I want my game to be as good as it can be. That said, at least for this iteration, I’m making it for an audience of three college professors who sign off on whether or not I graduate. Or is it regraduate?
Last week, I sat down, individually with two members of my committee. I haven’t had a chance to do so with the third because he has to leave campus at 10 and holy crap that’s early when you have a job that keeps you up ’til 1AM, that’s 0100, that’s tomorrow.
The first meeting made me feel great. The professor was digging on the metaphors I was creating with my mechanics and aesthetics, and was primarily interested in those choices. To that end, he gave me a couple books of paintings by Munch and Klee, then we talked about how animation, by virtue of its divorce from representational forms, is so free to challenge and frustrate its viewers. Good stuff.
The next sit-down, and this with my committee chair, was more nuts and bolts. Without getting into details, he told me my mechanics “weren’t working.” I’ve allowed myself some distance and talked with my programmer. We’re going to integrate some of the ideas, change others, reject a couple. It’s scary running a playtest like this, when you know this person has to like what you’re doing.
I need both kinds of feedback, and both are useful. A lot of people think critique is about identifying what isn’t working and hammering at that. That creates art school dropouts. Critique has an element of diagnosis, but also one of celebration. When I was told my mechanics weren’t working, I also heard my ideas were interesting. And that first conversation helped my place myself in a historical context of frustrating art. These things are criticism, and good practice for when I have level one up and running and can do a real playtest.