A game by Heather Logas and her friends

Dev Diary #22 — Order of things

So today, inspired by that article I posted the link to earlier, I wrote up the critical path of the game. In other words, the path that will get the player from the first scene to the last scene. I wrote up all the scenes in the critical path and then determined the order in which to do them, based on priority (some scenes the game story wouldn’t work at all without) and alternating small scenes with big scenes.

This exercise helped create a more thought out road map than I had previously. It also helped me identify which areas were going to be the most work, and which areas the game couldn’t do without.

After I finished that I picked up the final scene again. One thing that resonated with me in Emily Short’s article was the danger of doing the last scene last, so that by the time you get there you fizzle out of energy. Also there’s a danger with doing the first scene first, because you haven’t gotten a change to “warm up” yet.

Ideally (and this has been true for other games I’ve worked on in the past too) you should work from the middle out. This is NOT what I did, and I will probably have to go back to the first couple scenes to polish them and make sure they don’t feel stiff. Originally my plan was to write all the critical path scenes first, more or less in order, and then write the side-quest/encounter scenes. Instead I’m going to stop moving forward and write the last scene next. Then I’m planning on experimenting with bouncing back and forth between moving forward and moving backwards until I meet in the middle.

Every day, I learn something new. That’s how I know I’m still alive.