I once heard this saying that finishing a project is the most important part of the creative process. When we decided to undertake the task of making our VR project, Circuit Rider, I always had in mind that finishing would be the most important and essentially hardest part.
Why is it so difficult to finish, isn’t it just about stopping?
Well it comes down to what your goals are. From the very beginning we wanted to make Circuit Rider feel like a complete experience. We also wanted to release it on a platform like Steam or Oculus. The issue was that we were working with a tight deadline and that coupled with limited resources don’t always yield the best overall results. There are always compromises that have to be made.
What we ultimately decided was that we were going to build a prototype, not a proof of concept or a demo. In addition, it would be a prototype that would show off the complete experience. I say this because we could have just made one aspect of it really polished, but then we wouldn’t have been to able to demonstrate the entire vision. However, what it took to get there was a lot of compromises and not being too precious about things. We also worked extremely hard on the script by refining the raw original concept and shaping it into something that we could achieve within the scope of all the various constraints that we had.
Once we had the script nailed down, we had to capture all the assets and program all the interactions based on what was laid out in the script. At the beginning of January, with only a month to go, the entire team work feverishly to get everything we need together. Then our programmer, Gabriela Kim Passos, dropped the bomb on me — we had to play test everything in parallel as we programmed. For those who have never play tested before, what it does is uncover all the flaws in the assumptions that you’ve made. Which is great, but it also compounds the work that you need to do as well as the time you need to do it.
What I ultimately came to realize from this experience, especially when it got closer to the deadline, is that there was no way that I could get the game to look and feel exactly how I wanted it to. I had to let go and give in to the fact that it would get as close we could get it and that was good enough in order to finish and deliver on the goal that we had set out from the very beginning.
We have quite a few next steps to follow, but we plan on releasing the project in mid-April. Why mid-April, because we are not being precious about the prototype and just focusing on getting our VR experience out to the world. We are very proud of what we did and want to share it. Not everyone will appreciate it, but we hope they will learn something from it just like we did.