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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Brainstorming Blues

I admit I am a ravenously pragmatic person which can often get interpreted wrong by those with the “anything goes” ideas.

But sometimes in AAA game development there can be a lot of "wheel spinning", or "time burning", or "busy work", or whatever you want to call it.  Basically it boils down to meaningless tasks that have no chance of making it to release.  Worst of all you know this as you’re working on them.  I REALLY try to avoid this type of work.  So being my pragmatic self I question everything.  Why are we doing it?  What is the big picture?  Can the engine even do this without major changes?  Is the project willing and able to make these changes?  Do we even have the time?  On some projects I swear you can see the piles money being burned daily on these type of tasks, but when the right people are behind them they slip through the cracks and head into development anyway.

I find most standard brainstorming meetings to end with these kind of results.  People like to dump any random thought out of their heads, then another person writes down and all ideas are considered.  Now I’m all for brainstorming but let’s keep it in the realm of reality.  Reality meaning is it within the project’s theme?  Is it within game world’s reality?  Is it within the game engine’s capabilities?  Logically you think, “Well the crazy ideas will get filtered out immediately.”  Yes, you’d think that but not always.  Sometimes they sneak through.

I mean it’s great that you think pink bunnies with machine guns would make an awesome end boss but realistically, deep down inside yourself you have got to know we aren’t going to do that.  So why even bring it up?  And don’t then ask me to write up a design doc explaining how your pink bunnies could be implemented.  And don’t ask me to create a Power Point slide show on pink bunnies throughout the years and their rise to machine gun use.  And please, please don’t then ask me to prototype a level with your pink bunnies bouncing around using AI that was meant to be for assault snipers.  And then when it’s all been cut from the game after weeks of research, documentation, prototyping, and presentation don’t you fucking dare come to me and say, “Well we knew that would get cut.” 

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