Thursday, August 29, 2013

White Privilege

It's strange talking to people about things they have, and emotions they experience, when they feel that they are just and fair, and don't have those reactions and emotions themselves.

White privilege is a topic that brings up anger in people, who feel that they don't have it, and that it is unfair to accuse them of such. They are not part of the "conspiracy" to keep other ethnicities down. They have no problems with minorities. They are not the white privilege.

Yet, they proceed to talk about, how they are not getting a job because under qualified women and minorities are being hired due to affirmative action. They can't see that their view point is exactly the result of their white privilege.

But white privilege is just the definition of something that happens to all ethnicities. All ethnicities listen to their own, protect their own, and have a sort of fear of the other. They can tell the differences among themselves, and often have great divides amongst themselves.

That is to say, not every hispanic, asian, white and black is the same. But of course, there are common factors which tie each person together, and there are new global cultures springing up around the internet and video games, that can tie disparate nations together.

Its easy for me to communicate with people who use the internet. Doesn't matter what the color of their skin, or what country they are from. Things like that, are to me, why the internet is so important. It is a shared culture.

So as a white male, I wish to say to other white men and women out there:

You are privileged. You expect people to listen to you, and you expect to be treated a certain way. You don't think anything is wrong because nobody bothers you about it. You are not stopped and searched. You are not assumed to be a criminal. You are a special little snowflake. And when you notice this happening, you need to speak up. You need to correct the injustice that is occurring to your brothers and sisters. You need to stop the apathy towards others.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kill your Darlings

Sometimes you can feel that something is wrong with a design, concept or story, without knowing what it is. On some gut level you feel that what you are doing is not beneficial. But how do you transition from gut feeling to productivity?

You see, when your gut is telling you that something is off, it can be difficult to work. Authors refer to it as writer's block. It is a conundrum that has to be resolved so that the work can be the best it can be. Sometimes it will require rework or scrapping a project, but the sooner you realize what is wrong, the sooner you can fix it.

How this May Progress:

Procrastination -

Perhaps the one that can be the hardest to identify. If you procrastinate already, it can be difficult to identify your normal procrastination from that resulting from a problem. This procrastination occurs because you have no solution for the problem, yet you do not quite understand that the reason you're doing this is because of that lack of solution.

Solving Easier Problems -

That is to say, that instead of tackling the big mess, you spend time clearing out your inbox, responding to twitter, etc etc.

Essentially, you do not want to tackle the problem, you are aware of it, and so you fill your time with other things that "have to be done", but are of lesser priority.

Writing or Talking about the fact that you are Procrastinating or Solving Easier Problems -
You are now addressing the issue that there is a problem. You are talking to other people in an effort to find a way to save that problem, or to finally come to the conclusion, that it has to be resolved some how.

Solving the Problem, or Killing It -

And here it is, the whole point of this mess. If you can't solve the problem, then you have to come to terms with killing it off.

How to Kill:

Combine it with something else -

Maybe the character is a bit redundant, maybe their role can be merged with another. Perhaps the mechanic is just not interesting enough by itself. It could be that you don't need jumping in the game, so you can just put any jumping with the other Quick Time events in the game. Have it be context sensitive like other interaction points in the game instead.

Remove it entirely -

Is the scene causing more trouble than its worth? Sometimes, going back and rewriting, or recreating a room is better than trying to shove something where it doesn't belong. The best authors have every scene progressing multiple things at once (character, story, setting up a Chekov's gun). Similarly every area of a game, should be exploring the game world narrative, the character narrative, and the player narrative.

When thinking of moving from controls to touch gameplay, I wondered if I should keep the character icon, or if I could remove it entirely instead of animating it for touch. Sometimes, its better to not waste time on additional animations, while other times, the investment allows the game to feel more "juicy". Think it through and make the decision.

Change its location -

Sometimes a scene doesn't work because it hasn't been set up. Maybe make the scene take place later on, and have the current moment set up that payoff. In a game, you may need to have a room or two where the player can safely play with a new mechanic. You may feel that you have to rush it, because the level is already built, but you should evaluate the space, and attempt to script around this, or simply move the challenge to a later spot.

In the end:

Solutions vary based on why you have to kill your darling. Hopefully, this will at least get you back on track to solving your problem. Good luck!