A Reawakening

To celebrate the reopening and rechristening of my personal website, I’ve decided to talk about the project that is going to dominate the site, at least at first. Geas is an RPG video game, in the style of Chrono Trigger or one of the 2d Final Fantasy games.

In June of 2004, Geas was begun as a follow up to my moderately successful VERGE competition game, Journey to Black Mountain. It was to made in two weeks, and would be grand and pretty and all those wonderful things.

Time is not kind. I had built myself up to a futile task: I just couldn’t make the game that I envisioned in two weeks while working a full time job and maintaining some semblance of a life. When the deadline passed and my mash of unfinished code and placeholder artwork managed to place basically last, I decided that I wouldn’t let it all go to waste. I would build it, the way I really wanted to, and not worry about the constraints placed upon the game by a two-week deadline.

The story ballooned to something around six times its starting size. The number of characters tripled, and everything became more complicated. The world grew and developed in my mind. I started finding ways to make the game more intricate and deep. I worked on it feverishly for a while, but my energy waned. After several months I put out a pretty cool tech-demo but I basically stopped working on it directly after, and put my mind to other tasks that were less daunting.

Then came the ‘Gruedorf’ competition. I jokingly challenged another old VERGEr, McGrue, to a race to see who could finish their ridiculously complex game first. When he accepted, I didn’t let the joke fall flat; I rose to the challenge. The agreement was that we would each update at least once a week or face Eternal Shame. This worked for several more months, during which I rewrote the core functionality of the game with the benefit of hindsight and a new, more reasonable scripting lanuguage (Lua).

More time passed and I left my job to start a new company. My free time dwindled to almost nothing. The domain I was using for my personal site (northknight.com) got re-purposed to host the website of the new business. Gruedorf updates, from me, became less common and then stopped altogether. I didn’t stop thinking about Geas but its enormous size and my shrinking free time finally got the better of me and, once again, development stopped.

The other day, I caught myself thinking a lot about Geas and I am now grappling with some hard decisions. Some of these decisions, when made, will drastically change Geas away from its original (insane) vision, towards something more reasonable and more likely to be completed. I am still thinking on this, and that is why this post is a long rambling story instead of information about the game which, ostensibly, it is describing.

Once I have found my bearings again, I intend to rejoin the weekly fray of Gruedorf. For now, I am still biding my time until I discern the best course. The first step, reopening this site, is now done.