In an earlier post, I spoke briefly on those moments where a solution seems to just fall into your lap. You probably knew there was an issue, you might have even pointed it out to your team.

But you didn't really have to "solve" it. It looked after itself.

While I'm 1000% for solutions just popping out of the snow (like daisies), it's not something I can learn from. A conscious effort should always be involved in solving design problems, even if the initial inspiration is accidental.

We reached a breaking point during the production of Roast-it-Notes. We felt trapped by a number of the decisions we'd already made, and instead of wading through the murk to try and clear a path for ourselves, we just floundered. We didn't make a concerted effort to explore new options and find the root of the problem.

It almost became one of many things I've tossed into the "Too Hard" basket over the years.

On the surface, our problem was simple, "We don't know how to make the player do what we want". But we had no idea where to go. Our initial concept had started to cave in on itself and what we thought were going to be solutions had already been tossed out the window.

In what felt like an (albeit tame) moment of despair we asked those around us for help.

Our peers and facilitators gave up some amazing suggestions, and without them, the project would probably be sitting right next to "Get Jacked for Summer" in the aforementioned Basket of Too Hard.

But having someone else solve our problem isn't the takeaway in this scenario, not for me anyway.

When we came to various people with our problem, they all had the same response.

They asked us questions.

"Who is the player?"

"Why is the player doing "x" "

"Are you giving the player a goal?"

And as I wrote that out just now, I realised how painfully obvious the answer was. We find the solution by calling ourselves out on our bullshit.

Interrogate what we already have.

Why did we put that there? What purpose is this serving? What can the player do?

We needed to rattle the cage a bit to see what fell down and what stayed solid. There's no point in looking for a solution to something if you don't even know what your project is about.

Bottom line?

Ask ourselves more questions, have more answers.


More soon, Riley.