One of my latest revelations has been the daily insight into the life of Casey Neistat, his vlog series is inspiring and his work ethic is truly enviable! In his video 2.5 Million Instagram Likes, he talks about something called The Tarzan Method, and it struck me how applicable this is to ourselves at Teaboy Games and the development of our game Fallen.
The Tarzan Method by Casey Neistat
In the jungle Tarzan can’t get from A-B directly, that vine simply doesn’t exist. Instead he has to swing from side to side getting there gradually. When beginning any creative project, you dream of a seamless progression from conception to completion, but just like Tarzan discovered its rarely this simple! Along the way you’ll discover hurdles and challenges that will make you completely reconsider what you’re making. The beauty of the Tarzan method is being open minded, because those unknowns along the way are where you really find out what your true goals and aspirations are.
To give this all a little context, I want to talk about how our own game Fallen came to be. In October 2014 we all met on an incubator scheme called Gameshub. The programme is a free course to help creative individuals get into the games industry, regardless of their experience. For example, I’d never made a game before I joined! As a team of fresh faced graduates we grabbed this opportunity with both hands hoping to absorb as much knowledge as possible. After swiftly deciding on the style of game we wanted to make (arcade/mobile), we brainstormed and got talking about super simple children’s toys, such as a block and hole game. So we ran with this concept, and Scott built a demo in Stencyl (top left below).
As we began to push the concept further, we never really stopped to think about the context of our game. Who was playing it, where they were playing it? When we did, well it changed everything. You see Fallen is a time killing game, its something you play on a train to work or sat on the toilet. Initially we’d envisaged Fallen on a tablet, in landscape. In all these scenarios you’re far more likely to pull a phone out your pocket than an iPad out your bag. But then it struck us, it’s a game called FALLEN, where stuff FALLS, and we hadn’t thought about doing it in portrait?! This was a far better use of screen space, and fundamentally it just made way more sense for the game mechanic!
So if we go back to that poster from before, we had to go back to go right back to the design stage and then move forwards again. Yes it was a big step backwards, but it was going to make for a far better experience, and putting Fallen on a phone rather than a tablet made far more sense for the demographic we’re trying to hit.
I heard a fantastic quote recently, don’t be afraid to take a step back so you can take a bigger jump forwards.