The Witness quote
Since Braid I have viewed programming as mostly pragmatic: I know what I want to do, and I know what kinds of things I have to type in to make it happen, but for the most part, the interesting mental challenges are in design, and programming is rote execution. Once you have enough programming experience, I think 95% of writing a big program is like this. There have been a few times during The Witness when I spent significant effort solving technical problems where I had no idea what the answer would be in advance, like with the terrain manipulation, but even in these cases I treated the technical development in a very pragmatic way: the goal was to get something that is good enough for current needs, not to design a shining jewel of an amazing technical system (back when I was a younger game programmer, I was trying to make amazing technical systems all the time, and it came at the cost of actually getting games done).
Flare Game thoughts
I’ve been working on some Flare-Game maps. The tools are good enough now that I can easily make and easily discard maps. I’m trying various layouts to test what’s fun, compared to the kind of games I really want to make.
So there’s the desire to create several similar games. I can have one very linear deep dungeon romp like Diablo 1, where all there is to do is just dive deeper until the Big Bad at the end. On the other hand, there’s also the desire to create a game with a nice interconnected open world — story progression wouldn’t matter as much, instead there would be small quest chains to uncover but mostly just random places to have fun.
Thematically there are various stories I want to tell. I want to tell a story about the fall of human civilization and fighting back against the wilderness. I also want to tell a tale about exile and discovering who you are.
Mixing gameplay styles and story themes seems tough. But I think it’s doable in a highly moddable game like Flare. I need to think about one overarching world/theme, and find places to plug in new adventures and campaigns.