The dreaded ‘ambition’

Ambition is the 9th pint on a pub crawl. It’s great, the bit of the night where things are awesome, but at the same time they’re on their way to next morning’s horrendous brain shattering hangover and fist biting embarrassment. It’s something that is so very, very necessary, yet such a burden!

We’ve essentially covered this topic without spelling it out as I’m about to. After Jim’s very lovely powerpoint article, I got to thinking about the ill fated Hydris and it’s sequels and came to the conclusion that it’s all the fault of bloody ambition! It has genuinely killed many, many projects. I attributed the death of untitled “Space Horror” to the dreaded 60% in an earlier article, though in retrospect it never even got that far, it never got beyond concept art and a few 3D models. The ambition had utterly creamed that project before it had a chance. At the time, our greatest achievement was a slideshow, but Johnny Ambition had visions of Resident Evil bettering gaming! How was this going to be made? I’ve no idea, but Hydris was definitely worth jilting for it.


One of the few images from Untitled Space Horror

It’s a relative of the same beast that climbs lamp posts shouting “sequel!”, the ambition either outgrows the current project or guts it before it reaches the starting blocks. The Space Horror game is a good example of this. Our untitled survival horror game (set in space, if you hadn’t guessed) began with a prison riot… there it is, the first two words, the first two dominos falling in a very short line of domino shaped dreams, killing the game to bits.

I think this is definitely something that comes with experience. During the dark days of the even darker basic, I remember countless forum posts from people saying, “I’m making a massive multiplayer online game”… no you’re not, you’ve got an idea for something and probably some mad computer skills, but that is still a little unrealistic. Don’t stop thinking about it though! Ambition is a great, great thing, if you have an idea for something mental and completely unachievable, write it the hell down! The more you understand what you’re capable of achieving in any given time frame, the more your original grand idea will evolve to fit and become workable. Zip n’ West for example is still evolving years after it was first conceived.

I like to try and offer some sort of solution to these things, Dome is a good case study. Again the ambition monster was out in force with that one and the game ended with a stand off between Race and a massive Dragon in some sort of cathedral, I believe it was. At about a tenth of the way through, with a deadline rapidly approaching, the painful decision was made to chop the epic in two and finish it at the half-way stage boss. I think it’s human nature to always want what could have been. For me, it was like finding out the original planned ending to Jurassic park 2 and wanting to know what the film would have been like had they never left the damn island!! I too wonder how awesome Dome would have been, had it ended like we planned. At the same time I know if we’d have tried that, the project would never have been finished and so it’s all the better for cutting it in half.

Be ambitious, be damned ambitious! But be preprepared to scale that ambition down to a manageable size and maybe whip a non-alcoholic beverage or 2 in after that 9th pint… yeah as if! (the ambition thing still stands though).

4 Comments

    And the prize for the best title image goes to…

  • Ha, yes it’s a winner, not sure if I’m mocking the dead though, that guy is surely on the verge of heart attack no?

  • That is true, but then who are we to judge? Maybe he runs marathons at the weekend, or if he has passed on, maybe that was the way he wanted to go…?

    Besides, who’s mocking? I’d have a crack at the burger ;-)

  • UPDATE found image from Untitled Space Horror, have added it to post

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