Friday afternoon at GDC, I went to hear Josh DeBonis from Sortasoft talk about Designing In Parallel, his process of working on two games with a similar theme simultaneously. Since not every idea can be used in every game, even though that element might be excellent in itself, this way one can move good elements into another creatively interconnected project. I like this synergy better than the editing directive to kill one’s darlings, or the novice error of trying to create the One True Game, a massive enterprise encompassing every concept, character, mechanic and clever bit of dialogue the freshman designer has ever enjoyed. A really worthwhile talk on harnessing creativity.
I became interested in this session because I reviewed Sortsoft’s Funky Farm 2 several years ago. This was actually my very first review copy, thanks entirely to Josh’s kindness. It was a fun game to play, and I remember being quite proud of the review, even though it’s sometimes awkward now to reread my old work and see how proudly I “discovered” really basic gameplay concepts and how clumsily I related that to readers.