It's pronounced "aeiowu"

June 21st, 2012

The glass mountain.

Making a brand new videogame starts with archaeology and ends with civic engineering.

Software development is hard. Really hard. To add to the frustration, it's often difficult to clearly communicate to the layman just how hard it is. Often times this comes up when non-developers pitch you ideas or ask you why your game is taking so long. This is because the layman can't see the glass mountain. They see the idea, they imagine the completed product and it's perfect in their heads.

The idea floats on the other side of the mountain mere meters away. We see the idea too. It's tempting.

They can't see the mountain. But we see the mountain; at least its base. We crane our necks toward the skies in hopes we'll see the summit, but rarely do we. We setup camp at the base of the mountains we want to climb, poking around for some kind of evidence that this one is worth the gold on the other side. Hoping we'll find our way over before we run out of food. What's worse? It's glass. We can't climb glass so we have to build scaffold as we go. If we make a wrong turn and can't overcome a section, we have to go back and find a different way, losing the materials we spent building that path. And the mountain isn't just big, it's not even Everest. It's as tall as planet earth is wide. It can take years to scale to the summit. And even then, you're not halfway done. Eventually, half-dead at the other side of the mountain, we'll get there. We'll have realized the idea. It's ours. But we've got to show the rest of the world. That's why we set out in the first place. We have to go back up the way we came and make sure the path to the idea is well trodden, safe and accessible for everyone. If it's not, who's going to want to make the trip? Maybe we want to plant some trees and build some rest stops along the way. A hotel? Yes. Cars! Yes, let's build some roads, otherwise we won't get as many people coming to visit. And then once we've done it all there remains one cruel truth. We've gone back and forth, building roads, rest stops and signage over this horrible mountain of hellfire and pain. We've left our souls on the flagpole. Twice. But we still don't know if anyone is going to make the trip out to see our idea. This isn't The Field of Dreams. It's the real world.

That's game development.