Be Willing To Make Changes

I enjoy game design, read a lot of books about it and am good at coming up with new ideas, yet I don’t think I’m very good at it. I think game design can be harder than many of us realize when first starting out. One of the things about creative activities is that the right answer isn’t always obvious, even if you have brushed up on all of the theories about it. Being creative is to explore and experiment with lots of different ideas until finally settling on the right one. If you trap yourself down one path at the very beginning of a project then you’re probably not doing yourself any favours. I saw this on a TV programme about creativity once, that it’s better to start with a more divergent mindset, but to later change to a convergent one.

Game development is a hobby for me and I tend to mostly work alone. As a result I spend a lot of time both programming and creating art work. I suppose this means that I tend to be very close to my projects, which makes it even harder for me to make changes when I realise something isn’t working out; That’s a lot of effort that I may end up having to change or throw away. As I’m on my own I also have free reign to be as creative as I want and sometimes I can get a bit carried away.

I completed a fiction writing course on Future Learn earlier this year, and the main point I took away from this was that authors probably spend more time editing than actual writing. Now when I attempt to write my own stories I allow myself additional time to re-work what I’ve done; as a result my friends think I’ve improved. We tend to become attached to our original ideas or it can be difficult to think up new solutions to the same problem. I’ve found that it helps to back-up my work before making any drastic changes so that I can revert back to the original if I want to. Usually, if I can see the improvement afterwards I’ll feel happier to drop what I had before.

Pursuing your creative whims is even more difficult when working with other people. I’ve tried to work with people who are so stubborn that they just won’t back down on any of their ideas. I’ve probably also been in the reverse of this situation where I was so fond of an idea that I just wouldn’t listen when others told me it’d be better another way. The truth is, the projects where I did listen to others probably turned out better. I suppose the point to take from this is that everybody is capable of having a good idea and it’s important to be willing to change your mind. Ideas in and of themselves are not necessarily worth much.

It’s good to approach new projects with an open mind. I tend to get overly excited and dive straight into development, but ideally you’d start by asking questions and put together drafts/prototypes to find the answers. It’s a lot easier to understand this mindset earlier on rather than to try and make changes after the project has grown in complexity. Experimentation is probably a lot of what it means to be creative.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

2 responses to “Be Willing To Make Changes”

  1. Pasduil says :

    I’ll throw in a couple of points…

    – If you’re doing something for fun, a lot of the fun is in the tinkering.

    – If you’re doing something seriously, or aiming for a high standard, the chances of getting something just right first time are almost zero.

    Either way, tinkering, experimenting, reworking, or call it what you will, are going to be a large part of what you do, normally.

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