First, the Start Screen

All stories need a start, and games…

Games, need a screen to start with.

The first screen is black and that is a good thing, because the black absorbs all light and every color. And if we have every color, then we have everything we need to start up a game!


What comes after the Start screen?

In the world of endless possibilities, the Idea, is the unrivaled king. It’s is, the humankind’s greatest tool, with which to reshape the Universe, in which we live. And it is, this king, who decides what comes after that Start Screen.

There were more stars in our Universe, than grains of sand, on the Earth’s beaches.

The astronomer, Carl Sagan

I like to think that Ideas, are even more numerous. Every game ever made was just and Idea that took shape in a person’s mind, gained a foothold and waited there for the moment in which to be shared with the someone. Because, while Ideas might be born in a single mind, they can only develop in earnest, when they become shared with others. The point of sharing is different each time, and for each Idea. While one might be shared fully developed and thought through, another might be just a whisper of air, shaped in words, overheard by a tentative listener. The act of sharing can take many different forms, from a simple conversation between two friends over a drink, to a big budget movie or game shown to the entire world.

Just a single galaxy of Ideas.

As the white canvas is the painter’s starting form, so is the black screen the game developer’s canvas, waiting for his first key stroke. And this is where the Idea, the king, has to come down off his high horse and get dirty. Really dirty. For as soon as the first stroke is struck, the Idea is no longer floating in the imagination bubble, all clean and neat, but starts to take root in the dark, wet, and probably worm filled soil.

And while the Idea takes root, the developer is already realizing that he is in over his head. Why does this happen every single time, in every known form of artistic creation? Because we live in a immensely complex system, that connects every single point of matter and energy, with all the rest. There is no way for a entity, where it be in the mind or as matter, to join this Universe without it being influenced, by all the forces, already inhabiting it. And it is the same with Ideas when they are being turn into actual works of art, engineering or other forms of creative works. They have to be tied down, anchored, in the world by forms and signs recognizable by it’s occupants and fit into the already set picture frame of society.

The Idea, thinks it’s above all this, sitting smugly, on a high horse, inside it’s bubble, but the moment it touches on reality, it becomes bogged down in it’s complexity. Programs, code, languages, 3D renders, vectors, numbers, letters they all try to shape the Idea in familiar shapes and sizes. And therein lies the problem, because the Idea is new, unbound by rules and conventions, it is a wild thing ready to be set lose on the Universe and change it forever. But, forcing that Idea, through a maze of already set paths and towards standardized exits, takes away everything that made it special, unique, exiting and worth contemplating. It reduces it down to a variant of the old, a new hue instead of a new color, a new look instead of a new form.

Is there a way to escape?

The only way out, is up. Up into the winds of tomorrow, into the fusion spewing radiation of the Sun and into the unforgiving view of humankind. The tools developers use are always changing, and becoming more complex and diverse, which is what allows the Idea to escape it’s shackles, run past the Maze of Standardization and run like a wildfire, destroying all past rules and conventions, leaving only ashes from which new Ideas can grow unhindered. This happens when a game changer comes along, a new tech, tool or just a new perspective from which to view the development of games. And games, the main protagonists of this change, the game changer’s face for the world, are afterwards remembered as some of the greatest games ever, all because of the developers Ideas, that where set lose in the Universe after that black screen.

More on game changers in another blog post.

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