The hardest part of writing a design notes is writing the first few words. So I asked you and my other friends on Twitter to give me a hand...
- "A Short time ago, in a galaxy exactly here...." - @Dashing_Knight
- "random shoutout to Slinky!" - @SlinkyAE
- "It was a daarrrrrk and storrrrmy niiiight" - @Aeonarial
- "I've just slain another undead army wearing underpants and using a toothpick!" - @ViddyFoxy
- "Cheeki Breeki" - @Green_Leaper
- "Milk!" - @CoffeeAQW
- "Fluffy bunnies" @Cisco_HS
- "This week, lemons will be added in to aqw!" - @lord_mianite_aq
- "Server hampsters diet includes;" - @Zoshi_AE
- "Artix please answer my question1" - @Mo345_AE
- "I scream for ice cream!" - @TheRamzor
- "Okay so for this week our targeted windows are..." - @BobbYow_
"Ladies and Gentle Men and Moglins I now Present to you etc...." - @Draeceroth
It seems like it would be easier... especially considering that for 9 years I started every day writing a design notes post about what the team and I were working on. Occassionally, a design notes posts would unexpectantly go viral. This was the case when we were building DragonFable and I made a rap spoof of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme song. 4chan and the Something Aweful forums lit up with comments like "OMG! This game creator just publically lost his mind!" Those of you who read the design notes always knew secrets and had a deeper insight into what was going to come. We also built things together-- which was the most special and unique thing about AE and players like you.
"This one time while i was at band camp" -@RockLeaAQW
Which is why, of course, the best, my favorite Design Notes memories was from AdventureQuest 3D. We broke all of the rules. It was just a black page full of daily updated randomness. We first posted about the USB powered super computer couch-- and posted diagrams and pictures. We posted "found footage" of EbilCorp breaking into the lab and started a really over the top youtube video storyline. Between you guys and the team, it was a truly amazing inside joke we shared. Although... shockingly, some folks believed those crazy videos were real. Meanwhlie, we were creating 3D art, animation and designing a world. Every time we made a post we would read your feedback and make changes and revise our plans. You could just feel the creative engergy. Everything seemed on the right path... then, literally overnight, it happened. AQ3D came to a screeching halt. It broke my heart when the project abruptly fell apart. It was a disaster. You can read the painful details of what happened in any number of older posts. But if you are a long time player of our games, you probably noticed something equally disturbing... I stopped writing Design Notes posts.
"Next time on Dragonhall AE" - @JudgeAcumen
I titled this post: "How to Write Design Notes 101" for a darn good reason. There is a single, secret truth to writing design notes. But it is not a "how" it is a "why".... and the reason WHY is because when you wake up in the morning, and you are so bursting with excitement about whatever you are working on that you will litterally explode if you do not tell people. It is a compulsion. Like an itch that you can never scratch.... or if you do scratch it, it just gets itchier. SO ITCHY!!!!!! AND NO ITCH CREAM CAN HELP!!! Every morning, I would write the design notes in my mind, while standing in the shower... I could not wait to get to the lab, boot up my computer and start typing it in. Your comments, messages and posts would fuel my creativity and passion... even if you were literally the only one to make a comment. (This would often drive the team crazy because they all know I listen to you more than any of them.) From video games to toys, music, art and videos-- I live and breath for the excitement of our high paced, real-time creative cycle. So "how to Write a Design Notes?"... easy. Do what you love and allow yourself, and others, to fall deeper in love with it the more you work on it.
"just say what come the first in your mind artix and tell us what goes to happen coz u r great in writing design notes .Xoxo me" - @RelaxBleu
It is obvious to anyone that I love our games. So... why did I stop writing design notes? Honest answer-- I still, to this day, feel unbelievably terrible about AdventureQuest 3D. I feel terrible because, everyone worked so hard on it, everyone was so excited for it-- but it just did not happen. I feel terrible, because there is no way for us to just pick up from where we left off. Really, there is not. Everything would need to be redone from scratch now and we do not have the money, the number of team members, nor the talent to build a game of that scope correctly... and we shot down any suggestions to do it half-arsed. Like a heavy iron chain and shackles, the ghost of that project has kept me trapped in place. If I have never apologized about what happened with the AdventureQuest 3D project before... then please... sincerely... from my heart...
I AM SORRY....
You might be thinking "You are apologizing for something we all got over a year and ago?" To which the answer is Yes x 9,999. It has been haunting me... and this is one type of undead that only you can slay. Every time I go to make a post it is the thing that stops me. Our game plans and projects have changed and shifted a lot in the past year. Like we have been caught in some sort of ground hogs day where everything we want to build is infeasable. Technology and games are changing fast... and I feel like we are trapped. New indie game makers are experimenting with new game concepts and buliding fun projects. WE should be buliding fun new experimental things together.... right? As we speak, Major game studios are releasing 2D games that look terrible. Our 2D art is amazing-- so why are we not competiting against them with our artists and animators current skill? If we are really going to accomplish all of our goals and dreams, we need to start doing the the things we are good at-- and we should keep improving until we are the best in the world at it! I want to unlock the shackles and get back to making and getting excited about making awesome games. AQ3D is still a goal for the future. Just not the immediate future. You probably already know that the very reason I wrote this to you is because I cannot personally do this without you.... your enthusiasm, your encouraging words, and your eagerness to help build crazy game projects with me whether they contain the term "3D" or not.
"Paladin Shouts Out Battle Cry and Destroy All the Neighborhood's Windows" - @HuggiestWolf
I am very eager to announce the new things we have started working on and get you involved in them. There are two perticuarly big projects involving the pictures I have been posting to Facebook and Twitter. Of course, a lot of this depends if enough people have the same itch I do after reading this. Also... having not posted in so long has left me with an enourmous pile of untold stories and adventures-- some embarrasing. Some REALLY embarrassing. I know you can never go back to the 'good old days'... but as sure as the sun rises in the morning, we can create all new 'GOOD NEW DAYS!'
It is a good day for adventure.
P.S. Thank you for reading this.
P.P.S. If you missed out on suggesting a starting sentence for this post, you are invited to post it in the comments below!