When I was younger I read and loved the Myst series of books (and, of course, loved the games). It’s been a long time and the memory is hazy now – but I believe there was a character; A young boy who went out into the world and just observed things. He looked upon the natural world, spotted something novel, and made observations. When he came home, he had to write down what he had learned that day.
And that was his “School.”
I find something about the pursuit of pure knowledge really sexy. In Myst, I love how the obtaining of the knowledge was never constrained to a single subject, or even to a physical location – he just wandered the Earth in search for something new to absorb.
When it comes to game design, I often find I learn one big thing with each game I make. It can be something rather nebulous (like how I learned all about platformers from Protonaut) or it can be something highly precise (like how I learned the ins-and-outs of the Box2D physics API with Space Squid).
The really curious side of this coin is that the length of development doesn’t seem to affect if I learn something or not. From my 5 minute game, to my 1 hour games, to my 3 month games – each carries with it a single, central lesson-learned.
So it stands to reason that if I were to do a bunch of games – rapidly – I’d learn as fast as I could!
It’s with this idea in mind that I’m embarking on a new project; a little something I’ve been calling “12G” in my GMail labels. I’m going to make a dozen games, all of them with no more than 1 day of total effort. That’s 24 hours each, per game, devoted to programming, art, sound, music, marketing, and sales (where applicable, of course).
Because I will be attempting to make money – somehow – with each of these games, the quality of idea and presentation is very important in each. I’ll have to have a good level of polish and will have to team up with Audio and Visual arts specialists.
And, with a little luck, I’ll have 12 more nuggets of knowledge in the near future. I’ll blog about each of them as they come to fruition (I already have 5 half-done!).