Friday, May 28, 2010


Hey ya'll- sorry been away for a few days. Game is in milestone crunch on all fronts and there is just no time to breathe.

Wanted to pop in and say hey and share 2 things that have come up in recent days that have really struck me as important lessons about making games or making anything creative or...hell, perhaps living life in general? Dunno. I will elaborate more when I have more time but for now, here goes:

1. BEING NICE IS NOT THE SAME THING AS BEING A PUSHOVER...AND OFTEN TIMES EVEN BEING NICE CAN BE MISTAKEN FOR BEING A PUSHOVER SO SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN- At times I've had a reputation for being kind of a hard ass to work with. Demanding, basically. I'm not a yeller or a shouter unless I'm yelling more at the tv or the game and something's not working. Then I'm all like, "FUCK THESE MOTHERFUCKING SWORD ATTACKS! NOT TRANSITIONING FROM ATTACK TO ATTACK DAMMIT!"...but It's rare that I deal with people that way. I DO sometimes, but not often.

Again, I can be demanding and very protective of a game's vision and I can be relentless in pushing myself and pushing others to improve that vision. And the people I love working with are the same in that they push me and force me to improve the vision too. Nice thing about that is, the game gets better. But you do take on a reputation for being a pain at times.

So as of late I've tried to be nicer, kinder, more inclusive.

Fuck that. Doesn't work.

Can I still be nice? Always. But not at the expensive of the game's vision. Thank God no real harm was done to our current game because of it. Nice wake up call tho. Grateful for the lesson.

Here's the reality: on a creative project there's the vision that once it's locked, we all must be slaves to. Protect that vision at all costs. And sometimes that means you open the doors a bit to let the vision grow and be improved by the right members of the team who 'get' it. But not everyone on a game will always get it and so it's key to know when an idea improves and when it takes away from the game's core.

And never allow your desire to be nice and liked to get in the way of the vision because the game will suffer.  And the team will suffer as well because a failed game means the studio is at risk.

2. AH-HA MOMENTS ARE RARE WHEN STARTING A GAME- Been thinking about future games to make as of late and as we're head deep in this current one and it's taken on its own life and it's come together as it's own living, breathing thing, I caught myself thinking that a new game idea should have the same sense of purpose and meaning and locked vision that a game as far along as our current game should have. I felt the same after GOD OF WAR when looking for new game ideas: that the game idea should feel solid and locked and I should just 'know it' when the idea came to me or was pitched to me by someone else. But I only recently realized that it rarely works that way. Often times you just start the journey of a new creative project confident or semi confident in where you are going but until the team comes in and adds their amazing talents, before you get the- hopefully- great ideas that you contribute and see come to life, your game really is this lifeless thing. And so as I search for new ideas it's key to remember that a lot of faith is needed in knowing what idea to pull the trigger on because it's very rare that the idea itself is a slam dunk.

Ok- back to it. So slammed no time to proof read so hell if I know if what I just wrote even makes sense!
Sure there is a shit ton of typos!

Talk soon- later ya'll!



V_Ben said...

Amen to that. The second you start letting other people dictate the direction something you created goes in, the second it's no longer your project. It's everyones. But, you're right. Being nice isn't the same as being a pushover. :)

F1REST0RM said...

Yes there's a shit ton of typos but then you are busy :)

da criminal said...

Well It's not even so much something I created but something 'we' created but we do so via following a core, locked vision and it's my job and Scott's job to make sure we stay laser focused on the high level goal of what the game is trying to be (while giving it freedom to grow and change at the right times as well)- semi tricky balance I suppose.

And yes, typos a plenty! :)

DuckOfDestiny said...

Damn, I know this sounds crazy, but each time I hear developers talking about behind the scenes shit on making games, it always sounds so fun to me, even when I read about the more stressful times, just sound like something I would really enjoy.

Ah well, I'm still young, maybe one day you'll be playing my kick-ass new game.

InsiderStation said...

Just watched your balloon popping very funny :) cheaper than therapy and effective!!!!!!

As long as your harsh edge never outweighs ur inspiration of others ur doing ok, from my time as a leader.

When something reaches a certain point creatively and you are still inspired by it you cant really do more than that. When you have been so close to it. You have to trust that all those ideas begin to meld and it hits the sweet spot.

And then it still is subjective Ass Creed had it the 2nd didn't but it reviewed better.

Anyhow amazing to see bear mcreary working with zipper!?! In the end I had to turn off the tv and listen to dark void rather than play it.

Jaffe ur a legend mate.

Alex said...


For more of that balloon popping fun check out: (1:24) ;)


Really great insight on the game making process. Game directing was something I considered doing, but I chose film instead simply because you can more fully realize your vision than in games. Too many variables in programming that may get in the way. Whereas in film the camera is your eye and the limit is your imagination. But both have an incredibly deep collaborative atmosphere which I love.

I'm hoping one day I can transition into game directing as I have a backlog of ideas that haven't been attempted in the industry yet.


Bruno Brant said...

Damn. You know, AFAIC, a game isn't a individual idea (or vision). You have to promote creativity, but people stop sharing or nurturing ideas when a guy comes shouting everytime he disagrees with you.

Maybe you just expressed yourself bad up there, but my two cents: either you exaggerated on being nice or you just wasn't but thought so.

Of course, your main objective is to make people work toward a goal. So, sometimes shouting makes them work, and being stubborn clear the mist around the goal. Balance that with letting your people add value.

Joel said...

Dear Jaffe,
I agree with you. You can't be nice all the time.
That out of the way:

Some of your blogs line as been quoted out of context here:
They pretty much turn you into a f'ing jerk and a douche. Some have stated that if your like that, they won't buy your next game. Usually, i don't care. But before i commented, i read your blog. This is something i that I loath in media, turning a comment and his commenter into a Nazis because that make a more grandiose news. Just to let you know

- Akalistos.

Joel said...

Hey David!

Made a victory! Turn thing around on that news forum that depicted you as evil as a dictator. I least there are people that can see they make a mistake.

Have a nice day

reallyjoel said...

I disagree about the fact that the game can't start living before the team steps in. Pick up C# for dummies and start cracking you lazy boy! =D

(All good designers can make an entire game on their own)

Kilrahi said...

This SEEMED to be related on at least some level, but I'm not the game designer so I could be wrong. It's Insomniac going off about one of their failed projects. It does provide a counter weight that it can be important to listen to the team as well, which I know you understand. Check it out if you get a sec - it's interesting. I think Insomniac is run by game design geniuses.

hpv said...

So the game you're working on has swords with animations that transition from one sword attack to another? Sweet! This is going to be the best Twisted Metal EVER! ;p

rocky said...

uh oh! david it seems patcher just leaked out the name of ur game:

Daniel said...

Hey Jaffe, apparently Patcher revealed your project. according to

Sparced said...

Damn, that must hurt.

Not that you've kept much of a cover over your own project with that big mouth of yours.

Patcher made you his bitch.

CriminalMethod said...

Wow, just saw that Pachter thing. I'm genuinely disappointed to get word about my beloved franchise from a clown like Michael Pachter. It was like expecting fireworks and getting sparklers instead.

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