I’m stepping in for our composer on this Log this week, as he’s swamped at the moment. This means this was very last minute for me. My partner on a few other projects and I have a general rule: When your features is short and on the internet, have a picture almost every paragraph you write. I never ascribe to that rule, so bear with me.
“I don’t feel like you’re prioritizing [playing] video games” is not something I ever expected to hear, especially not as a complaint that I was studying too much over finals week. But, that’s what I signed up for. I honestly never considered myself a ‘hardcore’ gamer. I still don’t. I grew up with video games but feel like I’m doing a lot of catch up. And really, this project didn’t start off as a video game, but as a group of fake accounts trolling a five year old tight-knit internet community. But it took a turn for the serious when I took a turn for the worst. That’s a post for another time.
What’s been on my mind: The hardest part about this project is finding the right collaborators. I’ve started having to distinguish to them: Yes, this is a project, but this is a start-up project. It’s a long-term thing and you are signing up for serious work, if you decide to sign up as a core member of our team.
I’ve found the hardest people to find that are willing to do that are programmers. Why? I am told by the programming consultants I have and by programmers on other projects I am privy to that it’s because they are used to working with a certain mindset. I used to have programmers on call when I interviewed potential programmers, and after they’d say, “Don’t worry about their tone, that’s just programmer attitude.” And we’ve had meetings on how to handle that.
In a start-up, tactics that interrupt a programmer’s comfortable process are extremely important to success. This is true for almost everyone you bring in–but we’ve found the problem especially with programmers. They apply in droves, but when they hear the words “training” and “lots of meetings” their resolve diminishes.
But writers…writers are even harder. They apply in droves as well, because everyone is a writer. And they seem to be the worst with deadlines and commitment.
With a sigh of relief, I just took on a new potential co-writer. When she said, “Well, I only work about 40 hours a week so you have me for most of the other times,” I was sold. And I had given up on writers for now. I actually wasn’t responding to anymore inquiries and holding them in a big’ole “When the time comes” folder. Poignantly, she told me about a game she used to work on. Extremely top heavy and making the mistake of “Build everything perfectly, then make the game.”
That’s the mentality a start-up must fight. You release something at a minimal level, then work on it after release. Otherwise, you’ll be spending all your time trying to perfect something. But you can’t perfect something without the feedback from those you are trying to perfect it for: you, the player.
So stay tuned, and one big aim of this project is to find a way to include the player, eventually directly, into the development of these games. Soon, these will be your games too.