March 19, 2007

Back to School

back to school

The wonderful vacation from work is over and tomorrow I go back to school so to speak. I think the time off was much needed but I kind of wasted most of it you could say because I was mostly trying to adjust back to having a life outside of work. I did not take any grand vacations due to scheduling conflicts with my girlfriend nor did I go back home to see the family like I should have, instead I read a lot, relaxed, and caught up on a lot of games and various entertainment. Oh and I reconnected with some friends whom I have not really talked to since E3 last year.

The one thing that is certain is that the best cure for a block in creativity is to become bored and honestly for me this is totally true! I have had more ideas for random things that I would like to either make or get involved in during my break than anytime in recent memory. Also not having to be anywhere lets me indulge in my favorite creative activity which I have dubbed "The Archimedes Shower". I know this may sound a littel weird but I do a lot of thinking in the shower and usually come up with many of the ideas for God of War gameplay mechanics while I am showering. I cannot count the number of times I would go home during crunch on God of War 2 baffled by some logic issue with a boss fight or broken system within Kratos himself not knowing how I was going to fix it but in the morning after a little bit of sleep it would always dawn on me during my shower how I might go about fixing these problems. I hope by coming "clean" about my secret muse I do not jinx it!

One of my favorite things to do during my vacation was to go back through all the old designs I have worked on and see if there were any seeds that could be nurtured for future projects. I kind of forgot how many games I worked on that were cancelled during my first few years as a designer. If you scroll down you can see the games, which I have been credited on during my 7 years in the business. So I have shipped 6 games in 7 years which is a super good ratio if you ask anyone in the industry but check this out I have also work on 3 games which were in development for at least 3 months and another 3 games which never made it past the proof of concept phase. Looking back at those numbers after completing a monster game like God of War 2, I wonder how many games I will actually ship before I turn 35… my guess is two if I am lucky with the scope and scale that next generation is demanding.

At first I was really bummed out by this realization, but then I thought about it: no matter what game I was working on I always worked just as hard no matter if it was good or not. So what keeps us coming back for more, is it money, fame, love for the craft, a sense of completion or some ill proportioned mix of those things? For me it’s the thought of not doing it that brings me back. I know I could do something else that pays more with normal hours I would be bored out of my mind and miss it more than words.

So I am going to walk into work tomorrow like a bright-eyed freshman on his first day of high school, we’ll see if I get to take the girl of my dreams to the senior prom! Sucks to know I will be shoved into a locker many times before the prom.


Sean said...

You know, former CEO Jeff Taylor says he gets all his best ideas in the shower as well, so you're in good company.

ortholomeux said...

you aren't alone, buddy. the shower is where it all happens for me...i also wash myself and do game design there too...tmi?

Jo said...

The shower is my inspirational time too! How weird :)