I was reading a book on storycraft the other day – more work for the game, really, and helps take my mind off the pain. Don’t let anyone fool you, incisions in your belly HURT. Vomiting with one because the painkiller makes you nauseous is just insult added to injury, and hurts even worse. Anyway, I can’t find the book, not sure where I left it… Which is a shame, because there is a nice bit in chapter one I wanted to quote. I’ll paraphrase instead.
The author is talking about a novelist who had a book he REALLY wanted to write. He worked on it, but stalled. The novelist went on to write several other books and collections of short stories, other bits and pieces over the years. Each time he finished something, he went back to the novel he truly wanted to create. Years and many publication credits later, he finally finished his work, and it became a bestseller. When he was asked if something had clicked that allowed him to finally finish, he said no – he just kept stalling out, and finally managed enough raw effort in those bursts to finish it. But because he gave himself permission to put DOWN the “great work” whenever he stalled, and make something else, he wrote quite a bit in the meantime.
The lesson is clear: if you are stalling in some sort of dream project, put it down, make something else, and then go back to it later on down the road.
I did this once before. I was working on Role of the Hero in Realmcrafter, and getting very frustrated. My skills were much weaker back then – this was over two years ago. RC was much newer and less developed back then. And I kept hitting brick walls – ROTH was my Dream Game, the game I really wanted to make, and because I wanted it to be *right*, I was hitting snags in making anything at all. So I put it down, entered a “MMORPG in a Month” contest, working on something entirely different. I created Zones of Contention, a spacefighter realm vs realm game using Realmcrafter. It was a simple game: two realms, some pve vs enemy realm npcs, some pvp vs enemy realm players, mining rocks in space, a couple of quests, some basic crafting, leveling, and shopping. The raw elements of an MMORPG, really. But it worked, it was playable.
Oh, and I won the contest. 😉
Really one of the high points of my MMORPG design ‘career’. I took the engine, found a design that *would* work within the constraints of what the engine could do, and made the game. It’s funny, and maybe it’s the percoset induced haze, but I am almost feeling deja vu here. Again, trying to make a Role of the Hero ubergame, and again, running into issues with getting the engine to do everything I want it to do, inside of the skillset I have available.