This is a guest post by 2019 No Quarter Artist Xalavier Nelson Jr. about the ongoing development of his No Quarter game. You can support the development of this game on Patreon!
Dogs are the projection of joyful enthusiasm into a complicated world.
After the initial excitement of pivoting to dogs for my No Quarter entry about navigating alien airports, I had the same worry that many creatives have upon striking a rich vein of material: that I’d mess it up. I needed to know if it could be more than the initial joke. I spent the next two months crunching away on my game, doing my best to hold on to this thing I had caught, when the phrase above hit me. It encapsulated everything I felt about dogs, as well as defined the exact tone I needed for the canine characters who formed the heart of my experience. I wanted to know how far I could take the concept of An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs (coincidentally, the title of my game).
As long as I stayed true to this principle, it turns out I could do anything.
An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs debuted at the 2019 No Quarter showcase a few days later thanks to the generosity and trust of the NYU Game Center. Judging from Emi Spicer’s wonderful pictures alone, you can see how that went.
There’s a lot of talk about finding your project pillars, but I believe a lack of discussion around how to interpret them. It turns out finding the emotional dynamic of your game – the ley line your vision rests upon – is just as vital to your game as determining the verbs your players will have. Discovering what mine was is the primary reason I’m now continuing development on my weird dog airport game via Patreon, with the support of a community who implicitly identify with something I’ve defined explicitly behind-the-scenes.
Whether or not you become a patron, I hope my story helps you refine your own. Find your emotional dynamic – and if you stray from that path, you’ll not only know what you were building, but why you were building it that way. Thanks for reading!