Reclusive Creative

Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik – famed creators of Penny Arcade – once had a discussion on their irregular podcast which reasoned that creative people are, effectively, broken individuals. Their argument was thus: there is a restlessness that comes with being creative in writing, art or other fields which makes it difficult to enjoy the works of other people, at least not without regular release. It’s taken me a while to grasp this line of thought, but I think I’m finally beginning to understand.

Mike (left) and Jerry (right) have undertaken many projects since their hugely successful web comic began, including graphic novels, fund-raising, Internet TV shows and even an episodic video game.
Mike (left) and Jerry (right) have undertaken many projects since their hugely successful webcomic started 11 years ago, including graphic novels, charity fundraisers, an Internet TV show and even an episodic video game.

You see, writing for Ready-Up not only gives me a chance to seriously tackle the big issues in gaming, but also shed some light on games and topics which deserve more coverage, especially those which are important to me personally. It’s a wonderful way for me to express my love of gaming and improve my skills, so I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity. However, despite being with the site for nearly two years, I cannot say I’ve been able to put my all into it; I dropped several potentially interesting feature ideas in favour of a quick blog, and I don’t want to even think of all the AAA-titles I’ve passed up for review. I’ve long hidden behind the (mostly valid) excuses of University workloads and general stress, but procrastination and a fear of screwing-up are also to blame.

No more. This week, after two years of intermittent bouts of anxiety, I made the difficult decision to end my studies at University and spend some time taking care of myself. This means rebuilding my social life, expanding my writing efforts and – yes – playing some damn video games. Not only that, I’m working with a group of close friends to put together a game this summer, fulfilling a dream I’ve had since I was a kid.

A simple 2D platformer put together with Torque. Hopefully, our game will be more ambitious than this! Appropriately, the Penny Arcade game On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness was produced using Torque.
A simple 2D platformer put together with Torque. Hopefully, our game will be more exciting than this! Appropriately, Penny Arcade Adventures was produced using the 3D version of the engine.

We’re going to start small and then build up to more ambitious ideas over time. Although I’d ultimately like to tackle a Metroidvania-style game with multiple endings, our first game will be a horizontal shoot ’em up with a bit of a ship-switching twist. After doing some research with the classics, we think we’ve nailed the essentials of the genre. While I do have some experience with the programming language C#, as we have no heavy programmers in our group, we’ll run everything on the Torque X 2D engine, which has pre-defined code structures for complex stuff like physics, collision detection, animation and player input. Working with Torque also has the added benefit of being able to release our finished product to Xbox Live Indie Games, which is growing more diverse and popular with each passing month. Work has begun on the formal design documentation and I have to say, despite the sheer enormity of the task ahead, I haven’t been this excited in a long time.

Hopefully, through both refining my writing and pursuing this project, I can sate that restless, creative desire. And hey, maybe I’ll put together a fun game in the mean time. Wish me luck!







4 responses to “Reclusive Creative”

  1. The Rook avatar
    The Rook

    Good luck Scott. I hope you have alot of fun along the way too.

  2. Celeste avatar

    Looks like fun. Let us know when it’s finished – I wanna play. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Creativity is a pain in the backside. It makes you want to do stuff and, consequently, it makes you feel like a loser for not doing it.

    Glad things are going well for you. It must have been very hard to finish Uni. Just make sure you don’t go staving anything and you should be great.

  3. Simon avatar

    Good luck Scott ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Scott avatar

    Thanks for the support, everyone. I’ll keep Ready-Up updated with the progress on the game, no doubt.

    @ Celeste: As long as there are no spiders or 5KG weights in the game, I should be fine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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