Friday, July 17, 2015

Mixed up

For the past while Nathan Nun, an artist friend of mine, has been building art for my card game Camp Nightmare.  He has a big chunk of it done now and it is time for us to figure out what we are going to do with it.  It has me feeling a bit nervous and unsure, which isn't something I feel at all when designing a game.  It only comes out when I am looking at publishing and selling it.  I don't fret about people seeing the game and criticizing it, but I find the idea of staking a huge amount of money and time on other people's desire to pay for it somewhat stressful.

An entrepreneur, I am not.

 The weird thing is, I can't exactly pinpoint the source of my vague sense of being ill at ease.  The simplest explanation is that I fear failure, but I don't think that is exactly it.  I have never been happy setting my fortunes on the approval of others and letting my sense of self worth be derived from someone else's standards.  It is a Stoic thing - one should let one's own happiness only be dependent on one's own effort and standards.  Why would you allow another person to decide if you get to feel successful or happy when you don't have to?

This sort of feeling was what made university so hard for me.  I often enjoyed the learning and I wanted to know many things but I found it incomprehensible that I would do so much just in pursuit of marks, only to prove to a person that I knew what I know.  I don't care if some random prof signs off on my brains and talent - I know my own worth just fine!  Not caring about marks, indeed even finding the whole idea completely irrational and ridiculous, makes working hard enough to succeed in university a challenge.

It is similar here.  I will end up pouring an enormous amount of myself into a project, hoping to please other people.  There are no end of trash games that make money (Monopoly says hi) and just the same there is an endless list of great games that sold almost nothing.  Luck plays a huge role in it, and the whims of random individuals in the process.  I don't want to stake everything on that!  I would be comfortable betting money on me winning a bunch of games because I know long run my talent will win out, but trying to produce a single project like this is a huge gamble the results of which are far outside me.

On the other hand maybe it is just the fact that I am doing something far outside my experience that is making this seem daunting and I am just using this Stoic construction as a way to dismiss the entire process as a way of avoiding facing it head on.

So it seems to me that either I am just running away from my destiny, from pursuing the thing I obviously should do, with pointless philosophical prattle.... or I am raising honest and real objections to the necessity of getting a lot of people to give me money to validate my artistic creation.  Can't really say which, at this point.

But it does seem like I won't ever *know* unless I go after it and find out.

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