Hello hello again. We’re back, more or less, and changed via the process of return. A complete and total university education and I still don’t have the faintest idea as to how to start a blog entry. Oh well, here we go anyway.
But first, a couple of things are in order. No, Paper Zeppelin has not been finished. In all honesty, I haven’t been able to even look at the code since the last system poured itself a big bowl of excrement and then proceeded to eat shit. It is my intention to finish that game, but it is no longer my main focus for a collection of reasons. The first of which has to do with the realities of the XBOX Live marketplace in light of the release of the XBOX One (i refuse to call in XBONE, because that shit is totes juvenile Yo). I have exactly zero idea as to whether or not large portions of the code would have to be written from scratch to even work on the new hardware. Plus also, how I would even go about working on getting those kinds of things to go up in a place to be sold anyway. As it stands, the best I can hope for is a release on Steam via their Greenlight program, but I still have to look into that.
Second, I have finished my degree. I officially have a degree in English Writing and Literature with an explicit focus on creative writing, which should surprise basically nobody that read anything I’ve ever written here. (actually, that’s still probably nobody, since seriously, look at your what your browser bar says). This actually, is what this post is really about. Priorities and, well, a rudiarius.
A Rudiarius was, back in the Roman style day, a gladiator that had earned their freedom. The name comes from the wooden sword – a rudis that was gifted to them when they were released. That’s what I have now. You see, the person that I was is not the same person that I was once. The journey to here, and the time it took to get here has, on a basic level, fundamentally changed what it is that I want. I’m free not just of school, but from a dream that I had spent so many nights on that honestly, doesn’t have a finish line anymore.
“But, but” I can almost hear you say out there in internet land. “You’re a game designer, and a writer, and you have a philosophy of design, and you know what you want to do with your life and everything! We need you to win!” That right there is the thing. Actually, the thing is Bioshock Infinite.
Here’s why. The job that I wanted, the job that I was always striving for, was what Ken Levine had. (also, to a lesser extent, Tim Schaeffer – I totally misspelled that). I wanted to be able to do interesting and mechanic driven games, with budgets well north of $100 million dollars. I wanted to run a massive team and create critically acclaimed games and I wanted them to have a particular sort of “Authorial Intent.” In other words, I wanted a Star Frog Game to feel like a Star Frog Game. I wanted it to be something where my own specific quirks are a particular part of the design. That’s what Ken Levine had with Irrational, and the thing is that even though Bioshock Infinite made a $100 million dollars for 2K, the studio still collapsed. There is no room for the kinds of video games that I want to make in modern AAA titles. Further, I have a vanishing interest in making games by committee.
In the end, Ken Levine couldn’t do it. Irrational made 2 of the finest things I have ever played and it wasn’t enough.
I don’t want this to be that way, but those are simply the realities of the industry as I see them. For that reason, I’ve decided that video game projects that I continue to work on will be on a hobbyist basis. I’m not setting it all on fire, but I do not plan to invest the man hours that I once had.
Having said that, I have no intention whatsoever of leaving projects unfinished. I will finish Paper Zeppelin and I’ll release it right here if I need to.
In addition to that, I’ve decided to shift focus for future Star Frog Games projects. During the last couple of months I have become increasingly interested in card and board games of different varieties. So I’ve been turning more and more design brain in that direction. Along the way I’ve found that since I don’t have to code those games, I can iterate over and over and over again in an exceedingly short amount of time. Not only that, I can see how people react to the gameplay and if things work or not. Consequently I can find the fun and work on making what works, work even better while quickly cutting the things that don’t.
It’s, in short, amazing.
So in the future I will post the beta rulesets for games that I am putting together so that you out there in the world can download (for free no less) and play the games. It’s a new direction for Star Frog Games, and I think that it will be the right choice. So, no, nothing is going to be like it was before, and that’s going to be okay.
All the love you’ve never known, so much more than you’ve been shown.
Hold on….one more time with feeling.