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Media Arts Thesis: Confronting My Shortcomings

February 20, 2017

So, in developing this game, I'm realizing that I could have chosen something a lot more tailored to my main strengths.

 

I already found a way to sidestep my lack of coding skills while still retaining a good sense of gameplay by using the Eko platform, true.  Still, in developing a full game for myself, I'm having to confront one of my biggest creative fears: writing narrative.

 

I've always been far more of a visuals person than a writer.  My main strengths in creating media are color, design, and visual reference, skills that are incredibly useful, but don't lend themselves to creating a meaningful narrative for a simulation.  I've always been afraid of writing, which on some level is kind of strange.  I consider myself a strong writer when it comes to non-narrative writing, and I think that I have good ideas for stories.  When it comes to writing dialogue or building narrative structure, though, I tend to struggle.  I always find my dialogue to be a bit tin eared, and narrative structure takes far more work for me than anatomical structure in drawing.  So, in crafting a game that requires some sort of engagement and historical education, I need to write narrative.

 

So far, that has been the hardest part of this project so far for me.  I recently went over my first draft with my mentor Evan, and I ended up having to scrap half of the narrative because of my inexperience with narrative design in games.  The reasons, though, made sense: I didn't provide too much incentive for the players to be anything but altrusitic, and my NYC storyline rang false with my setup.  All of his feedback was valid, but receiving it was scary because it meant that I had failed, and that I'd have to write again, taking time away from my visuals.

 

Still, while this is scary, it's necessary for not only this project, but for my growth as an artist.  My evenetual career goal is to work as an art director for games, animation, or VR, and part of that requires an understanding of narrative, if only to know how my art would relate to that.  So, like it or not, I must continue to push myself to craft a better narrative.

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