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Of the Necessities of the
Mental Model and the Plan
"Most ohr games are spur of the
moment. things are added as the author sees fit, usually as the author
goes along.... You could spend half a year making something just
by adding things as you see fit... and it'll still look like it was thrown
together by a one eyed monkey on crack. What the best games have
in common is that they were planned. Maybe not from day one, but
many of them were planned well in advance of where they are now.
If you plan a game, you have to think about many little things and how
they go together, and even then the plan winds up being revised a few dozen
~The MeAjur Komera Waddi
I've found that the single most important part of making a game is knowing
what you are going to make before you make it. This cannot be overemphasized.
Before they started building the Empire State Building in New York City,
some One knew in their minds what it was going to look like, how tall it
was going to be, what it was going to be made of, where the doors will
go, where the elevators will go. It was all in their design blueprint.
A game is the same way. You can't just go running off with bricks and cement
and steel and hope to build a good building without planning, and so you
can't just go running off with graphics and music and characters and hope
to build a good game without planning. Just as a poorly planned building
will collapse, a poorly planned game will, well, collapse.
Look at the Ohrrgpce games which have collapsed, and you'll see concrete
examples of why One should plan One's game. Take a game like Ashs.rpg for
example. Not only is the game shorter and more boring than the download
time, but I could have -made- a better game during that download time.
When playing these games One just gets a sense, an intangible knowledge,
that the author didn't plan the game, and that the game and story elements
were probably thrown together for no rational reason, monsters are in the
game for no rational reason, the very plot flow has little to no rationality,
and the dialogue can feel... like random words.
Knowing what you will do before you do it is not only the essence of
creating a game or a building, it is not merely the essence of creating
all art, it is nothing other than consciousness itself. What is a plan
but a prediction of some thing or event in the future? What is a mind for,
if not to anticipate things, and to aim for things? How can a being be
capable of doing anything at all if it is not capable of planning? One
might even say that to the extent that something plans, (that is, knows
which doings may lead to which results, and decides what it will do in
the future accordingly), it is alive, and to the extent that it does not
do those things, it is not alive.
And let me add that I will, for this very reason, ignore those 'people'
who continue to insist on just 'going with the flow' and 'following their
inspiration', they are of no concern to me, as I am of no concern of theirs,
as their creations are of no interest to me, my creations are of no interest
to them. My view is that inspiration is not something that should be waited
for passively, it is something that should be gone after directly and aggressively.
If One is consistenly sharply observant, One may easily find inspiration
crowding One to death. It is not about inborn gifts, it is about acquired
talent, which is nothing more than that which arises from the sense
of life characterized by a consuming curious listening and looking
habit. One of the most famous quotes about writers of all time is that
a writer is "one whom on nothing is lost".
For the best possible plan, you must, in effect, live inside of your
game. This is what I mean by the mental model. To create and expand your
mental model of your game, your vision-in-your-head of it, you'll need
to visualize your game's world, and in that way realize it (make it real).
You'll need to see, hear, and know your characters, and in that way realize
them. You'll need to know what they would do in different situations, you'll
need to know how they walk, sleep, and eat, and in that way realize their
habits. The more vivid your mind's image of your game, the more vivid your
game will appear in the minds of people who play the game, and the more
fun it will be to actually create the game. Play out scenes in your imagination
before you write them. Often, a scene you imagine may not make it into
the game, but even imaginings that don't make it into the game will help
you realize your characters.
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