When I started creating my still-nameless sports management game, it was with the idea that it would be a good demo for my AI personality engine, Extreme AI. In fact, that was really the whole point of it (well, almost; I also wanted to actually finish an entire game of my own, no matter how simple). But, somehow, the characters in it started to make it more complex, more complicated, and by including these very different managerial personalities within the game, the game itself has morphed from just a sports management game into a mystery to be solved as well. A Sports Management Mystery Game, if you will (SMMG, because, you know, acronyms).
It’s funny, because this is kinda the opposite of my first game project, SteamSaga, which was built to take advantage of ExAI but was from the outset supposed to be a complex tour de force putting my company on “the map” (I think someone sold me the wrong map, lol). It was never completed and got bogged down in missed milestones and changed directions (really necessary changes, but still), and the experience reminded me of all those writers who think they’re going to rush out and hit it big and make a living from their bestselling books without ever having to grind it all out, because they’ve got something special, see, and, well, yeah, fifteen years later it’s a hobby and they eventually self-publish (gasp!) a self-designed book of short stories with a terrible cover image of some guacamole superimposed on a barrel as a way to at least get their work out there somewhere. Yup. (To have done that with writing and then turned around and done it again with game development … well, I’m certainly ambitious, anyway.)
Now older and at least occasionally more relaxed, all I really want out of my SMMG is to a) complete it; b) use it to demonstrate what ExAI and RealMemory can do for/in a game, both to myself and to others; and c) have a few people play it and enjoy it. Plus I’d like to grow as a developer and storyteller. But that’s the case with any project, isn’t it? At heart?
Part of this growth is realizing that there are limitations to creating a project like this entirely on one’s own, especially given I’m trying to create realistic characters with differing gender identities and personalities and backgrounds, and so I’m hoping for more input about the beta version than might normally be the case—ideas about character dialogue, artwork, UI, etc, etc—in exchange for giving credit to whoever ends up contributing. (As I don’t expect the game to make much money, I can’t offer a monetary reward, unless someone wants a 1% cut of whatever diddly profits the game itself makes.) I guess I’m hoping for some sort of crowd-building experience, or at least some kind of crowd contributing experience. Even by talking to one other person about the game, I’ve received some awesome storytelling advice. Hopefully more people = more awesome ideas, right? (I realize I’m being an optimist, here, and that sometimes more != better … I mean, I’ve been a magazine editor; I know what can come slithering its way through the slush pile … but the occasional gems! And I’m trying to embrace some hope, rather than what has become the usual darkness.)
Another part of this growth is not creating an absurd timetable for getting it done, so at the risk of sounding so laid-back I make Jerry Garcia look agitated, I’m not going to even give a release date for the beta, let alone the full game. Soon for the beta? Soon-ish? It depends on what my day-job throws at me. But when it’s up there on the website for all to see and download and comment upon, I’ll let you know.
And thanks for listening! Even though I didn’t actually describe what I’m building, not in any detail. Next time! “Soon …”
(As always, comments on this blog should either be tweeted to me @QuantumTigerAI or emailed to one of QTG’s contact emails. The actual comments section has been overrun by spam bots, as has my Forum, and I don’t have time to weed through them every day.)