The idea for January is to focus on just the creation aspect and not so much on the theme, to keep it extremely simple, and just finish it up to get the year off to a good start.
The next step in the plan was to just write down absolutely everything that comes to my mind based on that theme, without caring if the idea was bad, the orthography, or even if I was writing a coherent sentence.
I heard about Free Writing for the first time from Tim Schafer, in Episode 2 of the amazing documentary about Double Fine Adventure. He talked about how beneficial it is when brainstorming ideas: Just sit down and write and write and write, get any bad ideas out of the way, and write and continue writing until you have a clearer goal in mind.
That goes together with the 12th rule in Pixar’s list for storytelling (in this case to discard the first 10 game ideas tha could came to mind), and an advice I read from Austin Kleon about using your hands to do your work: try to avoid the computer first, and just sit down with a pen, a notebook, and write away…
…or well, also maybe make some little drawings to help you out with your ideas. When I saw that theme, I knew first hand that I wanted to do a carnivorous door. Maybe it is an extremely obvious idea (in that case I am already failing!), but with each game idea I pictured an evil entrance eating everything in its way.
So I sketched this…
Not the most beautiful drawing in the world, but it gets the job done.
Here is a random thought: If you find an artist who loves videogames (and maybe not just love, but has a burning passion for game development), never ever let her go.
I am mainly a programmer, and when my friends and I were searching for an artist to help us out in a couple of projects, we couldn’t find somebody with a bit of free time, the disposition, or the long-term commitment for the creation of a simple game.
All the artists that were interested in creating a game were already working with others groups, or had little free time. It is just my own experience, but yeah, take care of your artists!
I think now I have a better idea about what I am going to create, so in the next update I will share what I learned when making the first prototype, and the first design decisions towards the game for January. See you soon!
The sole idea is scary, but also there is a lot of benefits to this, like pushing yourself to get something done and finished (and be proud that you did it!), get experience in your field (programming, art, music, design, etc.), and seems like an awesome excuse to test some new technologies. What can we lose?
"Make Games. Not Excuses.", how true is that!?
I will start planning the first game for January, and probably iterate game ideas/technologies for each month throughout this new year.
Surviving the first month will be interesting. Hopefully I will get past it, or at least I will get one game done, or morph everything to a bigger project, only time will tell. I will be sure to post my success (and failures) here in this blog.
There is also lot of lessons that will be learned. Testing myself and my discipline, see what I can accomplish, and get to know more people doing the challenge, this definitely will be fun!