So late last night brought the minor miracle of finishing and “releasing” (also called “putting on my website”) my newest game, Safety Instructions. It’s considerably more ambitious and is the first time I’ve really put effort into properly polishing and completing a game, rather than making something that carried the concept I had in mind and leaving it at that (e.g. GuruQuest, Let There Be Smite!).
Part of spending that time on really working hard to make the game feel complete and somehow self-sufficient was, frankly, agonisingly dull and irritating. Had to work bloody hard just to make something to give testers. Then the testers quite rightly pointed out any number of things that were problematic with the game, including many, many things I hadn’t seen myself. At which point I had to grouchily fix everything. Then fix more stuff. Then release it, only to have some more eagle-eyed players find more problems, which I then had to fix some more.
In other words, the polish bit is really time consuming. I’d say I had something that basically communicated the idea of the game (Mavis Beacon meets Sierra Death Scenes meets Airplane Safety) at least three weeks ago. But it took the extra three weeks to make the game into something that behaved itself in front of players and to add enough to it (bonus level animations, nightmare mode) to make it feel like a more fleshed-out experience.
Fortunately, however, the polish bit is also extremely rewarding. Even while I was grouchily fixing things, I was really happy about taking the game more seriously and paying attention to the finer details. It’s one of those times when making a game feels, somehow, like “good honest work”. It’s also been great as an experience of fighting against my inner demons of “fuck it, just throw it out there, don’t worry about it”. Had I listened to those demons I don’t think Safety Instructions would have felt right.
All that said, I’m not entirely convinced I’ll be making another complete-feeling game for a little while. I want to make some more ridiculous conceptual stuff first, that does absorb me quite so much in the details. And I’m definitely going to avoid such animation-heavy designs for a long, long while. Like, maybe forever. Shit that stuff takes insane amounts of focus. Focus I barely possess
Anyway, it all came together. Now there’s a game about airplane safety instructions, which is something I badly wanted to exist for quite a while. And I was the one who made it! Perfect!