I was always told that my writing was too sensual, too action driven. I was not interested in creating philosophical diatribes within my writing and I detest overly purple prose. I have always preferred authors who create worlds, it them becomes the worlds and characters show something different not simply relying on some authoritorial overlay. I love authors like Ursula Leguin, Sergei Lukyanenko, Dante, Mary Shelly, people who write about the whole of humanity, the dark and the light. Who create worlds that show it and make it tangible. I love to write stories about people, sex, violence, passion, hatred, desire, weakness and strength, people who struggle with being human just as much as they struggle with the narrative obstacles I give them. But what do I do with this passion, I don’t want to just write for the sake of writing I need to communicate.
Then Enters Games
Over the past 4 years I have been studying hard to be a game developer (hence slow dribble of new writing rather than the usual flow). I was told when I first started that the time where games can be developed by one person is long gone, that most games now need teams, the skills of artist, programmer and designer are too specialised to have them all in one person. Not only that but we shouldn’t try to cover all bases as it means we will go averagely in all rather than really well in a single specialisation, which is key to getting into the industry…. what can I say, when someone tells me something is impossible I just have to prove them wrong. So now I am the top scoring programming, designer, artist in the school. But within all of this I am still a writer, a writer who has found the perfect medium. A medium where I can create worlds with meaning that the player can interact with in their own way. I give them the frame work and presently the rails, but they can define what path they take and how they interact. At the beginning of this year I thought I could just go into programming that while I love games and spent my spare time designing them, that I could choose the path of less resistance and code UIs.But I can’t.
I teach the first year game development project course and as inevitably happens people discover that making games is hard work. They don’t have the passion for it so they drop out/leave/stop working etc. Part of my role is helping the students to manage those dynamics. The other day I got talking to a couple who have people dropping off the face of the planet, but still want to produce a good product. I couldn’t tell them it would be easier later on down the track, it isn’t, but if you love it you don’t care that you have stayed up all night and face planted on the keyboard, because you love it. That is what I told them. It is the passion that drives you, you are there to make the best game you can given all the limitations you have, but if you love it the long hours and teeth pulling agony doesn’t seem like much after it is done.
I never understood the writers that said that said ‘I write because I HAVE to write’, but now I do. ‘I communicate because I HAVE to communicate’ and the medium I do it with is games. It appears that life has come full circle. I make games because I HAVE to make games, and the awesome thing is is having developed all my skills in game development this compulsion cannot be dimmed by a lack of programmer, artist, designer or writer. I make games because I HAVE to make games and fortunately I am blessed with the skills, passion and drive that I CAN make games