The Highs and Lows
Starsiege 2845 Developer Diary #4
One of the fans over at the official Starsiege site asked us to relay some of our best and worst moments so far with the project, along with things we may be dreading or looking forward to. There have been some very interesting replies so far (you should definitely check it out) but I decided that I should probably repost my thoughts here for the readers who don't get around the forums much. It serves as a pretty interesting developer diary as it were:
Well for starters... I don't get to play games much anymore. Seriously. I actually have to SCHEDULE and purposefully make time for playing games. I've also started playing more console games as a result, because habit tells me that when I sit down at the PC at home, it's time to do some more Starsiege related work. So what will happen is if I take an evening off, or set aside a few hours, I find it's not the monitor I want to be looking at. Which leads me to the den, and the X-Box. That's actually how I got around to beating Spiderman 2 and Return of the King (finally.)
All of my friends now worship me. I was already held in high regard due to my position as Evil Overlord of our Congregation of Geeks and my management of TRP and SSU. Now however I have transcended mere adulation to some sort of God-Emperor like deification wherein the disobedience of my commandments has become a sin. That alone is payment enough for my labors.
That was a good paragraph, I enjoyed writing it. It may stretch the boundaries of what qualifies as truth, but it was far too much fun composing to let facts get in the way.
I'm still waiting for all the 'most fun' moments of the project. Certainly I've enjoyed some stuff so far. The actual kit-bashing, brain-wracking exercise of crafting an intricate storyline is a fun process in and of itself for me. My anticipation of certain events though far exceeds any level of pleasure I have derived from the project to this point. Things like our first full-staff furball, or standing for the first time in a copse of trees and watching an Adjudicator go lumbering by... I get goose bumps just thinking about it, or putting the finishing touches on some of our more emotionally charged missions and cutscenes... RAWR.
Most of all though, I'm looking forward to the fan response. I've said from the beggining that one of my goals is to have you guys learn to utter my name as a swear word. I want you to get to those key moments in the campaign, those moments of dreadful decision, and have to pause the game because you're not ready to make that choice. Not ready to find out what happens when you do. If we as a team can accomplish that, I will feel a very deep sense of satisfaction.
What am I not looking forward to? The dialogue. No really, the tightrope we have to walk in order to effectively convey the appropriate level of drama without descending into camp... you've no idea how hard that can be in this medium. It isnt enough to just write good dialogue. You have to consider the audience and they're expectations of the medium. Lines, and delivery, that might go over really well in print, or on stage, or the silver screen, could easily be taken as melodramatic within the setting of a game. It is an unfortunate curse of the medium. Gaming is growing and maturing, so some of that is changing, but how to push the envelope without shattering people's suspension of disbelief and reminding them that this is a game? That is a particular trauma I am not looking forward to.
So far though, the biggest frustration has been finding time. I wish I could ditch my real jobs and focus on this. I don't delude myself into believing it would make the work easier. It wouldn't. Writing is a difficult job when you do it on the clock. Inspiration does not just come at your beck and call, and sometimes you have to trudge through hours of painful work before you can emerge into the bright light of the muse. And the deadlines don't change just because you're tired of deleting and retyping the same damn paragraph ten times. It would be nice though to have a few more hours in which to endure that ordeal and not have to divide my attention quite so much.
Maybe someday soon. For now though... back to work. Hope you enjoyed the tour through my personal heaven\\hell.