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Get Over Yourself: Making Someone Else's Game

Started by droqen, February 15, 2023, 03:14:27 PM

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"Get a hobby" hahaha yeah. Let go. Let go. Making a big commercial game is not the place for getting super attached to owning your piece of the work. And yet you can still be proud of it! This is pretty good advice.


Quote from: 36:xxThe more surround yourself by people who are super excited just to get to make games at all, the more you'll remind yourself it's kinda cool that I get to make games at all, instead of being an accountant, or a software developer, you know, at an insurance company.

One step forward, two steps back. McWilliams advocates for... inoculating yourself to the things you're unhappy about, here? I don't know. The first thing she starts this longer section with is that "You're making games because you love games! Pay attention to other games more," and I don't know, it just sounds like... submitting to the cult, lol. I like "get a hobby" more than "get a hobby that involves playing more games, making more games, and teaching other people who want to make games how to make games so that you can feel better about not enjoying making this game"...

There's something in there, but I really don't like the specific culture she's coming from or speaking to.


"What you do is cool."

This is so not the feeling I aspire to.


Ah, wow. The next section is literally McWilliams reading negative internet comments and responding to them. It's so, uh, internet cringe.


39:35- "I'm creatively fulfilled by whatever I'm working on, because I'm making games. The problem we have is that we have an industry that grew up with personal creative fulfilment being very closely linked to people's jobs . . . but that doesn't work if your personal creative fulfilment is only about making a game that you would play. And it's why the Zyngas of the world are killing, in terms of the number of people playing. They're killing it. And they're killing it because they're getting past themselves, and they're making games for the rest of the world. And it's cool if you don't want to do that, that's fine, you know, you're, make the games for people you want to make the games for. But let's stop crapping on the people who are making the games for the rest of the world."

I think it was in particular this last sentence that riled me up, that made me want to consider this quote more carefully. "Let's stop crapping on the people who are making the games for the rest of the world." This is... how do I describe it? I want to say it's reactionary, defensive. "I'm creatively fulfilled doing what I'm advocating for!" "Let's stop crapping on people for doing what I'm advocating for." It's... narrow... and though I wouldn't go so far as to say these people are strawmen, wwhhoo cares? Who cares? "Let's," McWilliams says.

I once used language like this. This is a talk from 2012, over a decade ago, keep in mind. Part of my cringe is mere cringing at my past self, my past aspirations and hopes for the scene, the industry, the world. Hmm.


The last slide (with content) is a comment which 'gets it,' and yeah, I agree with this. Maybe I'm just enjoying my little isolated island a bit too much, I don't need to be exposed to all this internet vitriol and discourse. Ugh. Here's something I can agree with. McWilliams does too. (Or rather, this comment agrees with her!)

"You can either make games with yourself as the target audience (and then hope that others like them too) or you can try to make games that you enjoy *making* even if they aren't ones you would necessarily enjoy playing. Even if you aren't in the target audience for your own creative work, you can still get satisfaction from it, and still get motivated to do it." (slide at 42:xx)

I would say that the negative is not so important for me anymore. 'Even if they aren't ones you would necessarily enjoy playing.' I mean, yeah, okay, but the important part is everything else, not the negation, the rejection... this is non-timeless stuff. The timeless stuff. Let me extract it.

Make games that you enjoy making.
Get your satisfaction, derive your motivation,
from participating in the act of creation.


Extracted from the overview:

". . . how do you inspire yourself and your team to make something great? . . . find joy in the process"


I'll end by saying I watched this talk because it was linked to me by Momin Khan -- not via Twitter, but I've linked his enthusiastic retweet here since the original recommendation was done in a private work Slack, and this one is more enthusiastic and has more commentary about how he feels about it :)

I love that his takeaway is that it's about loving the craft of gamedev. Maybe the tone wasn't for me, I didn't need McWilliams to counter all these awful internet and workplace arguments I never wanted unearthed in the first place, but I expect somewhat that the talk is for an audience other than me. That is, it's a talk written for someone else, and for these people, the talk correctly addresses many familiar prejudices and frustrations.

I'm not at an objective place when it comes to designing or giving talks, but I like to think I'm getting there with game design.

Even still, I think the more important thing is the common feeling. Not marketing, not audiences... I don't know, I can't get over the feeling, not the one she's talking about, but a different feeling. I suppose the feeling could merely be a more deeply crenellated version of the position she's attacking; I think it is more worthwhile to develop one's sense of the universal craft of games, rather than to practice a divided craft, for limited audiences. But in many ways this 'universal' sense is simply aligned with what I want to... play, or see, in the world.

Is this something I will ever get over? I guess time will tell.

But I'll remind myself, here at the end, that the first splinter in my brain was McWilliams' insistence that we are not normal people. I hate that idea, the idea of identifying myself as separate.


There are no normal people.

There are only people.

And we are of them.