Stuck

Making games is easy, anyone can do it.

We really have to push Heart. Papers. Border. in Early Access as soon as possible, but the game’s loop is incomplete without a properly functioning blog and influence system, to the very least. We prioritised the blog because it is the most confusing feature we currently have, and we aim to go from this:

to this:

To go a little deeper into this functionality, what we want to do is to display all the gathered hashtags in a tag cloud and allow you to just Drag & Drop the tags you want to use straight in your blog. We also rework the value and rewards system a little bit, to allow you to write for money (fun touristy stuff) or for influence (social and cultural issues with an impact on the world).

Looks pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? But let’s take a closer look to the new design:

  • How do you make it so it looks like a messy cloud? Do you work with font sizes, or with a different kind of order than the gathering order?
  • How do you divide the tags in pages so you can browse them?
  • How do you know how many tags you have?
  • How do you find any particular tag or type of tag?
  • What happens when you drag a tag from the cloud into the blog? The other tags should rearrange themselves, right? If yes, how?
  • What happens if you change your mind and what to drag back the key you used? Where is it placed in the tag cloud?
  • The Title tag is the single most important tag and if you change your mind about it, then all the other tags you used for extra value should also go back to where they came from. How? And in what order?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to have an animation so you can see those extra tags flying from the blog body back into the tag cloud?
  • And wouldn’t it be extra cool to have animations for the cloud to rearrange itself every time you use tags?

These are just A FEW of the questions generated by a simple Drag & Drop design. But making games is easy, anyone can do it. It’s just a matter of time.

***

And so we are stuck. Or rather, just progressing really really slowly, and I am worried that I have nothing new to say about the game. It’s true, we have no new feature to update Steam with, but this struggle is new, and if you ever pondered making any games, you’ll face it too. You will get stuck. A lot. And I think even if you don’t consider making games, if you follow Heart. Papers. Border. you might appreciate knowing that we are stuck, as opposed to lazy or untrustworthy or the kind that abandons stuff. And there’s a myriad of things I can talk about, but I fell in the trap that any developer falls, the one where you stay shamefully silent because there’s no new feature to show.

***

There’s a myriad of things I can talk about, like how Wandering Earl visited our home and talked about perception and freedom and diversity and how intricate it is to judge what is right and what is wrong. How our sister Geo, also a nomad almost 2 years on the road, learned that everyone is you, and how powerful this thought is. How no matter where you go, regular people are awesome. How absolutely everyone you meet can teach you something, is smarter, more educated than you at something, and how powerful it is to associate proper value to that something. How nothing is guaranteed, except that you are never really alone.

***

If only we can make a game that invites to these kind of conversations.

It is worth the time to build it right, and it is worth talking about delays and getting stuck and life, in general.