Monday, January 24, 2011

LittleBigThings: Of Contemplation and Exectuion

As I've lamented about before, Create Mode in LittleBigPlanet (as a series, not just one specific game) is wonderfully open, in my case, entirely too open.  It's been said by many gamers that, presented with a sandbox, the first thing they do is freeze with the possibilities, because here they are, playing a game like they have done before; but in this one, rather than being presented with a clear path, say a long corridor in a building, or a more vague "Here's point A, there's point B, get there" over a large map, tools are thrust in their hands and before them lies a canvas, with only the gentle encouragement from the developers to guide them.

"Go ahead," they say.  "Do what you want.  Make what you want to make; express yourself."  Much like that Art Teacher in High School that simply hated being stuck to a curriculum and felt better things would come from less structure, the developers of these sandbox games expect you to derive more enjoyment out of being able to do what you want, rather than what they want you to do.  And by in large, they're right, but that doesn't make the prospect any less terrifying.  Because, as is the natural order of things, once you have managed to buckle down and put yourself to that canvas, to create, truly, what you wanted to create, another push is given, still caring in nature, after all they're just trying to help you. 

"Now show it off.  Be proud of what you've done."  Bless these people, all they want is for you to have a little fun with yourself, and to let others see your interpretation of fun, they want to help you help others.  But damned if it isn't difficult to do, knowing that the second step is there beforehand.  Because, at least I believe that we, as a people, not just the small percentage that enjoy games, have a nature entirely counter to that.  We like to think what we like, enjoy what we like, but we know that there are others who think completely counter to us and, when there is a conflict of opinion, there tends to be other conflicts.  Most people tend to, in general, try to avoid conflict!

As such, as I believe it goes, the first instinct of being frozen when presented with the opportunity to show off in front of others, is natural.  Unfortunately so, as the general line-of-thought goes "I make this, I show this, people hate it." and then that comes back around to making something in the first place.  Obviously, this doesn't affect everybody, seeing that there's, oh, around 3,500,000 levels out there playable by LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2.  But I do know that it affects me, as I've mentioned, which means that of the five levels I started and gave an actual try with on LBP, one got actually finished and published.  And, again as I've said, it's not the best, but I'm proud of it for not only being done by me, but for the fact that it's actually helped a little in getting over this train of thought.

Whether you realize it's because there'll always be 'worse' levels, or because that you honestly don't care what anyone thinks of your level, or what have you, the thing to realize is that whatever you create has the potential to be great in someone's eyes who aren't your own.  If you find that, it makes all the anxiety and such worth it, because honestly, all we want is to have our work appreciated, right?  And I think that's pretty much the reason I'm feeling a bit more open about what I want to do with LittleBigPlanet 2, as far as level creation and hopefully will turn to this blog to offer updates and behind-the-scenes sorts of deals as I move forward.

To that effect, I will go ahead and set some goals I'd like to accomplish sometime before I put LBP2 down, not permanently, as I'll never be able to -not- find a chance to play the game, but do finally move on for other things on a more clear basis.  (The first time this will likely happen will probably be in March, where the ability to punch dudes in Yakuza 4 presents itself)  I would like to do something with Journey's Fall, not only as a level, but the series I had envisioned it as in the first place.  I've said it before, but there was a second level to complement the first, and a remake of the first in the works, both I hope to make happen, with likely a third to tie it all up.  I would also like to participate in at least two of the LBP2 competitions hosted by the new LBP2 thread over at Penny Arcade, depending on how many we actually go through.  I'm hoping quite a few, to boost the number of 'two' to a higher value.

If I can get that accomplished, I'll be satisfied.  If the end-products are actually good, I'll be happy.  So we'll see how it works out!

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