Game Development & Other Creativity Are Like Driving At Night

by Scott Crabtree

Writing is like driving at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.–E. L. Doctorow

Driving at night.
Driving at night.

It turns out that writing a game is also like driving at night (E. L. Doctorow’s analogy I like so much). You don’t know how it’s going to turn out; You can often only see the next few steps. I suppose this is true of anything creative. (It’s certainly true for writing songs, another passion of mine.)

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m drawing on my game development background to work on a game that teaches the science of thriving at work. Like anything substantial, worthwhile, and creative, it’s been a long winding trip, with some dead ends and wrong turns. As is the case for most “serious games“, I need to balance fun with the main serious objective, in this case teaching the science of happiness and engagement at work. Overall, there’s such a wonderful feeling of progress, so important to our happiness and engagement at work.

To date, I’ve play tested the card game with multiple groups of friends and colleagues, and then multiple clients. The feedback has been invaluable for improving the game.  We just ordered 18 decks of real, slick, graphic-designed cards for use with another client later this month. I’m so excited to be making progress with the help of my awesome team.

The trick to staying positive and creative–as opposed to fearful and closed–is to have faith that you are on a helpful road all the time. Even if it turns out you’ve taken a wrong turn, you will soon learn from it and get back on the road you want. You need to trust you aren’t going to drive off a cliff at any point!

What’s your “driving at night” creative project? Does fear of not seeing the whole route deter you from progress? Or are you staying positive, creative, and productive?