Friday, July 17, 2009

No, We Cant: The Power and Necessity of Doubt

A while ago, I joked that my next blog post could be an essay on the power of doubt. Lately, there's almost been a resurgence of this gung-ho, can-do spirit that would put Rosie the Riveter to shame, and it made me think about how this game would never have gotten this far without doubt.
Aura was the first to point out that doubt is almost the credo of KS. And it's true.

The point of all this is that doubt, for lack of a better word, is good.
Doubt is right. Doubt works. Doubt clarifies, captures the essence of evolutionary spirit. Doubt in all of it's forms, doubt for life, for money, for love, for knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind, and greed, mark my words, will continue to play a large part in the production of this game.

All of that seems like it runs contrary to the definition of what doubt is, but I can assure you that doubt, properly applied, is the best shit ever.

When this game was first being brainstormed it was an absolute mess of ideas, some good, some bad. Over time, these ideas were pared down, eliminated, and refined, according to the amount of doubt that was had as to how they could work or if they were workable at all.
At first, this game seemed like it would be ludicrously enormous. It was made shorter, tighter, and better as a narrative because of the doubt that in it's current form it would be enjoyable to read. Lilly's dog was removed because of doubt that he would contribute anything. Rin is not a mafia princess because of doubt that that could be made not fucking retarded.

The current Act 1 would not exist without doubt. The old Grid 1 was long, convoluted, and sloppy. Aura doubted that it could stand on it's own, and it took three months to do it, but the current demo is the product of reworking Act 1 until there could be no more doubt to be had about it.

Some people might say "I disagree, people should be confident about what they do." This is wrong. There is confidence, and there is arrogance. Confidence is fire and passion, arrogance is being a dumbass.
If you want to get anything done, you have to doubt yourself, or you'll end up screwing yourself. In writing you should be thinking, am I being too overambitious? Can this be done? Is it bloated? This is a healthy amount of doubt.
In art, you should constantly be reflecting on whether the proportions are right, the coloring and shading natural, the pose and movement fluid.
Of course there has to be a point when you say "this is as good as it gets," but unless you doubt yourself as to whether you're doing something that works well as a whole you're effectively running blind into everything. At that point you might as well be jacking off.

Doubt has saved the world. During the Cold War, Stanislav Petrov awakened to alarm bells ringing and saying that a nuclear missile had just been launched from the United States and was speeding towards Russia.
Instead of pressing the panic button and causing World War 3 as we know it, Petrov doubted that the US would launch a missile for no good reason and would stop at only one if they did. He was right.
There is no reason to ever not doubt yourself, because 9 times out of 10 it will be for the greater good.

I say 9 times out of 10 because I doubt it will always be the case. This should prove that doubt will always be a part of this project, which works out better for everyone, because it ensures that in the end the product that we end up with will be something we can be proud of.

I love Blazblue.

- Climatic A22