March 27, 2013

What being a dev is like part 2

Last time I told you what the first conceptual stages are like where you're bleeding ideas and the creative juices are flowing and shared the frustration of having to pick what to keep and what to file away. This time it's about the early production phase where you're testing your ideas and seeing how they fit together, shaping a story around them and seeing how things might need to be changed.

One of the worst mistakes I've made is to come in with a story that I thought was all sorted out and try to work with it. The whole thing is just a giant mess and it's obvious to anyone that looks at it. In the end I had to strip the entire story back to bare bones with a very flimsy framework that can adapt to anything. Which is what I've been sharing with you this past year, what it has become rather than what it was. I was fortunate to have in mind a set of core features and functions that were more important than the story so I didn't waste much time on bloated code with no purpose. I took what I'd made and the basic concept of what I wanted and I kind of just sat there considering how together what kind of story already existed. Rather than mixing two things and hoping they don't fall apart I sat them next to each other and saw what clearly pulled together naturally and formed the story on that. With the core features clearly eluding to teamwork and the basic story being a tale of survivors clearly it wasn't going to be a case of a group tearing itself apart rather a team working as a single unit towards a common goal. I also considered what other adversity there would be and noticed how the core concept also revealed clear progression of skill and what better way to show that then a nemesis or villain you encounter more than once while on the path for your end goal. Thus another character was born. As the features merged with the story it basically built itself and in the end it works together smoothly where you can't pick and pull pieces apart anymore where as before it was clear where one thing ended and another began.

The end result was so amazing when I finally took a step back to look at what I'd created I was amazed at how much better everything was than when I'd first considered it. This wasn't a case where experience and revisions improve something, it was a case of proper organization and procedure took the pieces and made something greater than the sum of the parts. Even so I remembered that nothing should be set in stone so quickly and waited for the first results of testing. While what I'd built was indeed amazing it was still a little rough around the edges and now it was time to smooth all that out. Even now I'm still a way from polishing but I've created what feels like a masterpiece and honed it's true form out of what I had to begin with.

In my next part of what it's like to be a dev hopefully I'll be able to tell you what the marketing phase is like. It's the only part of production I'm going into relatively blind because I really don't know much on marketing itself. I know a lot of the principals and theories but the practice and implementation that'll be a trick. I know I'll be reviewing a lot of successful and horrific ads to see how I might want to approach my idea, because a masterpiece won't sell itself, it takes an equally powerful sales pitch.

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