Greybox ALL the things!

“Perfect is the enemy of the Good”

The hardest part of development is getting started and then to keep going.  To which you might say “That just sounds like the entire process.”

But what it means is that you can spend an eternity planning and making sure every line of your code and architecture is perfect.  The alternative is to just start creating, getting your work out there, receiving feedback, and iterating.  It’s a virtuous cycle, one that tends to lead to faster and more ‘perfect’ results.

The downside?  It’s difficult to be exposed like that – for both humans and companies.  Even as I write this blog I want to delay posting for a few days to make sure I don’t have any glaring mistakes.  But the truth is, if it’s that important, I can go back later and fix it.

In game development, this process is called ‘greyboxing’.  It is where a level is built with only grey boxes (maybe wedges as well).  Construction happens fast.  All the major beats of the level can be known at this stage – size, flow, difficulty, complexity, and so on.  And when something needs to be changed, all the developer has to do is move grey boxes around.

As feedback improves, production art and assets replace the grey boxes and go through similar iteration.  In the end, you end up with a well-polished level – with the most optimal spend of time and money.

I believe there is an intrinsic educational value in a transparent development process that goes beyond just feedback and iteration.  Which brings me to my announcement here: Yarsoft is going all-in for fast, transparent development.

Everything will be greyboxed first, interesting problems documented, and polished as needed.  From our games, such as our flagship title “Punchdrunk”, to the very website itself.

Learning to be shameless will be fun, challenging, and educational.

 

Edit #1 – I noticed some of the font colors on the website are a ‘nearly-impossible- to-read-grey’.  Changed that to something with higher contrast.

 

Edit #2 – I didn’t like the white text for long blog posts.  Made it black.  Still not quite right, will think on it.

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