Some people are also natural tool builders instead of game builders. For
them, the game is the reason for building game engines and tools, not
the other way around, and their ultimate dream is to build engines and
tools that are so efficient, so optimized, and so friendly that the
game practically builds itself.
—Derek Yu, Spelunky
I have a tendency to drift towards coding in virtually any situation, even
ones that aren’t initially technological in nature. One problem with this
approach, as Derek Yu continues to write in Spelunky, is this:
To them, the engine itself is a work of art, too, and I’m inclined to
agree. In practice, though, it’s easy for someone like this to noodle
on their game engine ad infinitum.
This is precisely my problem, and it’s part of why despite being very excited
about game development as a kid, I never finished any of the games I started
making. I never really let myself have fun with game design because I was
so preoccupied with building engines and tooling.
One of the things that attracted me to building a Quake level, though, was
that–if I set the right constraints for myself–it would force me to focus
on design. As I described in my previous blog post, the tools already
existed and were easy and fun to use. I just needed to take the time to
actually design something.