It was always clear to me that, to be a good programmer, you need at least some degree of the infamous Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (pure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder might help too). Nothing extreme, just a little. Luckily, I have that – nothing extreme, just a little. My apartment is a mess. My comics and illustrations can be quite chaotic. But try to disrespect or even partially ignore the neatness I impose on team work, and I go crazy. My friend Grazia could tell tales about that. When we worked together, I went to incredible – not to mention time-wasting – lengths to define the rules of a project (coding and design wise), and to even more ridiculous lengths to obsessively check that everything was perfect. Anyway, everybody can agree with that: neatness and polish are fundamental when working on something – though chaos too: chaos is very creative. Even more so when coding. And I believe that any need for neatness hides some OCPD (friendly called OCD).
Fact is, I now realize that level-design might require even worse levels of OCPD to be effective. And maybe I don’t have that. I just finished another bunch of Journeyballs levels and sent them to Blake. And there are so many things to take into account, especially in a game like that, where there will be at least 90 levels. The more the levels, the more OCPD is required. It’s proportional, you see.
The main issue is that the gameplay’s difficulty must increase exponentially. But. What really means “increase exponentially”? You might think a linear curve would be ok. And that would be a mistake. Actually, on my experience, difficulty should increase with something of an easeInOutCubic curve (more soft on the “in” than on the “out”, and with some bounces in the middle), spanned within each “world”. You start a new world/group-of-levels with some new shit. Than remind players of some old shit. And then build on that. When you have 6 worlds (at least), each of them with 16 levels, you can easily see how complicated it can become. You constantly realize that some level is too difficult for its position. Or doesn’t “fit”, design-wise, with other adjacent levels. Or mixes too many elements, too soon.
How can you solve that? I have no idea. Or at least, not an exact solution. In the end, this is my first attempt at a game that involves serious level-design (even if on a minimal scale). For now, I’m just happy I built a flexible enough level editor, which will allow me to move levels around with ease, while all the “world” stuff, like colors and backgrounds, is automatically re-adapted. This way, I can just go on, and then shift stuff. I really hope it will work.
Oh, and I was almost forgetting. Sexsomnia! Welcome OCPD, and hello sexsomnia. It sounded good for a title, and I have that too – and it’s late, I’m tired and half drunk, and I don’t know what I’m writing about. Nothing extreme, just a little (I don’t walk around harassing people while dreaming – though to be on the safe side, I avoid sleeping in the same bed with a friend). I actually discovered it’s a known condition only a few years ago. Prior to that, I just thought I was weird. I mean: not that I’m not weird. But. You know. Luckily, my lady is quite comfortable with that, and doesn’t kick me in the balls when I jump on her while still sleeping. Anyway, after a while I wake up, and it’s fun.
I’m fiddling with OCPD just for this article, to have fun with it. Personally, I don’t believe in the classification of mental disorders. Or better: they certainly do exist – I had proof of that, many times – but the so-called experts usually assign them to people way too easily, on my opinion. On my opinion, the so-called experts mostly suck.
P.S. A note for Boon, in case you read me
Ah! Now I have a bunch of tags about game development, plus masturbation AND sexsomnia! How cool am I?