Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Naming of Games

Or, Anxiety: the Sequel. I wasn't sure which to lead with, really. But anxiety is one of those more permanent things these days so there's less chatter there.

I've been thinking a lot, now that my core tech is starting to coalesce into something that actually resembles a working product, if the name of my game was actually a good idea. A bit of history on the whole affair, first:

Back in Ye Olde Days of Yore, when I was a fresh-faced youth just thinking up fantasy worlds to write about (I was always more of a writer than a programmer, or an artist, or whatever, then), I struck upon Phantasmagoria. It has those "dream world" connotations, I looked up the (very Official™) meaning of the word and I was captivated. I used it as a codename because it was incredibly generic, I used it when describing it because it fit. A good choice, all told.

But then I found about this massively-successful game of years gone past (for a certain definition of successful, but it was definitely a celebrated game for its time), sharing the name of my game. My game! Hah. Exactly. This other game had the whole legitimacy thing going on, and trademarks and patents are not my thing. Nor would I want them to be. What a mess.

So I've been umming and ahhing for a while now, what to do with my tiny conundrum? Rename the game? How do I stumble upon another decently-appropriate term for my game, given the worldbuilding I spent time constructing for it (before I even settled on a proto-name)? And then the one phrase I'm quite happy with I go and find a Tweet by some moderately-popular person who says without reservation that he will punch iron spikes through the skull of the next poor individual that happens to base some fiction writing on "Shards" with regards to planes of reality. Well, I'm exaggerating. Violence not was explicitly said, nor does that person not have a point. It's a very overused trope, throughout fiction. Not that I was aware of this when I was younger, nor am I going to abandon it now. But that little devil called anxiety just whispers into my ear from the relative comfort of my shoulder, telling me "what if it does matter". Classifications aside, degrees of severity aside, neuroses of any kind are a bitch.

So I wrote this tidy piece. Partly catharsis, writing giant blocks of text always make me feel better, and partly to make sure my reasoning didn't seem utterly daft when read back at myself.

Phantasmagoria will henceforth be known as Shards of Celetin.

What a lot of waffle for that underwhelming end result, eh? I don't even have a funny GIF of my graphics renderer working properly yet. Funny because I am not an artist, ha ha. So have a picture of one of my cats. He's adorable. And a bit of a shit at times, but that's what makes him a good cat.