Well, life, as always, has been crazy. 2 trips down, 2 to go, 2 conferences, 2 weddings, relatively little time spent at work, and less on World. Alas, so it goes.
But in the absence of time spent working on the nitty gritty, I've instead been just thinking about the project as a whole. I've come to a decision regarding the future of the World project, talked about it with the fellow Toasties, and decided to write it down here, as a sort of official declaration, though few will read it.
The project, in general, is knowingly unattainable in scope. The World project's target game is a monstrosity of complexity, and although I've reduced the complexity of the beast in many technical ways, the full game is still far far away, despite spending 3 times longer on this project than any other in my past! However, what we do have is not valueless! The game and architecture are tenable and getting funner. The mechanics are interesting, and the setting is slowly maturing, at least in concept.
Now, as with all my 'side' projects in the past, the goal has not been to ship, to make money, or to even finish! None of my projects ever attained anything resembling completion.
I think it's time that changed.
So we have a new goal. I want to finish a project, even if it is a simple, miniscule representation of the whole. To that end we've designed a new, manageable project, which takes the current project and provides it a more concrete direction.
The new game is smaller. It loses the World aspect and only retains the Skirmish. It is single player (to start)! But it is attainable. The idea is to take a short story, a precursor to the World epic, and to execute it as a short sequence of concrete manageable missions. The missions will be a sort of archetype for the skirmishes in the World game. The player development of the game will occupy, roughly, our estimated first 30 levels, which takes us up to the introduction of 'magic'. These levels are already established and designed, for the most part! The mechanics of gameplay do not differ from the World's skirmishes, with some exceptions for multiplayer capability.
This project concept puts a target out there in reasonable reach. It'll get me to focus on the actual game and less on theory, perhaps. It's direct us to do things we hadn't before, but always wanted to, like level design, sound engineering, installation, actual assets. And in theory, it can get something out there, and make this a 'real' thing.
I suppose that's the crux. Someday I want to make my games for real. In college, Tristan and I came to the realization that we could make a game, so why not do it, and damn the doubts of expectation? Here I find myself at a similar point. What's stopping me? Only myself.
Time will tell.