I started out building a test for one game. There was this one simple mechanic, mixing primary colours to match a another "enemy" colour. There was a greater game idea that used this mechanic in various ways. That was the direction I was heading.
That is not the game I'm making.
Writers always say that their characters and stories tell them what they need to write. This word comes after that one because that is what this character would say or do. The writers task then, is to continue, slavishly putting one word after another and prune the result into a readable, hopefully harmonious, form.
I have some experience with that mindset creating commercial art and design. There are requirements that are set forth by the client, but after that you enter into the grey area. Does this line meet that edge in an appropriate and harmonious way. Do those colours jibe with that form. There is almost always a point in this journey where I know that the piece could stand as it is. It does it's job and isn't displeasing to look at.
This is that moment for me. If I listen, the piece will tell me what it needs. Something added, something removed, a slight or gross adjustment. The difficulty is never figuring out what the piece needs, the difficult part is listening. It's easy to put your head down and blindly work, "zug zug" fashion, but stopping to listen, that's tough.
If you thought that maybe I went all artsy fartsy there, this is the kicker.
For me, that moment almost always happens when I'm on the toilet.
Maybe it has something to do with having my privates exposed, or having my tract feel relaxed and comfortable, but a problem I have been working on will coalesce from all the tiny bits and pieces in my head in such a striking and clear way that there has to be a physiological reason for it. This happened with such frequency that coworkers brought it to my attention. After coming out of the washroom and immediately blurting "I figured it out!", they posited that I might be doing something abnormal in there.
And it went that I entered the washroom with a head swimming with ideas that could work in some vague fashion, and I left with a crystal clear idea of the game that I was going to make. Actually it was the game that was always there, telling me to create it. I just need to drop my pants to hear it.
Months ago I wrote a checklist. I did a breakdown of my short and long term to do's. When I went to look them over today I found that I had done them. all of them.
umm... I sort of didn't expect that.
The checklist was only for the proof of concept demo... basically could I make some shit move around the screen in response to input. could I do it in less than an hour a day, while learning the tools and C#... in that same hour. I suppose the answer was, yes, yes I could. Dullard as I might be, I managed it.
so, what now. now the tough part. can I take this proof of concept and turn it into a game.
I have started on version 3 of the interface, which includes all the required elements for versus and single player modes. I have my new checklist going that includes all the gamey elements, like stats and a parser for moving all the gamey data to and from some xml files. Some character and enemy designs... really the part I enjoy most.
I think the biggest change in the near future will be moving the colour mixing model from the overly simplistic wheel to something a bit more fluid. I'll still be using a red, yellow, blue, colour model, which, yes I know, isn't really accurate in any study of colour theory, but it is easy to wrap your head around. Sure, you have your rgb, cmyk, lab, and whatever is in your pantone fandeck, but honestly, I may have fudged the gamut, but everyone knows that red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green, and blue and red make purple (they really don't but if you don't tell, I won't).
so here's to hoping that in a few months you might be able to load up the newest build and fight a monster... with colour!
also, if you've read this far, what else would you be interested in reading... or seeing. concept art? design docs? code? let me know, maybe I'll put in a post.