Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Month 1 Reflection - Update Part 1

Wednesday; January 26th, 2011

Considering just how, well, booked I was today despite having the day off (I'm still working even as I type this), I will manage to make at least half of this update right now...with only four minutes to spare!

Every month I plan to make a reflection on what I've done so far on Project CAS. Each reflection will involve a small rant about game design and then will continue on to personal progress, progress on the game itself and finally, I will speak about goals. There will be no particular order to this content and things may be added or removed, so expect everything and more. Today marks the date of my first reflection (all reflections will be made midweek as to offset the balance of development news) and allow for a regular development schedule. Anyway, here is my reflection for Month 1.

My CAS project, adequately named Project CAS, is effectively a small-scale video game design project with a couple of innovative ideas incorporated such as reversed leveling and dynamic storytelling in the platformer genre. I have been working on the project for approximately four weeks so far and today would mark the 29th day of actual game development time. Game development, indie (independent) game development inclusively, is a highly iterative process, with many milestones to reach, goals to achieve, risks to take, changes to integrate, and most definitely things to learn; because of this, a major aspect of Project CAS is risk taking and accepting change. A game designer, like myself, is consistently increasing his skill set and broadening his range of talents, whether those talents be right-minded or left-minded (artistic or logical). This is in opposition to many other professions where much of what you learn is very streamlined and linear in relation to your career. Game design incorporates a plethora of different talents and is a very broad profession that requires knowledge in the fields of Computer Science, Art/Film, Literature, Music, and Philosophy/Psychology.
                Arguably, the most important aspect of game design is the consideration of human relationships and how social interactions, perception, mood, and even smaller things such as art direction and story influence entertainment and the creation of an experience within a game. Game design is really about player interaction within a world (world can mean anything from a board game environment to entire 3D universes) created by the game developers and crafted by the game designer. For Project CAS thus far, I have been focusing on the actual physical content as opposed to the design of the gameplay and story. For that reason, not much thought on the social aspects of the game has actually been done; what has been considered however is how a player’s perspective on disease and life will be influenced by the game’s story and gameplay designs. With CAS, I hope to depict realistic relationships between people at a more personal scale than is attempted by many other games in the platform genre. My goals for Project CAS are to do several things: put the effects of degenerative disease into perspective for a gamer, where protagonists are generally heroic and relatively flawless (as is the convention); craft a memorable gaming experience that can be referred to not only by gamers and game designers as a depiction of the natural world and mankind, but by members of all trades and professions; and to raise money to help fund a search for a cure to a currently unspecified degenerative disease.
                If this past month of development on Project CAS has taught me anything, the most important thing is the relevance of time and how little of it we really have. As a child I used to spend very large portions of my time reading about nature, looking up facts, exploring forests and caves, and more often than not, being rather unsocial outside of my group of close friends. As I got older, I became more confident in my social skills (another very important aspect of game design) mostly through comedy, but ever since I have been consistently spending fewer and fewer hours doing what I used to love in order to pursue less relevant goals such as parties, social events, friends, and women; this could be better described as procrastinating. The pressures of school have hit hard and the IB program is doing what it’s supposed to, make life difficult for students so that we won’t bend under the pressures of real life. Procrastinating is not an option here, and yet, I still find time to sit and do nothing for hours at a time. A personal goal of mine with Project CAS is to fight my natural urge to go out and socialize (but not completely) and do work where work needs to be done. So far, Project CAS has helped quite a bit, but I’m still not anywhere near what I want to be at. My perspective for this project is that if I spend more time being productive, I will be able to craft more enjoyable experiences for larger niches of people and maybe one day I will create something magnificent.

One Month Reflection of Project CAS
By Ryan Huggins

Time Spent (Total) --> 24 hours (Creativity only so far. Service comes after the game hits Beta in a few months)

It should be noted that Part 2 of this Month 1 Reflection will include something development wise, a rather large update in fact. I think that I will utilize the monthly reflections to make big updates and to time releases of big content changes and or demos. But for now...until tomorrow (morning)~

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