Corey and Lori's Quest Log


Corey and Lori’s Quest Log

2011: The Year in Preview

It is traditional at this time of year to look back and recall the events of the last year. I prefer to look forward. What would we like to happen in the upcoming year? And what can we do to help make these things happen?

2011In a previous article, we talked about “New Year’s Commitments” instead of Resolutions. This time, maybe we can raise the stakes. Instead of committing to some small change in your own life, why not commit to something that will help change the world?

Part of making a commitment is visualizing the result of committing to it. When we put that into the time frame of “What shall I accomplish this year?” that means we need to visualize what will happen in 2011. Instead of reviewing the previous year, we can preview the upcoming year! So get out your notebook and your crystal ball and look at what 2011 could be.

Consumers vs. Creators

The future is what we make of it. The problem is that collective word “we”. Most of us think it really means “they”, because there are a lot of “them” and only one “me”. But that’s an illusion.

Most of “them” do very little to create the future. “They” watch, consume, and occasionally criticize. The average person’s creativity is limited to linking a cute picture or fun YouTube video to their friends. There is a world of difference between a Beatles fan and The Beatles or even a garage band that occasionally puts on a show.

It’s the difference between consuming and creating. Consumption has some value – It rewards the creators so that they can continue creating. It can also be a stepping stone – a gateway drug if you will – towards creation. You may start by copying someone else’s music or drawing, then using what you’ve learned to compose your own songs or making your own art.

There is a serious challenge to becoming a Maker. It takes work. It takes a lot of practice, hard work, and the discipline to channel that work into learning, improving, and creating. And that is why each of us who is willing to do that work has much more impact on the future than the masses of lazy people and rote followers.

We > They

There is another way to make our “we” into something much bigger than each individual “me”. That way is to reach out and enroll others in your creative vision. Do you have a project in mind that is just too big for you to handle by yourself? Don’t let that stop you!

Start by building something, a prototype or a plan. Get it down on paper or a model. Then show it to other people you respect, people who show more than a glimmer of being Makers themselves. Share your vision in a way that involves them and makes them want to become part of it. There is a “me” in “team” – Someone needs to start and inspire the team to work in a coordinated way. If you care enough and put in the work to create, you can be that “me” who matters.

When “we” are a group of people who work together to create, we have far more impact than millions of “they” who just want to consume. The creators and producers move the world; everyone else just rides on it.

Happy New Year!

When you’re making your commitments for 2011, think about what really makes you happy. Sure, there is joy in listening to great music… but isn’t it even more fun when you’re dancing or singing along? That’s action and participation, not just consuming.

Happy New YearWould you rather spend your hours reading books and playing computer games… or getting out there and writing your own? You probably can’t waltz into Blizzard and say, “I am ze greatest game designer in ze world, and I shall create your next masterpiece!” In fact, neither can I. But you can start in that direction.

Write a blog. Practice drawing or painting. Write a poem or a song. Learn to program and create a simple game or toy. Study carpentry and build a dog house or a storage shed. Get out there and do something with your life. Learn, practice, apply, and create. It isn’t for the benefit of all those consumers, but for yourself – Learning, growing, and doing are fun!

Have a happy new year, and may this be the year when you discover a new, powerful, creative you.

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Comments

  1. Mo Says:

    Please consider making a squeal to dragon fire, LOVED QFG from childhood :)

  2. Corey Says:

    True, momo. In fact, Lori and I can’t walk into a software house and make a game these days (or 10 or 15 years ago, for that matter). “Past results are no guarantee of future success.” Our track record might get us past the first screen, and that’s about it.

    So luck was, and always is, involved. We knew one of Sierra’s animation contractors through SF Cons and filk singing. She knew that Lori and I were avid role-players and sometimes ran games at conventions. When Ken Williams mentioned that he wanted Sierra to get back into RPG’s, Carolly called us and asked if we were interested.

    That by itself just got Ken on the phone. I actually got an interview at Sierra because I had been working on an Atari ST project, and they desperately needed an Atari ST programmer. I got that job at a pittance (40% salary cut from what I had been making at my last job), partially because I didn’t bring my own ST to the interview, and none of the ones at Sierra fully worked! This meant I couldn’t show off the graphics features of my demo.

    With my foot in the door as a programmer, Sierra was much more willing to talk to Lori about our RPG ideas. She and I worked out a sell sheet that outlined how our game would be different from others in the market and why we expected it would sell well. That got Lori a contract, but I was initially kept away from the game because Sierra desperately needed my Atari ST work.

    The following January, when I was about to quit and take Lori with me, Rick Cavin (General Manager) came up with a compromise, assigning me to Hero’s Quest as the lead programmer. I also got a stock option which mostly made up for my still very low salary.

    So it was a combination of preparing ourselves properly (learning about and running paper RPG’s, studying animation, programming, and creative writing, etc.), being in the right place at the right time, and perseverance and hard work. I made myself valuable to Sierra, and that made them want to keep working with me. Once Lori started, they could see her talent and work ethic, so they kept the project going. And finally, Hero’s Quest sold much better than they expected, so they contracted with us to design the sequels.

  3. momo Says:

    If anyone influenced me to exercise creativity in my life it was you guys. But, how did you start with the QFG series? You’re a husband/wife team. Not just anybody can walk into a software house and make a game, especially in the 90’s when games weren’t as sure money as they are nowadays.
    Perhaps you could tell us, one day, how you got started? :)

  4. Karmine Says:

    That’s a great article. I’m always making such commitments… and accomplish something different. But on this year I have committed to be thorough.

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