Outlines/First Draft

Howdy folks!

This dev log marks a continuation of the six part series of posts detailing development of my first ever game Flame In The Abyss.

Welcome to Chapter 3 of the #SparkInTheDark Journal: Outlines/First Draft!

I shall confess something right off the bat: as quickly as I can manage to pump out poems and articles once I have my research done, starting to write is the hardest for me. Chock it up to anxiety but getting things going is often the hardest step to take before anything else. Getting traction on most tasks gets easier over time but getting to a point where I sit down and write is ridiculously hard some days.

Let no one doubt the harshest critic of any writer is themself. Or at least the one who is most painfully aware of when they aren't writing.

But I wanted this to happen so I worked up the nerve and just sat down writing what I could whenever I had the focus to do it. Put on a playlist, grabbed snacks, and just set about doing it. After weeks of mulling over ideas, I worked out that I wanted the game to have rounds, a few dice rolls, and a starting premise of being lost in a place where memories fractured and emotions came alive. Beyond that, however, I still wasn't sure what I wanted to leave in the final game and what I wanted to take out. 

So, I did what I always do when I am stuck these days: I asked for help.

Much of my confidence in this game's design came about from talking to people in the game design channel of the @HuetopiaTV discord. I was fortunate to chat with people who had more design experience than me and who, more importantly, were able to convince me i had good ideas.

Let me be frank: I don't ever like the idea of treating projects as too exclusively tied to one person. It takes a lot of people to make a collaborative work like a game come together. Of course I wrote it but its life came from many places.

People, not just one person, drive the heart of a game, even if it is just inspiration. Other people's input and help with design have meant a lot to me and I thank Huetopia for giving me that space, as well as my partner and friends who took time to listen to my ideas.

Back to the game.

I spent a LOT of time thinking about safety tools and framing this game appropriately. Talking about themes like loss, grief, death, and trauma is hard and people deserve to have tools to start conversations gently but clearly. With all the game design input, themes I wanted to address, and support from friends and fellow writers worked out, I finally managed to write a 1st draft.

10 pages, plain text, all organized into different sections I felt made sense. It was by all means still messy and needing some tweaks but it was at least something that could be played now. As my partner always tells me: "The enemy of the good/complete is the perfect."

And, with a first draft being done, I felt like it was time to go into the most frightening part of writing a game for the first time: playtesting.

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