Jan 05 2013


Last year, I worked on a game.

In retrospect 2012 was a disappointing year for me, and it was totally self-inflicted. I didn’t release anything – except for Corpse Snake, which is totally throwaway. I just worked, and worked, and made Cardinal Quest II incrementally a bit better and a bit longer and a bit bigger and a bit nicer, over and over.

Yes, I’m much happier with it now. I’ve more or less managed what I set out to do: focus on a single big project and blitz through it. It just hasn’t felt great. From now on I want to loosen up a bit, do a few smaller projects, do more game jams and generally muck about more.

Part of this is due to understanding my creative goals better. I’ve come to realise one of my biggest issues with game development is that I’m torn between two broad models of game which work in very different ways. Let’s call it a cognitive-emotive axis.

I love complex, engaging challenges which maximise interesting decisions, reward every moment of contemplation and practice you can throw at them and splinter themselves in your brain like cracks in ice; and I love immersive aesthetic experiences which embrace narrative and emotion, sound and colour and character, laying siege to your imagination and drive, exploring and communicating something essentially human.

These goals don’t feel compatible. Whichever one I chase with a game, I end up leaning towards and increasingly frustrated regarding the other. To fight that, whatever I’m working on, I think I need a side project or the occasional break to provide an outlet for whatever itch the main project’s not scratching.

So that’s my resolution, I guess. Mix things up a little. Make more games.

After I ship this one.

2 Comments on “2012 IN REVIEW

  1. You’ve done an amazing job on CQ2. While CQII does seem to fit decidedly into the ‘engaging challenge’ side, I can definitely see the touches that you’ve made towards making an immersive experience. It’s going to be interesting to see how the final product merges the two.

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