Last night I had to do some sorting on our location system, I had to figure out how much of each type of locations we had and what locations we are going to need. Which brought the question to my mind. How much is too much and how much is too little? How can I tell when I don’t have a game to test it with yet. Well, you’ll usually hear that people will say, “Make more than you need, so you don’t have less when it matters”. That’s a good idea to most things, however, can you really make more than what you need when you are paying someone to make them? Do you overpay for material you might end up not using? Considering these thoughts in my head I had to come up with a plan to deal with it.
My first thought was to sort out how many locations I had, figure out how many different states those locations had and come up with a way to calculate a number that was fair and stable enough to have a base of locations for the game without feeling repetitive. All of a sudden I received notifications from my team telling me that they need 50 new items to compensate for our new health system. Then I remembered that I need to relook at the characters passives and abilities and remake the ones that are old and obsolete because of the new health system. What do I do first?
When deciding on where to start it’s best to figure out who needs what done the fastest or the soonest. As for me, I know that character passives aren’t going to be used for quite a while and can be put lower on the list. The new items however are needed quite sooner since the mechanic of them working is being created right now. So I put that task higher on the list but decided to create only 10 to get it started and be tested properly. This way I now have time to finish sorting and balancing the level system for our writers and creators. You always gotta think of your team when deciding what to do next. Sometimes that’s harder than we realize when 2-3 teams or people want different things from you at the same time.
It’s a burden some of us bare when we take on multiple roles. For example, my roles include Game Design, Mechanic Design, Combat Design, Management, Lead Story Writer and more. Some people with more or fewer roles than me have this constant problem. The trick is to figure out a schedule so you can slowly creep back to a point of making your milestones or your timelines, or even a last minute change that grants you the lovely job of changing things you have already done. Twice, ha…..ha…..
So does this mean you can never enjoy your job if you can’t enjoy repetition? Does the joy of creating something awesome get overshadowed by constant changes and reworks? How can someone like you or me take this fear and turn it into a positive? There are many ways of doing this and different things work for different people you just have to find the one that works for you. My strategy for reworks is to just burn through the small stuff quickly and effectively so I can get back to the task at hand.
Bradley Widner | Game Designer