Inverse Gravity Turned My Smile Upside Down

It has been a serious roller coaster experience working on this new game You Say Jump I Say How High. It started with the tiniest little idea, a fairly obvious one that may already have been done, of having the player control physics parameters. The idea itself is interesting for all sorts of reasons, I think, and ties into thoughts I have about the external forces the player might bring to bear on a game’s environment. The problem is that I think it’s going to suck.

Until just recently I’ve been sufficiently distracted by just how hard I was finding the game to make – all that drama about Box2D versus naive physics and so on. Well, then I solved all those problems, and then I made some levels, and they worked kind of like how they were meant to. And in the absence of all the distractions surrounding implementation, and confronted by the reality of a game more or less like what I’d been thinking of, I could finally see the game itself. And it wasn’t actually very good. It’s fine, of course, but it does just feel like a vaguely amateurish platformer. Graphics aren’t going to help – not that I was planning on doing anything special anyway.

None of this would actually bother me much if hadn’t been for all the success of the past year with my other games. If thousands of people hadn’t played those other ones, and if I hadn’t been the happy recipient of so much positive energy, I’d just be thinking “fuck it, I’ll make it and move on”. But now I can’t help but feel the premonitions of the bruised ego and depression that will result from releasing a game that’s just barely passable.

On the other hand, fuck it. My only real responsibility for now is to mess around making games that are interesting for one reason or another to me. This game remains an interesting idea, and so I’m going to finish it and put it out there to languish like Prometheus, but without even the eagle to keep it company. Or something. Also, it’s been a pretty amazing learning experience to at least play around with level design and to develop, as a consequence, a truly enormous amount of respect for those game designers who build systems and levels and do it well. Hats off. Not that I wear hats, and certainly not multiple hats, but you know.

In summary: aw shit, this game isn’t that good, but aw fuck it.

10 February 2012
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