It’s weird to be working on things in secret.
I try to do work in public when it comes to game design, and I try to account for the process of things like making videos at least after the fact. I think the biggest hurdle for me doing some of these things, myself, was seeing that the process was like, attainable and wasn’t the result of some complicated tool or commitment but really did just come down to ‘make a thing’ using the best tools I had for the job. And plus, as a (vomit sound) content creator, making something then explaining the making of it is basically double-dipping for a single project.
This is not how it works for everything I do.
Last year I tried some things about long-form writing, articles that had secret messages in them, or just things that required I keep a lot of long-form notes. You know, things like a PhD diary. But mixed in amongst there, there were some other details, some other things that got started… and didn’t get published.
I have been keeping secrets.
This is weird to me not because you’re entitled to everything and I feel bad for keepign secrets from you. After all, I did that for all of my playthroughs of Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 and both of those games were massively improved by not having a community of online commentators providing their input and instead just… trying things to see how they worked. What I’m saying is that the Dark Souls community is the real Dark Souls.
In this case, though, two of the things are things that require long-term, long-form engagement to see what they do. Anyone can guzzle through a game in a few days and then report that the experience made them sick, I’m trying to approach complicated ideas in good faith and take notes and also not vent about it on twitter, which is, I guess, my form of guzzling things and then complaining about it making me sick.
Hey, twitter? It’s terrible, bad site, don’t like it, but if they banned everyone except me and maybe my friends and a few hundred people providing interesting general content, and then just let me use it as a searchable scratch pad? I’d be okay with that. Because that is something I have found is very important to what I do in long-form experiences. Write some notes, quip about it on twitter, or even just think aloud about an idea in the same space. Then I can go back later, search for it, and revisit the same mental state.
That’s really useful.
And the impulse to take notes like that is completely lost on me when I’m sitting down with a pad of paper in my hand. I type way faster than I write! Cross-referencing handwritten notes involves taking a post-it and doing back-searches later! It’s so strange that twitter is part of the process.
What’s more, twitter being part of the process is also something that makes the whole ‘secret’ element feel tangibly different. Like, I tweet about a lot of shit and I know most people don’t read most of my tweets. It’s just the weird nature of the fake and hollow internet of now. I’m not trying to shame you or anything, but if I mentioned ‘that tweet last month about the Gummi bears’ you’d have no idea what it was unless it was somehow a banger, and I don’t really do a bangers any more.
Must be somethign in the water, the youths don’t like my tweets as much any more.
Point is, I could tweet publically about all sorts of dumb shit and nobody would notice because the math of things is that just getting tweets noticed on purpose is hard. Getting them noticed on accident isn’t easier, it’s just more likely than happening on purpose, because I dunno, the cringe, let’s say. It’s searchable, too, and if I was really into it I could use Rot13, so Irenes could follow it and nobody else would care.
Which is almost fun sounding.
Anyway, point is, there’s a strangeness involved in creating and not being able to share the way I normally would, and an added dimension to all that is that it means here I am, up late at night, with a blank page in front of me, that is frustrating to fill because the entire day I have been thinking about stuff I shouldn’t talk about yet, because it’s a secret.