Concept art. I can't make concept art. Get at me, concept artists. 

Concept art. I can't make concept art. Get at me, concept artists. 

When I stopped teaching in 2013, it was for one reason: make shit. It's why I've applied to so many MFA programs (fingers crossed) and why I've been chipping way at my novel, Violence at Night, and it's why I've been dipping my toes into some light programming. Luckily (or not), game creation engines like Unity and Gamemaker are fairly easy to use and require little granular programming skill to get basic prototypes up and running. Within a day of using GM, I was able to get a two dimensional platformer with rough (ruff) animation and art set up. This is the first game I started to make, titled Dog Prom. It will be my back-burner exercise, something I do that doesn't hog much brain space. It will be short and dumb and hopefully entertaining.

What I've decided to focus most of my time on is Powell (see title). The game is an homage to the valley I grew up in, and it deals with circumstances that will hopefully resonate with some folks. Simplicity will be my focus. I don't expect this to be anything exceptional in the indie game space. This is me, getting my feet wet, and sticking with simplistic mechanics. My goal is to align the design with my capabilities, and since my only capabilities right now extend to creating a first-person controller and cubes and a single light source, the game won't be packed with "game." My guiding light right now is a narrative and soliciting pretty arts. Collaboration with talented folks is key. It's how I want to spend the rest of my life. 

Anyway, a pitch, sort of(?):

Dad said if he ever left, he’d start dying. He said the same thing happened to his dad. Took him out of Cut Bank, away from the high line, and plopped him into Helena. “It was because we were closer, he was getting old and shit. Couldn’t drive anymore, feed the dog.” Couple years in, after we built that fence around his place, and Grandpa went to the home. Bumblebee something or other. I remember that visit. Grandma insisted on making us lunch before we left. Ham on moldy white bread, and some stale tortilla chips.

Dad was afraid. I’m not sure if he was right, that he was sucking up some kind of life force from the Deer Lodge valley, or if he had just resigned, figured he was too tired for anything new at his age. Either way, when mom quit her job at the mill and sold the house and dragged dad to Helena, his old anecdotes cropped up more often. He started forgetting which of his friends had died, which were still on the res, which existed. “Jerry still out by Wolf Point? I ever tell you about when the storm came in during our walleye trip out there?”

So we took a trip back to the valley. A weekend up on Powell to look for fish in mountain water.

1 Comment