Wednesday, August 20, 2003

A Day In The Life

Yesterday was a 14 hour day. I'm usually much better about time management, but this was a case of playtest responses showing up on Monday and the project being due on Wednesday. So the choice was between ignore the responses or put in the extra time to consider, review, and respond. So naturally I chose the latter.

For those tuning in who are not familiar with my world, my day job is Game Designer. I was first with with TSR 20 years ago, then a freelance life, then with Wizards, then another bit of freelance, then with WizKids. I have been rather fortunate in that I have been working for the big game companies at the height of their creative periods, and like to think I've contributed to their achievement to some degree.

Its a good gig, but its hard to get people to take you seriously when you complain about the job using the word "Spider-Man" a lot. My current task is preparing a new set of figures for our HeroClix line, which are small plastic minatures on a base with numbers. The numbers are used with rules to play a game. The numbers and the rules are my worry. There are a lot of other things, of course, but it all comes down to the dials.

So over the past month or so, I prepped a list of about 40 figures from one of the major comic book companies, got source material for the sculptors, pushed things through with the licensor, and worked on the dials, converting super-powers into the rule set we have. Its pretty good, and the people I've been working with have their hearts in it, but its a lot. So the dials went out about a week and a half ago to outside playtesters - fans who like the game and are willing to give both their comments and their silence to the outside world in exchange for a look at the stuff we're doing for next year.

And we got a good response - more than normal, and it was very enthusiastic. And very helpful. And very detailed. About a pound of paper over the weekend, and another pound by the end of Monday. And the choice was - do I just wrap things up, or take everything into account?

I can't leave things alone like this - that I could miss something obvious that someone else caught (and I did miss something obvious, by the way). So it turned into a 14 hour day. Usually I'm pretty good - getting in slightly after 7 and leaving 4:30, 5:30 maybe at the latest. In our current working atmosphere, that's close to a relaxing workload. In this case it was 10:00 before I got out the door (leaving a few people behind me, I should note). And once I got home I got very little sleep thinking about the stuff that needed to be done. I really hate nights like that, and try to keep them to a minimum.

In any event, I wrapped everything up by noon today, when it was due, but I am wasted and tired. Accomplished a few small tasks in the afternoon, but I'm intent on just crashing tonight and leaving any new problems for the morrow. I'd be more tempted to gripe about it, but I'd just have to use the word "Spider-Man", and then you'll giggle and I'd get grouchy.

Ah, the life of a corporate creative. Good night. More Later.