The Creative Ebb


So my creativity is ebbing. This is simply due to a massive outpouring over the past 3 weeks or so, where I've implemented to great success some "enemies" for Texas. The latest enemy has required much more concerted effort, not due to any inherent difficulty but simply that that internal life force that drives this for me is spent a little bit; it will simply need to recharge. Nonetheless I'll discuss one design element that can help bring clarity.

A game can be player-oriented, or world-oriented. In a player-oriented game, everything that happens is oriented around the player, and the concept of the world existing autonomously is an illusion created by the clever game designer. In a world-oriented game, the player is just another actor in the world and the world itself operates according to complex rules of economics.

The important realization for me today is that a player-oriented world is infinitely easier to develop than a world-oriented game. Just as an example, it's far easier to build an enemy who targets just the player, than it is an enemy who can target anything. This was a mistake I made with the last enemy which has proved a roadblock and will have to be reworked. All other enemies are player-oriented, but this one I made world-oriented. What happens is very quickly I have to start implementing systems to define rules in a much more general sense between non-player objects. What a nightmare!

And not just as overhead for implementing one enemy, but a design nightmare in general that the prudent indie game developer should stay far, far away from. Will I take my own advice?

2008-04-25


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