Awhile back my buddy Manny and I were setting up for band practice and I had a playlist running in the background. It consisted of songs from people like Julieta Venegas, Ani DeFranco, to bands like No Knife, Coheed and Cambria, and Paramore. He stopped for a second looked at me and said “You listen to some pretty good jams” and continued hesitantly and with a hint of frustration and borderline scorn “but you write nothing like these guys!!” I never knew if he meant it as an insult, honest confusion, or if it was a compliment. One thing is for sure though I have always been puzzled by this. I’ve never understood why I should be expected to write like someone else. I don’t share their perspective, their life, most importantly their brain. Everyone has their own interpretation of what should and shouldn’t be. What matters most is how strong your convictions are and if you have the strength to live with the consequence of sticking to them.
Although I knew my chances for SIX were extremely slim I submitted anyway because I wanted to see what type of reaction I would get from people who I have no connection to. A completely blind playtest from individuals with no restraint. The feedback I received was reassuring. Nobody likes to read. I didn’t include a proper tutorial because I have not found the proper way to implement one yet…elegantly. I included a README.txt file which described the mechanics, controls, and gave a vague hint of story. Again, nobody likes to read. I can’t blame them. In a way this was me testing how much people could pick up on just by being thrown into the game world. Not much apparently. So now it’s my priority to fix this. I need to find a way to teach someone how to play the game without telling them how to play the game. That is game design and that is how you learn game design. Plenty of people will tell you what to do, how to “fix” something, or what you should or shouldn’t do, but when something is incomplete you give anyone who interacts with it an open ended void to close as they see fit. If you listen to what they tell you to do you will never finish, however if you listen instead to what they tell you then it is up to you how you close the void, assemble the men, and prepare for the consequence.