Well this week we finally got our game ideas down to two. As much as it appears effortless to write or even read this last sentence, in actuality it became a daunting task. So much so that I am trying to tie down these blurred memories in order to relate the week’s events. Nevertheless, I feel that the challenge presented this week is developing ourselves as a team and me as a producer.
On Tuesday we were tasked with taking down five ideas to three. In order to break these ideas, the data gathered from last week were used to help guide us. The twist to this was that the data would not provide the name of the game idea in order to distance personal feelings from the discussion. When my team received the survey data, we noticed that two games right away were clearly ahead of the rest. As a result, we quickly decided that these two would represent the final three. There were two other games, however, that were similar while one was clearly lower than the rest. Unfortunately the game that received the lowest score was my own. It represented a juicy and interesting topic (which I will save for the future), nonetheless I guess people felt it would be an interest game (as I have been told) but not for a thesis game.
The team erupted into a short debate trying to use the data to clearly show a winner between these similar two. In order to this, I and a fellow producer Allen attempted to use what we thought was the important aspects in the data that represented a good thesis game. Using this logic, we put “gameplay” and “juicy topic” at the top of our list and as a result we were able to quickly vanquish one more.
The survivors that were included in the final two included a game that utilized a device to defy gravity and solve puzzles, one that examined the ideas of waste, memories, and reincarnation; and the final game examined the idea of visualizing to the player senses other than sight. After we had decided on the three, we were tasked with making updated game documents for the three games.
On Thursday came the moment of truth. We needed to ax one of the ideas and begin pursuing, and ultimately prototyping, the final two. However, this proved to be a very difficult decision for our team. In order to eliminate one, we would first discuss it with our professors. Unfortunately, they were indifferent with these three ideas and offered only their thoughts on each one. This information began a discussion regarding the three games.
At first, the game about senses appeared to be the clear winner and it was decided it would be one of our last two. But as we began discussing this game later, the other two began to make their way pass them. Now the discussion turned into a horse race with each game appearing like the clear winner only to have the others catch up and pass.
One of the games that we were unsure of as a team during the day was the game Wasteland – i.e. the game about waste. Mark, our artist, took the idea and evolved it to the point where we began to formulate an interest game mechanic and idea for the game. The team began riffing off the idea to the point that no game was safe.
At this time we decided to administer a revote per se to see which game we felt would be safe. The game that made the list was the game, now named Inverse World, with the teleporting-type device. The game, as Bob our professor put it, sounded fun. It is a game that could easily be a game that could explode on Steam or on a next gen console. Plus, it would be easy to prototype right way. The game however did not have a clear hook that could extend to an IGF audience. Inverse World nonetheless made the cut since many felt it was fun, interesting, and could be iterated on to possibly make it worthy of an IGF finalist spot.
Because of this vote, the senses game, Out of Sight and Out of Mind, was no longer safe and it was between it and Wasteland as the second game. Our discussion of the two games continued for some time. Since it appeared the team was still divided, we decided to ask for our professor’s input. This proved to be similar to the earlier when we spoke to them for the reason that they were both split in the middle. They proposed, since us as a team liked both ideas, we could possibly work on three prototypes simultaneously and see which of the games we would eliminate based on the prototypes.
I, however, argued to my team that this could possibly hurt us in the long term since we would be focusing our energy and resources on three prototypes. I also expressed my fear that it could divide the team and further polarize us by dedicating our time to one of the three. Thus, I proposed that we should go forward with two and make the difficult decision to kill one. After a brief discussion, the game that appeared safe was no longer moving forward. Wasteland’s last minute surge because of Mark’s brilliant ideas for the game, helped propel it ahead. And at this moment we finally had our two.
I know I am very happy to have it down to two in spite of the fact that I really wanted Out of Sight and Out of Mind to move forward. The reason I am happy is that the team appears to be eager to begin work and the process of eliminating games appeared taxing on everyone. We have spent the last three weeks creating 100-games ideas and quickly working to slice them down to two. Exhausted and eager to work, we are now ready to move forward. And I am ready to move forward. It’s time to prototype!