Xalavier Nelson Jr has ideas for a better way to make video games

Production should be the “main area of ​​innovation for games,” prolific game designer Xalavier Nelson Jr. tells Axios.

Why is this important: Nelson assesses an industry full of stressed people struggling to make great games in a satisfying and healthy way and he wants to fix that.

under the label strange scaffolding, he works according to a “constellation” model that calls on each person – all entrepreneurs – for their expertise.

  • He encourages them to take on other projects and compensates them for their contributions accordingly.
  • For the Organ game, he said he worked with about 10 people, focusing on a year and a half of pre-planning, followed by two “frighteningly productive” months while it was being built.

The big picture: Game development is widely regarded as an exhaustive process often associated with long and intense periods of production.

  • The majority of games also take a long time to make. A developer sacrificing their sanity to complete a product may not see an end result for years.

“When, where and why we put things together is such an exciting thing,” he says.

  • “We could create per-project processes that focus on the humans building them to enable better, faster, and cheaper product development.”
  • “Many people see [game creation] like “how do you use it as a wealth and product and intellectual property generation system”, instead of “how do you make human-centered creation sustainable, exuberant and consistent?”

Nelson’s approach That might sound ideal for small freelancers and for creators who don’t need full-time job security, but he said he’s been approached for production advice by people “with net worth. much higher than me” to a “distressing degree”.

  • He notes that all but one of his projects have been profitable and expects the exception to do so soon too.

With 60 projects to its credit in six years he says, and so many others along the way, he attributes his own motivation to identity and faith.

  • “I have this small amount of time that I’m alive, to be a good person and to empower people around me to do healthy and creative things and things to do things in.”
  • Pressed on where it came from: “If we want to get macabre about this, off the cuff, I’m a black man living in America. If I run down the street, I might get shot tomorrow. I don’t know how many games I have left.
  • “So let’s make sure the people I do things with are happy. Let’s make sure we do as much as we can before whenever God or human injustice determines it’s time for me to go.

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Kimberly B. Nguyen