here is a game somewhat resembling one I enjoyed on a MajorBBS long ago, Flash Tanks, a game that basically involved moving around a vehicle and building elaborate bases only to have them blown to smithereens by one well-placed laser bouncing off several reflectors.   However, it’s still difficult to say exactly where my development wanderings are going to take me.  A good creative work, it would seem, is not chosen by its creator but rather chooses its creator.

I think as I get more experienced in developing, the aperture of what works can find this creator can only widen.  I take the more difficult path, not one of imitation but rather creation, and the skills developed may well end up being some of the more important in my life.  (Little wonder, I suppose, that school has taken a second priority.)

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