For the last months I’ve been in seclusion, working I can only describe as a monastic existence. Working alone is something I’ve done before, at every studio I’ve worked, actually. I’ve just never devoted myself so exclusively to “the pitch phase” for so long as I have here at Electronic Arts. Long enough to see the season turn as I contemplate the Infinite and seek divine inspiration. Where once this monk talked with fellow developers for much of the day, of late I’ve come in for weeks with scant interaction, only a meeting or two to discuss how things are going with the lord abbot-er, boss. Left alone in the wilderness, I owe thanks to the executives here for the freedom and their trust.
What does the day of multiclassed game designer-monk look like? Some of what you’d expect. Much of output is paper — digital paper, anyway. Word, Powerpoint. Some time is in playing games with similiarities to what I want to achieve. Take the competitors or other interesting titles apart, questioning each decision of their game design or business model. Writing pages of analysis on each of those games is good for keeping focused and having some rigor to the job. Really, though, the most fun is working on prototypes, using tech stolen from other teams, games, or engines. The pursuit is enjoyable for a time, but I seek for one of my pitches, or one version of the concept that I’vee been working on, to go forward. This week saw that happen for me.