Two New Projects, Two Different Processes

I’m trying to write more things, so this is a thing.

Currently I’m working on two new games at the same time – one is more of a standard kind of “thing I just want to make” while one is more connected to a research project I’m involved in at work. I’m working on them at the same time because I feel I ought to be doing the work one, but I really want to be making the other one too. We’ll see if that backfires.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the two projects capture two different approaches to game making from my perspective – they’re both processes I’ve followed before, but it’s funny experiencing them simultaneously. Check it out…

SNAKISMS is a kind of spiritual successor to PONGS and BREAKSOUT in that it’s multiple versions of a classic game (Snake), with the change this time being that I’m trying to convey different “isms” or philosophies through the mechanics of the game by making small changes. The process here has very much been cerebral – sitting down with a notebook or my laptop and literally just writing down the names of philosophies and trying to work out how you could make a game of Snake out of them. There was no need for any coding or anything because it’s such a simple game – so the whole thing can be pretty much designed without touching development at all.

It is as if you were doing work is kind of a follow up to It is as if you were playing chess but is also tied more broadly to an interest I’ve had lately in thinking about standard user interface elements in the context of play, and the idea of play as a form of labour. In this case I only have a vague kind of idea with what the game is meant to be like, effectively “WarioWare with standard UI elements”, and as such my process has been much more to grapple with the actual tools for making the game in order to feel my way toward design decisions. As such, I’ve been fighting with jQuery UI and its Theme Roller to try to capture an appropriate theming of the UI elements (so that they look a bit like It is as if you were playing chess) and working out what the game is from the inside out in some ways.

Both those tactics for game design (in the head versus in the technology) are approaches I’ve taken in the past, and of course they blur into each other the further you get into development, but it’s been quite fun experiencing them at the same time like this – has provided me with an odd opportunity to observe myself working in some sense.


29 December 2016
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