The Pursuit of Excellencish

Making surprisingly good headway into the new game. As ever, I’ve found myself reluctant to say what it is, which is some kind of totally absurd secrecy behaviour I barely understand. So, anyway, it’s a game interpretation of Epic Sax Guy, called Epic Sax Game. It started off as a super simple version, but I’ve ended up adding a bunch of different “levels” and I feel kind of excited about it just at the moment (pending the despair I will necessarily feel in a week’s time or whatever). One thing that’s happened, though, and happens with some frequency in my game making, is getting massively sidetracked by technology-related stuff that is ultimately a bit irrelevant to the game itself.

In the current game, I occasionally dive off into obsession with making the looping music in the game loop just right. Flash actually has some pretty amazing problems with properly looping music, and there are all kind of arcane and tech-y solutions out there. Which is all fine, and I’ve wandered those alleys extensively, except that I don’t need perfectly looping music for the game. Or, rather, the idea of the game, the point of it, doesn’t hinge on perfectly looping music. So to the extent that I care about making games because I want to convey an idea or a joke or a whatever, then why should I burn so much time on technical details?

I shouldn’t.

And that’s not to say that nobody should. Instead, it’s a characterisation of what I personally find important about making games, and thus a reminder to myself of where to focus my energies. It’s always going to be tempting to hone different technology elements to a fine point, because, well, because you can – that’s part of the meta-game of programming a game. But the meta-game I’m interested in playing doesn’t involve that stuff, it involves thinking through ideas/experiences and getting them out there as quickly as I can to convey the ideas/experiences to other people.

So. Dear Future Me, please don’t get obsessed with technology/coding solutions in the midst of making a fairly simply game. I mean, I know that you will, but try to be more self-aware and pull out of it a bit earlier, if you could? Don’t spend a week fiddling with Box2D to no particular end if you could avoid it. Don’t worry quite so much about ultra-precise beat matching for a rhythm game.

I don’t mean don’t polish, do that a fair bit. But don’t polish so much that there’s nothing left of the spark at the end. You need a few edges to catch on, anyway.

Thanks.

29 February 2012
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