J.R. Blackwell (blackwell) wrote,
J.R. Blackwell

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Thumbs Up For Zombies: Letting Go and Moving Forward

Thumbs up for Zombies I've heard it said that life with continue to present the same lessons to you, again and again, until you learn them. Then you get a new lesson.

The lesson, for me last year, was all about asking for help so I could focus on what I'm good at. I have a tendency to try to do everything myself, build everything myself, take everything on myself. But sometimes, that isn't the best idea. Sometimes, getting someone who has more skills than I do in a certain area means that the things I really am good at can shine.

About two years ago, I wrote a game called Shelter In Place. I test ran it for my friends, then at a convention, and I got a great response from players and game developers. This year, I was invited back to run Shelter In Place again, but I still hadn't finished the technical issues for the game, and I felt weird going back without a book in my hands. 

After all, it had been two years. And I was still having problems with the game design. The idea was good, and a lot of stuff did work, but other elements were clunky, and they needed work. Unfortunately, I had gotten to the end of my knowledge, and unless I devoted myself to game design, I wasn't going to get any better.

This is where it comes to a turning point. Do I devote myself to learning game design, or do I finish my novel? If I choose to finish my novel, then this project gets pushed back until I learn more about game design. Which means that if I schedule out my projects the game will be finished in. . .2012.

Which would be four years after I started. Or, I could get two amazing game writers to work on the game, to tune it up, to make it brilliant and tight and everything I dream it can be. I can do that, and I could have it out by Halloween. This Halloween.

Then it comes to layout and graphic design. I have enough technical knowledge to do this myself, but if I did do it myself, then it would be sloppy and while functional, it wouldn't be professional. I could learn graphic design, or, I could just hire a professional, someone who has been doing it for years, someone who does amazing work.

Could I illustrate it myself? Sure! I've drawn stuff before. Some of it halfway decent. Or I could hire the person who drew Fred the zombie, an adorable character with a range of expression who delights the people who see him.

I could try to do it all myself, and I'd end up with, a best, something decent and very late.

Or I could ask for help, get experts, apply myself to doing what I love best, and what I do best, and, by the end of it, hold something amazing in my hands. Yes, the end product will not be entirely mine, it will be a collaboration between artists, each doing what they are best at to create something far better than they could create alone. The question I had to ask myself is, what would I like better - to hold on to everything, or to make an amazing game?

This is my lesson, not that I can't do everything, but that I don't have to. And that turning to other people for help so that I can do what I love to do isn't something to be ashamed of nor an injury to my pride. I don't have to be good at everything, I just have to be good at what I love.

Shelter In Place should arrive in Halloween 2010. You'll be able to buy it this year. And it will be beautiful.
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