Monday, April 21, 2008


I am not a nervous person. My ability to be cool, calm and laid back in even the most stressful situations has been pointed out to be numerous times over the years. I was still engaged in matters of the flesh minutes before my first finals. I never flinch when walking on a stage or speaking before a large audience. Through family bereavement, loss of jobs, chaos and general confusion, I know that I keep a cool head and a sensible demeanour.

I am also chronically shy. For those of you that know me, that may seem like utter bullshit, but it is true. I find it hard to ring a taxi for fear that I will say something wrong and offend the person on the end of the phone. I almost never instigate conversation with someone I don't know. I have never chatted someone up that I didn't already know. My ability to avoid conflicts is legendary in my own head.

I have to admit that I am bricking myself about Duty & Honour. The game is so close to completion and therefore release that I can almost taste it and all that taste is doing is making me more and more nervous. I have, for a couple of moments, considered just leaving the project there as it is. There's no need to take it any further. What good will that do? Of course, that is bollocks and a total disservice to all the people who have bought into the project and of course to myself.

This isn't a cry for help or affirmation or what not. Its more just wanting to get things out into the open so that I can deal with them. I don't know whether it is confidence, fragile ego, hidden concerns or whatever, but something is nurgling away inside me about the game. Last night I had to remind myself that in the end I know at least one group of players who love it and have had a great time playing it and thats really all I have ever wanted to do with the game. It isn't going to be for everyone because of the subject matter so what the fuck?!

My problem is that I cannot juxtaposition the way I am feeling with my usual confidence and cool. I fronted up two CCGs in the UK without the slightest tremor of performance anxiety. I crisis manage every day of the working week and my work is constantly on the front line of criticism and yet, no nerves.

And yet with this, nerves by the bucket full. Maybe its just ego? Maybe its just knowing what a vicious cess pit of bile it will be released into. Maybe its just total and utter illusionary bullshit. I don't know.

Its strange. I can recognise and handle my shyness. Nerves are a new thing to me.



Anonymous said...

Work/Personal Stuff is very different. Very.

At work I can happily stand in our main lecture hall with 400 students all staring at me and not feel even a twinge of nerves.

A few weeks ago I had to give a 10 minute summary for a paper I'm writing to a group of just 10 other PhD students. All of whom where there to give supportive comments. I was definately bricking it.

I knew they'd be supportive, and yet I was still very nervous.

I think it's natural to be more nervous when it's something you have a huge personal vested interest in. Just watch "American Inventer" or any one of a number of similar shows. People who normally you could imagine would be cool under pressure (Bankers, Engineers, Experienced professionals) and who in a "job" situation would act like "icemen" suddenly, when it's their little hope & dream, their personal invention which they've been dreaming up for years, are very very reactive and nervous.

Taking shit for work is about the job. Even if it's lousy shit, it's seldom personal shit.

When you open up about something you've put personal effort into it's very different, and I'm not surprised with your game being put into the hyper-critical RPG wilds that you're nervous.

The one grace I think you have though is this: you have critical friends. If me and A. thought the game was shit, we'd have no compunction telling you. We're very open to running a critical eye over it from an independent standpoint, and I think through the stages you've taken the game; from alpha, to beta, to private playtest, to public playtest, to Con Play and finally to practically pre-sales polishing playtest I think you've done as much as can be expected, taken on board as much feedback as could be expected, and... Importantly. Not had your Sacred Cows and been willing to make changes.

The challenge is now to finish I think, put D&H to bed, start the sales job and....

This is the hard bit.. and the bit we've talked about before.

Go back to that idea splattered wall, pick up another idea, and keep throwing till you can get something more to stick.


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