Design by Committee

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are any decent fiction books written by multiple people? I'm not a great reader but I don't think they are. Is there a good reason for that - other than the actual technicalities of two people writing one book?

"a camel is a horse designed by committee"

It seems to me that when writing a book it's important to keep true to a particular vision. To always be pulling in the same direction. To keep it pure.

Purity exists for me in Game Design too. Fez, Thomas Was Alone, Darwinia, Hotline Miami, Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Spelunky. These are all very pure visions in my opinion. They wouldn't have the same personality if they weren't created by a minimal amount of people following their vision.

This is something that I've started to think about a lot as we try to expand Facepunch. Do we want the whole company working on one big game designed by everyone, or do we want to have games designed by a single person. To answer this we have to ask ourselves why we're designing games. Are we doing it purely for profit? Do we care about what we're pumping out.

I want Facepunch to be something different. If we can release a few games we're proud of and break even I'll be much happier than if we released one game we're not very proud of (like a puzzle game that has lots of in game purchases) and make lots of profit. Profit shouldn't be our prize. Our prize is the process. We're doing this because we love making games. If the we sell the game and it makes more money than we spent making it then we are even happier.

This is what draws me to the idea that we should be designing horses, not camels. We don't need to play it safe. We don't need to please everyone. The gamedev world is full of people working on games they don't believe in. If this is the game I design, I want to play, my vision, then someone somewhere will enjoy it. If not - fuck it, I like it.
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