The Light is Green

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.

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