Wednesday, 20 January 2010

6 AM Wake Up Call

Oh god, I didn't realize that there was actually time before 9am. It's horrible, absolutely horrible. You go to bed, it's dark, you wake up, it's dark. You leave the house, it's cold, you look at other people and wonder, "What the hell are you doing up so early?" I see school kids at this hour, I can tell you now, I would never have gotten up at 6am to go to school. But I would for my dream job.

It's interesting and this whole experience so far has given me a new outlook on the games industry. I love art, and I love doing it, but there's something about design that just seems much more satisfying. I would love to say to someone, "This character is mine, I did it." But I would much rather say, "This level is mine, these mechanics are mine, you like the boss fight? I designed that. You hate that level? I didn't do that."

I don't often fancy myself a designer, despite being able to do it rather well. But I always figured it would be easier to get into the industry as an artist then move to design later. So it had never occurred to me (until now) that I should probably just try and get in as a designer and do some art stuff on the side. The other way works well for me as well, but I won't complain either way.

Initially, the concept of doing stuff on a game idea that wasn't yours didn't truly appeal. But I find it's rather fun and challenging to do so. Stretch the bounds of your creativity, only to find out that the camera has kicked you in the balls. I like level design, well, I'll be honest. Of all the things I would want to do in this industry, level design is rather low down. But doing it now makes me think it isn't so bad. This time now has taught me a lot, mostly about the willpower required to even function at 6am, but also about various design practices that I never really thought a lot about before.

The simple question of, "Is this fun?" is not one you would think you would ask yourself many times. Often the answer is simply, "Yes." But why? I reckon if you asked a lot of people in my course why this game is fun, they would be stumped for an answer. If you asked why this level is fun, they would probably have an aneurysm. Yet, this is real, you have to ask yourself that, and most of all you need to apply it. Designing for other people is hard, you need to think about those 3-10 year olds. Would they find this interesting? Would they find this boring? But those questions aren't easily answered within the constraints placed upon us. Often you need to think about other designers, how the level flows, the pacing, the camera (OH GOD THE CAMERA!), accuracy and artistic license. So even if the answer to the previous questions is, "I don't think so." you can't really do anything about it.

Or can you? You can, but the method for doing so isn't one I like to think about. Back to the drawing board. Oh lord, shoot me now. Not to mention we're quite crippled in the awesome programs department. Understandable, we're temps, so why waste money on licenses and awesome stuff for us? I don't blame them for that, you just gotta work around it.

So between waking up at 6am, getting home and only having 2 hours to do anything at all (oh, and falling asleep on the toilet only to be woken up by the toilet alarm), I find myself thinking about all sorts of things. This semester should be interesting, I can only imagine it is the start of good things.

As for now, a picture I'm drawing in my spare time. I may be doing level design, but my passion is still characters. This one is for some competition called the Big Chill. The basic idea is to do something related to that, so I chose an Ice Queen thing. I haven't actually pinned it down, this picture is more for me than anything else. It's also practice because I haven't drawn a real 2D picture in ages and people are waiting for me to do stuff. So let's warm up.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent entry Kaile! Creepily empathic too, this is my first time reading this, and you posted it yesterday, but I said most of that first paragraph this evening in Pauls car! You must have thought I was quoting you or something haha

    Anyway, very interesting read, obviously very genuine as well. I can definitely relate to most if not all of that, and will be posting my own perspective on the TT experience sometime this weekend.

    Bloody Big Chill.... I wish I'd never even made my opening post, between TT and GG it's clear I don't have the time to follow up :P


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