To sleep, perchance to dream.

Firstly I should cough up an explanation as to why the posts dried up. It was a combination of three things: long summer holiday, work and money. The current project plan for producing the Collision Games project brings it in at around £20,000 and unless you have a crystal ball, that is quite a sum to gamble on what could be seen as a “folly”. Throughout all the posts and research it became very clear that the games have more in common with art than anything else and therefore to constrain them with a rigid business like plan that also controlled content would, for me at least, be a tedious and facile exercise. I’m doing this because I love games not because I want to be the next Apprentice. It means my parameters have changed slightly but that’s fine because that’s life and as someone with two small children (6 months and 2) I have a lot of experience of planning for A but executing b,c,d,e,f (usually at the same time in a best-effort is good enough sort of way!). Therefore, I’ve undertaken a largeish consultancy role in order to provide the resources for the game development.

I also have a slight tinge of guilt, not at the large break in the writing, but in not getting up to the amazing Iain Simon’s GameCity.org – family commitments meant I had to attend to more prosaic things like potty training. I’m sure he’d be the first to point out that it’s not “his” GameCity but having read parts of his closing speech on Twitter yesterday it’s clear, for me, that his passion and drive for creating a visible and approachable public image for games is the main force behind it. I just wish it wasn’t in Nottingham, not that I’ve anything against Nottingham, but on purely selfish reasons it’s a quite a trek from Cardiff when you’ve 2 infants (and 1 of which likes getting up at 5am – or 4am as it is today with the clocks going back!) 🙁

Right, so I’ve gotten the blog back on track and fumbled a slight apology to Iain for not making GameCity which is a start, of sorts. But something Iain said in his closing speech stirred me to start writing this morning and what I really wanted to write about were dreams. Iain addressed, again, some of the problems that games have in being accepted by the mainstream; in part down to those who play them, those who make them and those who write about them.

In trying to determine their importance it got me thinking about that question “why do we play games?” and it reminded me of a similar and hard to answer question: “why do we dream?”. And as I drifted to sleep last I had the thought that maybe these are now the same question with the same answer.

Games are dreams. Their internal mechanisms only have to be consistent within their opening premise but this can change on a whim; one minute you’re flying and the next driving a bus. This makes them as important and as irrelevant as dreams and that is wholly, and only, validated by the person experiencing it at that time. Some developers want games to be interactive movies, some want them to be less about skill and more about a sense of achievement (“Awesome, you’ve won the putting disc in machine achievement” ack!) but to try to create a facsimile of another medium (e.g. the movie) within such a boundless, malleable environment is to miss the point.

Oh, and what about the game I was working on I still can’t go into that as it’s still being developed – and possibly by quite a large studio (really!) so here’s the tiny javascript HTML5 game I made in 1 hour for GameCity – the plan was I was going to spend the day there polishing it and adding ideas from random strangers to create something similar to the way dreams segue from one theme to the next.

http://www.collisiongames.co.uk/html5/sprite.html

Here’s the Javascript game that Peter Liepa inspired me to make

More on that later, promise!