Without a doubt, one of the more fun and intellectually stimulating parts of programming a video game is writing out the game engine in it’s initial phase. Writing on paper and in my head, I see the various pieces of the game come into fruition. Each piece grows independently while morphing and mutating in response to changes in other pieces. This all happens while developing a system in which the developer and player can each interact with the game.
I perch on a high structure, like a crow on a telephone pole, and look down upon the entirety of the game, noting characteristics and relationships. I let loose part of my awareness to move amongst the ephemeral dance of ideas in order to better model objects and design functions unseen by the player. That’s what a real joy in programming and abstract thinking feels like to me.
In the end what happens is the illusion shown on the screen (but that’s after the journey of development that the game and developers take).
While working on a game engine I find certain things can help me work. For instance some music will help the flow of thoughts while other music is distracting. I’ve found that for me at least, the music of Autechre helps to encourage the abstraction and mental suspension.
Additionally copious amounts of, the delicious brazilian drink, yerba matte supplies me with energy and makes me feel like the mentat in David Lynch’s Dune film.
“It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.”
Which I repeat over and over…