I’ve realized that I have probably made a mistake in the last three Design Journal posts. They were essentially barrages of information, and in retrospect I’ve decided that this Journal will do better as just that – a journal. As I move through the process of designing, playtesting, and editing a game for publication in the coming year (I hope!), it will be nice to have some sort of chronicle of the process. Being a first-timer in this sort of endeavor, I’m sure that things will happen which were unforseen.
I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to edit as you write, but I’m not sure that’s true of game designs. Yesterday and today I spent a lot of time on airplanes, meaning I had lots of time to kill while sandwhiched in at 30,000 feet. Before I left I printed out the current rought draft of Parsec, now at just over 13,000 words, to look over.
I definitely found a lot of things I’d missed and plenty of weak spots, but what surprised me was that reading through the project, I actually felt like it was pretty good. Normally I don’t read things after I finish them because I tend to hate what I write after the fact – but I could really see places where I think the text flowed well. Its a challenge to write rules – its like writing an instruction manual that someone will want to read. As always, its turning out to be harder than I imagined.
As I work on Parsec, I have to find a happy medium between what the publisher seems to want and what I want in the game. We don’t want the same things, but I think we want compatible things. Ultimately, he’ll be the arbiter of whether the finished product is going to print. I hope so, and he remains interested and engaged with the project. If not, as I said, I’ll print the damn thing myself. I can lose the parts of the game that came from his setting ideas, make it more generic probably, add some story game elements, drop some systems I don’t need, and go.
So either way, I’ll finish the damn game. I know it will be a painful process – it alread is, and it isn’t like I’ve quit my jobs to do this full-time.
But I also find that I consistently enjoy working on it. Its is engaging and challenging and rewarding in its own way. Whether anyone else will think so is another matter.