I didn’t know then what I know now

So the past few days I haven’t gotten much done – bits and pieces here and there.  What I did manage was to finish a platform for someone else, that might never see the light of day.  Oh, that was exciting.  I didn’t realize when I started some years ago that it would  be as difficult as it turned out to  be, but I was determined – as anyone who knows me knows, when I get determined to do something, I do it.  Even the guy who first contacted me about it warned me “this is intense, you could take a while at it, but yeah it’s something we’d like.”  I remember talking to my husband and we decided why not?

I worked on it for years.  Partly because I had other things to do – writing, housework, being ill, resting, gaming, learning Python, and all the other little things in real life that add up – and partly because yeah, it really was difficult.  I’ve played the game for which I was making this platform, and believe me I’m very familiar with my world that they wanted some of for this, but even so there was a LOT I needed to figure out:

1) what little swatch of my world would this be set in?

2) how to adapt my world to theirs, without the platform losing the character of my place

3) the intense worldbuilding involved – I mean intense.  I thought that I’d micromanaged my writing worlds as it was, but suddenly I had to worry about “what kind of stuff will this or that spell do, what characters would use spells, and which ones, what does this setting look like, etc?”  (lol once I started work on creating actual games of my own, a year or two into this experience, I suddenly saw that yeah, that actually holds true for all games, IF or visual).

4) how to adapt spells to my world, again so that it retains the integrity of the place – this was both frustrating and fascinating.  I’m beyond “not a numbers person”.  I literally had a stroke when I was a kid right around the math center, and that’s healed to some extent over the years, but I’m still not the kind of gamer who likes rolling dice and calculating hits, stats, and so on.  Lol I remember having a horrid time with WoW gear score and just trying to figure out their stats system made me break into a sweat.  But I managed this – probably not perfect, but I did. The intriguing thing is that I was able to take traits from various classes in their game and alter them for mine – so my Prince/Princess has some traits from Bards, for instance, and some from Spellcasters.

5) things like weapons and armor – yeah, for some of my worlds I’d thought on that one a little over time, like Rubikia, for instance, where on the main planet there aren’t weapons but their enemies have various kinds.  However, I didn’t think of those in terms of scoring like you would in a game, I thought of it in terms of writing.

… Yes, I’ve learned all that.  It was a monumental task for someone who never tried that before.  But that was important.  Actually buckling down and doing what I was determined to do got me to think about things, about what I wanted and didn’t want.  After a while, I learned all the things I’ve previously stated here.

But having finished this, I have also learned two more things:

1) This is not the style of game design I’d really choose if I were going to do it – yes, if I get the offer again to do a platform for some other game I’d do it, but it isn’t for me regarding my own design. I am NOT knocking theirs, though; I think their game has an important place in the gaming world. But, “games designed by JA Howe” will have a different format and system.

2) That I CAN do this.  Which is kind of important, since years ago I didn’t have a clue if I could or not.

Well, like I said, years have passed since I started, and unfortunately the team over there is different now.  The original guy I’d talked to seems to be pretty well out of the loop by now, and the new guy was honestly sort of confused when I first contacted him to see what was going on.  First I was sort of stunned by the reaction, then thought about it and I remembered my game design history – I’ve been studying some of that because I figured it’d be useful to know.  It’s happened at ATARI and all the other big companies over the decades:  you get assigned a project, then it gets dropped after awhile because someone decides nah, they don’t really want it.

I don’t know yet whether they actually DO or don’t want this, on the brighter side of things.  But what I’ve learned from actually doing the project in the first place, win or lose, will be invaluable in the long run.

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