So I’ve been playtesting. Good, right? My recent absence from this blog has been contingent on the fact that I’ll get a good blog post in after I’m done with playtesting “Chapter 1” in my game. Getting that core gameplay loop just right. I’m nothing if not flexible. I’m still playtesting but decided it was high time to get this blog post in regardless. It should have come sooner but alas here I am writing it now.
That’s the thing though – I always feel like I’m behind. No matter how many hours I put into this project on a day to day or week to week basis, I feel like I’m behind; clawing and scratching to create a single minute where sixty seconds were just lost. It’s hard to tell if I am truly behind or if I’m just absurdly focused on an end goal that I make myself feel more behind than I truly am. These thoughts cycle and dance to an endless tune of their own making. Don’t get me wrong; I do feel like I’m making great progress and the game is nearing a state where I may be comfortable with others playing it. But if these personal playtests are indicative of my future with this project (or any others for that matter) I will never truly be comfortable with others playing it.
Part of the challenge for me it seems is passing my own standards. Not to come off as boastful or holier-than-thou in saying that … I am merely striving for greatness. To be better than what I know I currently am. Perhaps a day will come where I graduate to a certain level of brilliance in game design where this will no longer be an issue for me, but it certainly isn’t a feeling I can touch, hold, embrace today. It’s fleeting. My carrot on a stick. A whisper in my ear. A taste I can’t recall. A dream I can’t remember.
There are minds in this field whom I believe to be true genius of their craft. Miyamoto, Kojima, Yoshida, Levine, Meier, Wright, Romero. What I would give to just sit and have a beer with any one of them and just ask – how do you know? And not how do they know now. No, that’s too easy. I would ask them to dig beneath their brilliance, to relive their beginnings and tell me how they knew then. That’s where I’m at now in my infancy within the industry. Passing my own bar. Knowing when the playtest is ready. Not adding this. Taking away that. And perhaps their collective answer would be the same. Perhaps one just grows to know. Something about it being about the journey – not the destination. Perhaps I am just walking oblivious in the gauntlet I should be running through. Time, as it does, will tell.
What I do know is that people will play it, and soon. Even in an unfinished state, people will play it. With bugs, incomplete modes of play, placeholders, people will play it. They will test it and give me feedback. I better get used to it. I do believe my game is fun. I do believe others will enjoy it. I do believe it will accomplish the goal I originally set out for it to accomplish – bring people together, create positive memories. I’m just not certain I’ll ever feel comfortable letting go.
Seems like I already know what my blog will be for next time. Till then, take care.