Heya Space Cadets,
This is a busy time for a lot of us, but I’m going to take a little bit of time to do a Monday Blog entry for those of you hungry for a little bit of Lunar Giant updating.
This is usually a big topic day, something about a big deal industry theme or a major game design principle or something, but today let us makes it a very little big idea: Have Fun!
The idea of fun seems to fall to the wayside in most development. Often developers, me included, decide to slave away or make a big statement or create a grand experience or who knows what. I know this stuff goes on in the big studios too, though the reasons for it and the results tend to skew. Some of this is necessary; you really have to push some of the boundaries of enjoyability before you can make a new kind of fun out of it. Here, let me give an example:
I’m doing research on games all the time, and specifically on scary games, so I’ve been looking at a lot of narrative-heavy scary games. One of these is Home, which was about as far into the “narrative” concept as it goes. You progress through the game making A or B choices as well as making broad-strokes choices, like exploring a house or not. It’s strange, anywhere you don’t go you don’t know about clearly, and anything you don’t see might as well have not happened. So you can create your own little horror story by deciding what happens, but one of the things that pulled me out of the situation was that there was no threat anywhere in the game that I didn’t want to happen.
That was a bit of a snag, as I discovered, since that realization came too early in the game for me to take any of the other stuff seriously. Sure, I could make my own story, but I do that all the time. I know that the game was fun for a ton of people, but it was just a wacky experience for me. I mean, I do like the idea of it as a narrative-game experiment, and sure, I do think it was a real blast to go through, but overall I think it was a little low on fun.
That’s not bad, that’s just my take on it. I see developers, especially indies, do this a lot though. It’s a great thing, it’s a noble thing, but it can be a bit jarring. However, that has nothing to do with what I wanted to talk about.
What I’d like is for all of us, no matter who we are and what we’re into making, if it’s a big game or a little game or no game at all, just make sure you’re having fun. In fact, no matter where you are in the world, if you’re part of the industry making entertainment or part of the public that likes to play them or just some person out in your life, try to have a little fun while doing it. The real spirit of the Indie development community is, at the heart, the idea that small numbers of us can all make something a little big magical by working together and that anyone—be they a low-level flunkie getting their sea-legs in the world or an experienced old fossil trying to do something interesting for once—can find a little niche out there to get that great idea a place to live.
Nothing in this life is really worth going through the whole thing, beginning to end, making all your choices (A or B and otherwise) just so when you get to the end you feel like you got the best ending, if the whole thing was a real bore to play. For a day at least let’s stop worrying about our demographics and deadlines and just sit back with a cup of something and spend an hour or two thinking of something fun to do with good friends and family.
Spacelab Signing Out
Neil Wickman thought that was a clever trick.
He has been working for Lunar Giant studios since its inception as one of the lead designers and the Creative Director. Listen to him @LunarNeil on Twitter.