Tuesday, May 09, 2017

On Design

Garret wrote a very interesting post today about game design and color.

Here's a brief excerpt, and I encourage you to read it in full:
For the most part I don’t dream in colour... I can’t visualize colour either, I can’t see it in my mind’s eye. 

Which leaves me wondering why I need to work and design in living colour.

It's a fascinating post on the creative process and how it's influenced by what we see in our mind. Which made me want to write about the same subject, but from a slightly different perspective.

Creation comes in all different kinds of forms to all of us. Sometimes I see essentially an end product in my mind (like an image representing something bigger), and then need to work back from the end to the beginning.

Sometimes it's not an image. It could be a one-sentence description of an idea. It could be anything that's a conclusion, then I go back and tease out the details.

Here's an example of how this works. For Fighting Eleven, I want there to be a campus upgrade screen where users can spend upgrade points and improve the beauty of their campus, purchasing and placing all sorts of objects.

This is a 100% gratuitous part of the game, except that you can improve your campus beauty rating (which would have an effect, but only a marginal one, on recruiting). It's not the rating that I care about, though--it's the meticulous process of designing this little tilt-shift world.

That's what I saw in my mind, and eventually, all the details filled in around the image. So I have a robust design for that part of the game now, and it all started with that image.

And Sim Golf. Sim Golf must have influenced the emergence of that image in some way.

This can be a trap, too. I've made it to the recruiting battle screen (not part of campus beautification, obviously) in the development of the game, but it's much easier for me to almost finalize art, then work toward the image in my head. It's hard for an artist to work that way, though, and if Fredrik gets backed up, I'll use the delay as an excuse to to stop working.

Bad, bad habit.

The biggest difference between myself and Garret, though--well, besides the fact that he's a genius--lies in quantity of ideas. His brain is the like the ball pit at Chuck E Cheese, and every ball is an idea.

It's packed.

I'm not like that at all, unfortunately. Ideas come to me much, much less often. So while Garret is frequently working on three or four projects at once, I'm never working on more than one, and there are long gaps between mine.

I'd be very curious about the creative process for someone like Tarn, who has created a world so complex and intricate that it defies explanation or description.

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