Game Chef 2011 Diary Day Four: I’m Really Bad At This

“I cannot be a man for wishing, so I will die a woman in grieving”

– Much Ado

Lots of realisations today.

Firstly, if you’re forced to choose between your mental health and game design, do remember to chose the former. Do not game design until you want to hang yourself. It’s bad for you. It’s bad for the game. It’s bad for the ceiling. Also, when it reaches the point that writing each word feels exactly, literally, like someone is hammering nails into your flesh, it’s okay – really – to stop writing. Even if you haven’t written anything yet. (Obviously, I don’t really believe this one)

Secondly, understand that part of your mental health issues may cause you to have the attention span of a hamster with ADD as well as all the other problems. This means you don’t have a lot of time. See point four.

Thirdly, I’m not very good at design – and that’s okay. Both realisations are important. You’d think that spotting you aren’t good at something would be easy, especially when you’re a depressive. But because I’m a depressive, I believe I suck at everything, so I can never actually tell what’s going on. But the more I do this, the more the writing gets easier but the designing doesn’t. Some people can pull mechanics out of their butt magically, but that’s coming like glacial ice. If this was design a setting or write a hundred characters or something, I could do that. That’s why I’m much better at writing supplements than I am at designing my own games. It’s frustrating but maybe I can now learn to let this terrible drive within me GO a bit, instead of constantly smacking myself around because I think I’m just not trying hard enough at design.

Fourthly, as mentioned, the problem with these short term things is you can never go back. I wrote about six hundred words this morning and they’re okay but they lack the wonderful Shakespearean patios I had going two days ago. But I can’t go back and fix that. I don’t have time. As a result I now have a space game about robot prostitutes and I’ve kind of lost the shakespeare (not to mention the nature and the forsworn, and most of the exile) but it’s way too late to rebuild now. You have to keep moving forward.

I originally wondered if I could do this Game Chef AS a 24hr project and I pretty much am, because of the ADD and the time off for suicidal thoughts, and because of that, I’ve given up caring about it being likely to win, or even good, and focussing on what you can get out of these really short term projects which is how to just keep moving forward, and cross the line into the world of Finished. It feels wrong to leave things crappy, and it’s actually much much harder than working at a regular pace (because deadlines make me suicidal, and because pushing towards completion forces you harder and harder up the anxiety curve and exposes you to more and more ridicule at a faster and faster rate, without the chance to even check yourself. But now I know what it’s like to just work forwards (and to do so while sick in the head).

I have a setting, I have the skeleton of a system. I have 1500 words already and most of that is introduction. 3000 words is hardly anything.

Fifth and lastly, this blog seems to be the best place to talk about my mental illness because nobody freaks out about it. Or nobody is reading it. Except Regis, who knows me of old, and has always got my back. Hey man.


3 thoughts on “Game Chef 2011 Diary Day Four: I’m Really Bad At This

  1. Steve, let the others criticize ! 🙂 You would then be forced into a defense of the decisions you took, and love your work!

    “As a result I now have a space game about robot prostitutes and I’ve kind of lost the shakespeare (not to mention the nature and the forsworn, and most of the exile) ”
    No, your premise is still excellent. (read it again!) 😀 What seems strange, sci-fi, and non-shakespearian, is the term “robot”. (I suggest you never write the word “robot” in the book) You wrote “Synthetic female humanoids”, so one could imagine genetically modified people (ever read Cordwainer’s Smith “Instrumentality of Mankind”?), or selected breeding (Dune). So the Daughters are flesh and noble blood.
    To be sure to never evoke the cyber aspect, you could subtitle you work “Transwoman Space” 😉

    Prostitutes they are not. Companions. Geishas. They have forsworn their pledges to their masters, and have fled in Exile. You’ve got everything ! 🙂
    Plus, I once read some advice about trying to write from a few words, and it was “try their opposite genre and quantity”. So think about
    Daughter -> sisters-> brothers
    Nature -> programming
    Exile -> Home(s)
    Forsworn -> faithful servants.
    So that gives the image of the Brothers (Big? Brotherhood?), chasing them. The Daughters have to seduce them, then kill them because their programming takes over. The Daughters are always on the run, of course. Moving like gypsies.

    You may consider yourself among the winners. Already. 🙂 Here’s why : how many competitors have severe depression? So these people have a golf handicap. Let’s say you jump ahead 50 places in the final rating, OK? 🙂

    Regarding the lack of comments, I’m guessing lots of people still follow up your d_fuses LJ (and wonder why you stopped posting ;)). Try copying these posts there!

    • ah yes, another reference : the TV series Dollhouse (you know all the series so I wont say more :)). Women programmed via the insertion of new memories and personalities… there’s some goal there : to discover/recover their true self. In mechanics, this would imply that the PCs discover capacities and skills along the game session.

    • I apparently did a setup thing which should make these posts be posted to my LJ automatically, but I guess it isn’t working, dammit. But you can follow my on twitter (@tinstargames) and on Facebook which also point here.

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