Wow, first blog post and the first one as part of a series? Confident much, am I right?
We all know what the comfort zone is; that feeling when we know in certain situations there is almost no risk of you doing something stupid or something that would make others around you uncomfortable. Or an album by Sector Seven. Whichever you prefer. Comfort zones can be a blessing and a burden, it can help you make sure that what you are doing is right for you and keep you from straying into unknown territory, but it can also make sure that what you are doing is right for you and keep you from straying into unknown territory.
Wait what? Let me explain:
As someone is hopefully jumping into the (indie) gaming industry, I've wrote and helped develop small projects over the past six years, from small RPG Maker games to slightly larger ones involving XNA. When I am asked to help with these projects or even when I work on my own, I try not to go too far away from what I would like play and immerse myself in; my comfort zone. It's something that can and will work in my favour...but why stick to what I like? Why not branch out and feel the wind of different genres on my face?
*insert something meta/philosophical here*
As you probably may have gathered from my "About Me" section and from what I've said so far, you may have clocked on to what type of projects I normally get myself into. I've never done anything beside RPGs and Adventures which normally have the usual story fanfare involved, it's just what I what do, know what ai'm sayin'? But like everything else in life, sticking to only one part of something can get boring, or even unhealthy in some cases, sometimes you need to break away from the norm.
Does you game normally have teens as the protagonists? Shake the age group up! Especially with role-playing games, sometimes having characters with different levels of age, maturity and life experience can completely change the face of said character or hell, the whole cast. Legend of Dragoon did this amazingly well; having characters from different walks in life, using age as something that could change the face of a character. No spoilers here, go play it yourself!
But what about not just changing characters, what about changing how you write your story and plan your game mechanics? Things that could be major risks, where both you and your fanbase (if you have one already) will be diving into unknown territory? Something that manycompaniesdidbackthen?
Legend of Mana: A game about magic, robots and being called chumpy by a talking onion
One of the biggest ups of coming out of your comfort zone is an obvious one: experience. The thing about experience is that it doesn't have to feel good to be good. Working on something out of your field could be just what you needed if you were in a development slump. It could open up paths for you to take and even find like-minded devs or artists who may end up interested in your work. It can also do the opposite and make you regret even deciding to to try something different, maybe even losing co-workers or dev friends in the process. It can sometimes seem random, but that's what experience can be. You can't say anything until you try.
Experience is. Simply.
Actually, is Destructoid the best place to post a blog like this? I guess experiencing will tell!
I guess that covers everything I've wanted to say so far about the comfort zone for now I guess. Oh and me? I'm going to go write a bit more of my storyline for my Magical Girl Adventure RPG.
I'm not kidding.
(Thanks to RPG Fan for having a site where I can cite for most classic JRPGs!)