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Self Flagellation

by Ryan Sumo on 01/15/14 11:38:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutras community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


I've just written a blog post about my favorite Prison Architect mods so far. You can find it over here if you're interested. I wanted to steer clear of putting all that stuff here though for fear that it would look like I'm promoting PA too much in a single blogpost. I did however want to share my thoughts about one of the mods, which made me question my own work. The following is verbatim what was written in my blog entry.

This mod gave me the most pause, because it's very obviously critiquing my own work. Specifically it takes issue with the iconography I used to describe the prisoners' needs. If the mod were badly done I could laugh it off, but the thing is I sort of agree with this modder that the icons I made are unclear, especially at smaller sizes. I got caught up with the idea of the body language of my prisoner icons helping to inform the icon and neglected the fact that at smaller sizes a lot of the detail would be lost.

I'm no stranger to critique and indeed I'm happy that someone took the time to think over the same design problem that I did. However my built-in insecurity about the worth of my work reared its ugly head. I had been paid to create those icons, and the guy that made this mod did arguably a better job than I did. So he should get my job, right?!?!?

But looking at the other mods I realized that essentially every modder thinks that he can do a better job than the original designers. It's the very nature of modding! So people will tweak the code, the settings and the art and make it something they think is "better". It might be, but better is usually a matter of personal taste, in the same way that I'm using a launcher that completely changes the way Android works because I thought it was cool.

The moral of the story? Just work as hard and as smart as you can and stop worrying so much about other people. Looking forward to some more amazing mods!

As you might notice I am a very strong practitioner of the self-flagellating artistschool of thought. I am constantly plagued by doubts about the quality of my work as an artist. There is some value to this I think. It helps keep me from ever being too comfortable, and continuosly make me want to be better at my craft. It can be a double edged sword however, and I think that's why you see so many depressed artists out there. Even if I ultimately came to the conclusion that wallowing in self pity is never efficient, I do dip my toes in the pond of self pity every now and again. I try to manage it, and in this case I think I came to terms with my issues rather quickly, so that's good.

In the future I think I'd like to revisit these icons, since I'm now dissatisfied with them. I cannot tackle them too soon though, because this new mod will be on my mind and invariably will affect any changes I make to the icons. I'll give it a couple of months, and with enough distance, I'll have some space and give it another go round.

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