Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures

TelltaleGamesTelltaleGames Telltale Staff
I methodically brush bristly hairs and bits of quiche from my shirt, pausing for a moment to reflect upon the unusual hazards facing the designer of computer games. This week, it's been rat creatures. Loud, unruly monsters, pouncing upon me repeatedly at my desk, squashing my plants and drooling all over my notes as they discuss the culinary possibilities of my meatier limbs. More than once I have been moved to wonder whether I might have been better off as an accountant or carpeting inspector. Carpeting inspectors rarely have to worry about being attacked by rat creatures.

[Dave at his desk]The rat creatures, you see, are characters from Bone - a lot of you probably knew that already, but just in case you didn't: the rat creatures are characters from Bone, big hairy guys who are somewhat loveable despite their fangs, claws, and frequent attempts to eat the other characters. I've been working on a scene with them this week. They take direction well, but get sidetracked easily. And they break things. Stupid, stupid rat creatures.

I was also working with the rat creatures last week, and the week before. Rat creatures, rat creatures, rat creatures. Their piquant breath has infiltrated my clothing and their husky cackling keeps me awake at night. I've started calling Daniel Herrera "small mammal"� and I think it's freaking him out. Why am I spending so much time with them? It's the RUG principle.

The RUG principle is an important maxim of game design. It stands for "Rework Until Good,"� and it is the reason why a day in the life of a scene or a puzzle sometimes stretches out into a week or a month. Although these things occasionally flit from the mind of the designer and alight directly on the screen with the wave of a wand and a soft ping, it is far more likely that there is a heavy splat and some clean-up involved. Yes, and cleaning up after rat creatures is an unappetizing task, but somebody's got to do it.

The current version of the scene does indeed seem Good, but it has taken some effort to get it there. Don't get me wrong, it's been entertaining, clever, and true to the characters all along, but the subtleties of interactivity can sometimes be hard to gauge until you get them on the screen and tinker with them. If you were to play the last few weeks of the Telltale security camera footage of my desk at fast forward, my exasperated chokes and gasps would sound like a machine gun as the rat creature scene progressed through three distinct designs, and the phrase "stupid, stupid rat creatures,"� uttered by me with ever increasing frequency, would change from an exclamation to a mantra, finally blending into a continuous background hum.

You might also notice me becoming more rat creature-like in appearance, gradually hunching over, fingernails extending, eyes widening and bulging, hair sprouting from unusual places. I begin drooling, jumping up on the desk, squashing the plants. Bits of quiche cover my shirt.

Hello, small mammal!

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