I’ve never really been one for making blog posts, so as you can imagine when I couldn’t figure out HOW to on this site, I was overjoyed… but then when I received an email addressed to all of the “Labs” members from the big guy saying that we all needed to keep people updated… I unfortunately had to figure it out.
It’s sorta weird, you know? When I was growing up, all I ever wanted to do was make games. I guess the word I’m looking for isn’t “weird”… it’s actually “surreal” (by the way, I have a fun fact: You know those three periods “…” It’s called an ellipsis, just so you all know). After high school, there was a lot of pressure on me to “do something with my life”. My roommate would always make fun of me for “thinking that I was a game programmer”… See, in his mind, games where these multi-million dollar undertakings by a crack team of Japanese super geniuses locked in a room for hours on end with bowls of ramen and no sleep for weeks… Well at least I had the last part right!
I think the biggest mistake I made when I first started out was that I tried too hard to be that stereotype or at least the outcome of it. You know what I mean… Those action packed, space epics about guys in armor, huge guns and ego to boot! Graphics that could burn your corneas out and sound scores by the freakin’ Mormon Tabernacle Choir or whatever!!!
Face it… You can’t do that with a budget that can be added up with your left hand…
This, kiddies, is why Project: Zion FAILED!!! Yeah, I loved the concept, my pizza box odyssey of mine (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s okay… Only about 12 people in the whole world do and even less of them care).
I started to hate everything that was gaming. I couldn’t even pick up a controller without feeling guilty that I gave up on my dreams. Fortunately for me, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is hereditary and I found myself pre-ordering Valve’s Portal. Yes, that’s right, NOT “The Orange Box”, just Portal (I wasn’t really interested in the rest of the box’s contents, so I just sent out for the overly priced copy of the now critically acclaimed puzzler by itself). Guess what: It wouldn’t run on my old PC!!! It sucked so badly. I ended up letting my friend Bill’s brother “borrow” it (I use THAT term loosely… Three years later and he STILL has it!) from me. I was only after I got a 360 and a discount copy of it could I behold the splendor that was the Aperture Science Center and GLaDos. I was shocked by how awesome it was: One of the best games EVER! I was also shocked as to how good I was at the game, solving most of the puzzles before my friends could even line up a shot (usually). I started thinking about it, it’s development team, and it’s predecessor: Narbacular Drop and I wondered: “Why can’t more games be like THAT!?!” That sort of simplicity. That sort of fulfillment. That sort of almost “indie” flavor! Why can’t there be more games that awesome… Who can make such a thing?
Then I remembered: I’M A GAME DESIGNER!
I then grabbed up my team of ragamuffin programmers, writers and artists and began to work on my NEW masterpiece: Physix… a First-Person/Puzzle game with a different look on what fun is in a game. I didn’t want to be a Portal-clone, though; it had it’s view, and I wanted mine. I don’t know about you, but shooting things in the head got old around Halo 2! I wanted to have a game with a gun, but no enemies, if that makes sense (which it probably doesn’t, but you’ll see when it comes out). I remembered my favorite subject in school was art… but physics was okay too and I wanted to play off that: Gravity, friction, inertia and the like. Bend THOSE to your will so you can run away from an evil scientists lab, all while being tested on how creative you were with your surroundings in the confines of each challenge.
We whipped up a quick demo (which probably could have been better if we took more time on it) and set up a booth at Ohio’s premier gaming convention; A&G Ohio! We asked our fellow gamers to rate it on how much they liked it from 1 to 5 and surprisingly enough, the average was around 4.5! They loved it, though I don’t think they much cared for me.
Well all sorts of other stuff has happened sense then and, hey look: We’ve been slated for publishing! I just hope that our finished project puts a smile on at least one gamer’s face, even if it doesn’t change the world of gaming like all us designers hope.
I, or at least some on on our team will keep this updated, so keep on reading… Remember: Play Harder!
Wow, that’s a lot of text… did I write all that? Sorry for making you read so much!
(This post was originally made on the now defunct GamePro Labs site)