I ran across a Richard Feynman quotation/anecdote a few weeks back, it seems that he, like all of us, can struggle with identifying his motivation: “
Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing – it didn’t have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with
.” What then follows is a firsthand look at how a celebrated physicist uses a playful attitude coupled with cafeteria plates (and their complex wobbles) to refresh his joy of ‘thesis-type problems’. I’ve adapted that playful attitude myself of late, mostly to the ire of my friends: most normal people believe they already have just the right amount of linear algebra in their lives.
So with new inspiration, I recently headed to the Chicago Game Jam to see first hand what happens when you let 30-odd self-motivated individuals just do what they do best in 48 hours: play with games. Anyone who’s been involved in a game jam before can tell you it’s not just about winning (though that’s really fun), but it’s about what you take back to add to your development arsenal.
What did I learn watching these coders, artists, musicians and industry professionals? What did I learn that I could use? The answer is a lot (I haven’t been involved in a game jam since about 2005, I won’t be going that long without again), but here are my ‘key takeaways’ as applicable to Touch of Death:
And maybe most importantly:
Needless to say, the past week has seen me re-orginize our project plan to further reflect a bottom-up process for the rest of our development cycle. I’m also going to push hard for alpha, so we can get some much needed feedback.
It’s amazing what you can learn in 48 hours. Sometimes, we all have to drink from the waters of renewal. Who knew I would find them at the Chicago Game Jam?
For people seeking more information, there are some good videos of the Chicago Game Jam and an excellent write-up by our Lunar Giant’s own Jay at http://jaymargalus.com/game-jam-post-mortem-how-tos-what-id-do-differently-what-went-right/ for people interested on the execution of a successful game jam.
Kudos to everyone who made the game jam a success.