Why limitations are awesome!

A personal note before the actual post.  By way of explanation let me say that today I woke up at 10:00 am in Montreal.  Was out of the hotel and on the road by 12.  6:30 pm had me back Home, and 7:35 pm arrival at Boston Indies.  The presentation was excellent!  It has been a busy day of sitting in a car with a hangover and either allergies or some kind of ‘con plague’.  Kinetic Festival was awesome and busting ass to get down to BI was totally worth it as well.

Tonight was a presentation about accessible design in games by the man himself Kwasi Mensah.  If you haven’t already check out Stem Stumper.  It’s a neat looking game (which I haven’t played yet) that you can play with your eyes closed.  It gets a lot of press about being a game for the sight impaired, but really it’s fun for anyone.  Tonight he addressed some issues that are faced by populations of gamers that many people don’t think about.  One of his comments struck me.  He mentioned that it’s hard enough to get companies to make games for the color blind, let alone the blind.  That’s a bit of a paraphrase, cause I’m a little fuzzy at this point (see above).  His main point, elaborated in this blog post, is “Constraints are a great source of inspiration“.

This is a great outlook for any game project. People fear limitations, but yet when we have too much freedom we can often become confused and frustrated.  All art is a series of applied rules.  Paint or Clay?  Photo or Photoshop?  An artists applies rules and limitations to their art before they even think about it.  When designing a game, you will bring limitations to your project.  Your audience will present limitations as well.  Don’t get overwhelmed by limitations, instead embrace them, learn from them.  

As an ADD (not ADHD) kid, with other learning disabilities let me say this again a different way.  You can let it beat you or you can become stronger because of it.  Use limitations in your design.  Plan for them and use them to enhance the game you want to make.

Also talked with Erik again about New World Colony.  More ideas, more suggestions, more input on building a community.  Check out his game, btw.  We chatted about building a method to give players rewards for spreading the news about New World Colony.  Erik is now armed with some good ideas to provide some fun incentives to spread the word about the game.  I volunteered my services to help spread the news about the game as well in a more official capacity.  I’m already jotting down ideas, both long and short about how to get awareness out about the game.

It has been a hectic day, and a very long day in different ways.  Right now it’s time for sleep.

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