Have you ever told yourself you really want to do something, and then proceeded to go a year without taking a first step?
Yeah, I want to make my own games. Not for a studio. MY games.
I took some steps I guess, but far too few. I started a side project with an awesome artist friend, but backed out when I realized I couldn't keep up with both it and leading my feature on WoW at the same time. Not to a satisfactory degree anyway. I learned some Unity in the process, but I'd still consider myself quite the noob.
So then I started #365gameideas, partly to sate myself while I wasn't actually starting a real project yet. Fortunately, that proved useful in ways I didn't anticipate at the time.
So here's where I'm at...
I love Blizzard. As studios go, Blizzard is fantastic. I've loved working on WoW. I love the people I work with every day. Especially that last part.
But I've been working on WoW, in one capacity or another, for more than 11 years. Many game projects typically go around 2. As a designer, I'm at 8 or 9 years now, and I'm definitely feeling the desperate need for new places to flex my mental muscles. New things to learn, new challenges to face.
More than that, having worked on such a big team for so long, I've got a desperate itch to explore something smaller, simpler, and closer to my heart. I need to make something that I can call mine.
And yet, I'm in a very critical portion of crunching on my current project, so in a pragmatic sense, I have to hold myself back from distractions. I HATE holding myself back, reasonable or not.
I've begun to make arrangements with my team to step away for a time after I help launch Legion. During this break, I intend to jump into a personal project headfirst, bang my head violently against new tools and new challenges, and see if I can't put together something worth releasing. I'm eager beyond belief. And quite impatient.
So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to start anyway, little piece by little piece. And I'm starting this dev blog, to talk through my thoughts and keep myself honest. It may have to be sparse for now, I may have to move slow, but dammit I'm going to move forward.
I'm going to make some of my process public, for better and worse. I hope strong parts of it serve to inspire other designers. I hope the failures prove to be good learnings for others too. And maybe every now and again, someone can call me on my bullshit and help shake me out of it.
The first few blogs will be focused heavily on exactly how I intend to choose my first project, putting forth the contenders and putting them through the paces to decide if they're worth devoting time to. I'm going to take advantage of this extended pre-planning period to be thorough with this portion of the process and hopefully set myself up for success in the future.
Or not. It is game development after all.
[My thoughts and opinions are my own. They are not those of Blizzard Entertainment, and they do not necessarily represent Blizzard design philosophies.]