Quick, what is the one thing you don't want your work to be called?
Likely answers (I am just guessing, my mindreading is on the fritz these days) include boring, ugly, and a series of other detractors. But one thing that a lot of passionate people really do not want ot hear is the word "unoriginal". I know, I'm one of them! I struggle with every project of mine to avoid it looking like just another rehash of something popular (or something unpopular I feel has been misjudged or overlooked). I want to do my own thing, and I want it to be MY... OWN.... THING. Originality. Creative new ideas. It's where my passion, and likely the passion of many others, comes from.
I am not programming these days, simply because LIFE. But I am just spending that much more time thinking about programming, then. Not long ago, a friend of mine made me promise to talk to a friend of his who does fancy consulting, the kind that costs a lot of money for people who have that kind of money and the will to spend it. I would get some consultation for free, because friendship and favors and such. So I agreed (hey, free stuff, right?).
Yesterday, I had the first little chat, and it sort of messed with my head. Mind you, this is not a GAME consultant, but a more general business consultant, so we were not talking algorithms and graphic specs. Instead, we talked about project planning, and what came up.... I honestly have to say, it annoys the living hell out of me. Mostly because I have the nagging feeling that he is right, and I don't like his suggestions, on a very personal level.
If you haven't read any of my other stuff, it can be summmed up as "I like complexity", or "I like lots of (meaningful) details". I like to look at things from weird angles, and I also have big thing with science, possibly because it has a lot of small moving parts and such. The talk went a bit into that, but quickly had everything turned on its head with the question (and I paraphrase) "what if you did everything the other way around?". The other way around? For me, that would mean, basically, to superficially copy another idea. Take something that someone else has done and do it in a very simplistic way. Needless to say, that rubs me the wrong way. Like, a lot!
But once I got over my personal feelings for the initial idea, some points came up that made a bit more sense. I, and likely many others, want to think up an original idea and go for it. I am still toying with my ADIPAX idea, a first person 4X strategy game that includes time travel. But that (I believe) original idea is more unwieldy the closer I get to building it, and maybe it's better to approach it from a completely new perspective. That perspective might just as well be to start out with something banal and somewhat unoriginal, and then slowly expand it until it becomes more original, or something else that I have yet to really think up!
I don't know about you, dear reader, but it is a massive hurdle for me to have to think up something simple and unoriginal. It sounds easy (heck, the first real "game" I programmed was a stripped-down Minecraft clone), but as a planning task, it is extremely counterintuitive and frustrating. I think I have the basic idea, strong emphasis on BASIC, but while I still try to make time to get to the actual coding, my brain keeps yelling at me in foul language, wanting me to throw out anything that isn't the next big, original idea. Unoriginal simplicity, that's for chumps.... right?
And then he went and poured another drink...... :-p