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What happens when you keep it all together

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I recently moved from one side of the San Francisco Bay area to another. Almost all my PC title development data was on my old box, and I was working in the new place off the laptop, barely having moved the rest of my stuff.

I finally got the old box over here, and started the data transfer. Some of the early stuff I wrote about my adventure game wasn't in exactly the best format for transfer, because back then, I just opened up Outlook and created a new note in Outlook 97. Well, thanks to MSFT, I couldn't simply drag that object into an e-mail and send it through to the new address, even though I tried, the mailer daemon(s) handling the transaction chewed on the attachment forced me to do it all over again.

This is not a bitch entry at all about technology and it's limitations - we know those just as much as the extents thrill and motivate us- this is an entry about going back over old material in your design and reconnecting with the thrills and qualities (or not) of the enthusiasm you had when you first started out on your design.

As I went through the bits and pieces, now mind you, my game is very large in both scale and concept, so there is a lot to keep consistent for the quality of user experience (read: da stuff that brings home the bacon baby), and having skill in preproduction in film, I knew how to keep that foremost in mind while designing, at least at my skill level.

While I was going through this stuff, I saw all the giant levels and incredible puzzles, tricks, traps and mysteries I had envisioned as part of my original level progression to the game goal. In short, I was jazzed, and it reinvigorated me.

It pays in writing, and in design, speaking strictly from my screenwriting and architectural experience, to go back over early designs to see what you did and where it went, sort of a quality check process for me, as well as potentially a problem solver for later versions of a particular design.

But what it also does is it reconnects you mentally to the excitement and thrill you had at the moment when the idea was created in your mind, and that has immense value when it comes to keeping up motivation over a long development period, as well as validating your creative powers, an area even deeply experienced talents have a degree of emotional vulnerability in. You would be surprised how paranoid people at the very top are, at least in the film business. It's that old, "You're only as good as your last project" public/industry perception.

I don't know if a lot of people do this, but, my advice today likens to that of the long jumper.

You have to go down the same approach with the same distances and limitations in order to launch to a new attempt at a personal best.

Now, everyone necro those early designs, and see what it can do for your momentum.

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Hope the move went smoothly, I know every time I pack/unpack for my different years at university, I'm constantly moving things around, transfering files and loosing all sorts of stuff, you're not alone! [smile]

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