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I Made a Game

Leaders and team members reflect on the highs and lows of the most recent Amnesia Fortnight.

Published: January 20th 2023

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Episode Transcript

ASIF: You know, there is only so much we could-- we could do.


PAUL: Have you played it much yourself?


No, I haven't gone back and played it since, um...

since the thing ended.

Right now might be too soon.


I have accepted this as just who I am.

I will always...

...find some way to, like... negative about something.

It's a very complex emotion,

because you come back to your real life after that.

That's that sort of feeling, like: "Yeah, that was amazing.

And I have all these great pictures and videos of it, and...

And then-- and then that's it, and then I'm never going back there.


That's like a hard thing to deal with, so...



TIM: It's time for Amnesia Fortnight!

All right! You only have two weeks. Get to work!

I'm pretty much a baby at game design.

See that? Look at that.

Right there. Look at that.

I mean, I'm not sure it's going to work at all.

AARON: Because everything depends on it pretty heavily.

ZAK: If the second screen does not work...

...we don't have a game.

No pressure.

DEREK: It's really good.

It all came together.

Oh my god, I'm so-- I'm so tired.

But... it's cool.

TIM: All right. I'm going to start the intro.

Are we ready to go live?

Is everyone emotionally prepared to go live?

He-he-hello! Really, we are live? Okay.


Welcome to the Amnesia Fortnight 2017 closing ceremonies!

-[CHEERING] -Now you can clap!


Yeah, it's exciting!

We won't see everything you see, and you won't see everything we see, so.

Everybody in the audience can and should play along.

So, you have to help Tim figure out what the hell he is supposed to do.

Everybody had the big, kind of cathartic play session with Tim,

playing in that giant group, live on the stream.

ZAK: And we are jumping rope.




-One more, one more. -One more!


TIM: The whole time they were making that game

I heard rumblings of, like: "You are going to have to play this

when it's over."

And I was like...

I knew they were going to try to make it as embarrassing as possible,

and that I would be, uh... the butt of it.

It was an honor. I felt it was an honor to be...

someone who they thought could take it.

It was just a lot more physically demanding

than I realized.

I'm not really at my peak aerobic fitness right now.

And I was just, like--

Getting up and getting down, I was just, like--

I was not-- the big problem was not being embarrassed.

The problem was just, like, not having a heart attack.

I was, like, all sweating.

Like: "Okay, and the puppet-- and this is-- and this is--"


Okay... okay...

-Too late. -[LAUGHTER]

Last one.


Churn! Churn!


ZAK: A little more screaming than I think the game can support.

It starts to get hard when it's that many.

And so, towards the end of the stream, I kind of had to get up close to Tim

and help, like-- coach him specifically,

because it was so overwhelming.

-ZAK: Faster, a little faster! -[OVERLAPPING SCREAMING]

Slower! Slow it down! Slow, slow, slow! Slow!


Slow it down. Slow it down.

Slow it down, slow it down, slow it down.

Slower, a little slower than that. Even more slow.

Faster! Faster! Faster!

-[SCREAMING] -Keep going, keep going!

Go, go, go, go go!




I need a cigarette.

ZAK: Everything worked really, really well.

So, I was excited with how it was received.

TIM: Well, thanks guys!


ZAK: I hope the team is proud of all the stuff,

how it came out.

Um, there is, like, a huge amount of variety in there.

TIM: Zak McClendon and the I Have No Idea What I'm Doing team!

-Thank you! -[CHEERING]

ZAK: Yeah, I think, uh, you know...

just working closely with anybody like that,

you form a more direct relationship and kind of understand what--

how they like to work, um...

and what you might be doing to annoy them.

And how you could possibly avoid those things in the future.

Well, you know, what I actually have is the Amnesia Fortnight survey results.

Oh, yes!

CARYL: Uh, the ways leads could have done better.

Be less stressed out.


TIM: Oh, you guys are a bunch of jerks!

PAUL: I'm surprised Caryl read all the feedback in the meeting.


PAUL: Did you know she was going to do that beforehand?

-Yeah. -PAUL: Okay.

I mean she is, um...

As Caryl will, she'd...

...put out some stuff more bluntly than I would, just more straightforward.

But I think that is fine.

Uh, be less panicky, specifically about technical problems.

That seemed to be something where leads were less, uh... panicky

about design and scope problems,

and more panicky about technical hurdles that they didn't know how to overcome

within the finite period of time.

Please have less meetings...

ZAK: A little harrowing at least it was for me.

I mean, definitely, um...

You know, in retrospect,

having watched the documentaries as they came out,

I wish I'd handled the stress of it better.

Well, no, I mean this is what you have to do.

I was super impressed with, uh... the whole tech team.

And, um... Amy and Aaron, and them pulling that stuff off,

because there was a lot of pressure, and I had put a lot of pressure on them.

It's one actor, it's this one actor call.

ZAK: Building of the game is a much more strong memory

than the game itself.

You make the game, and the game goes out,

and it kind of just lives on its own,

and it's this thing that's external of-- to you.

But the experience of making it is something that you live through.

And that becomes part of who you are.

And so making the making of it

a healthy, good environment, um... is super, super important to me.

Um, and... I'd like to do better at that the next time.

ZAK: All right! Let's go get beers then.

Works for me!

TIM: I mean, Amnesia Fortnight is definitely a pressure cooker,

and it tests people, but...

everybody learns something about themselves when they do it.

If he learned anything from that that he wants to apply to Psychonauts,

I think that's a win for everybody.

-ZAK: Now it's your turn. -Oh, uh...

I have no idea what I'm doing it yet.

-Wrong game. -DEVIN: That was last week.

I'm sorry, Zak has ruined that for everyone forever.

ZAK: I know, that's what I'm here for.

Ruining things for everybody.

JEREMY: This is my first actual day back at work...

-PAUL: Hey. -DEREK: How's it going?

Step into Greg's office.

PAUL: It seemed like it went pretty great this time around.

DEREK: It went great!

I have no complaints at all. It was amazing!

Because it's a-- It's a fun, little-- little prototype.

-Derek Brand! -Hello!

-Good to see you! How have you been? -Yeah, good to see you!

Um, how many people are going to be playing today?

Uh... as many as we can get.

I think there is four people?

And they are going to be in the offices playing, network--

-Yes. -Okay.

DEREK: Yeah, it was...

I don't know, it was super fun to watch everyone play it

and, uh, try to make pots, and try to... smash each other.

Uh, it was-- overall it was--

it was really cool.

That was a good payoff moment.

TIM: So, one of your team can be just the--

Oh, that's a nice view! Look at that!

DEREK: Yeah, are you watching the battle?

-TIM: That's crazy! -[LAUGHTER]

TIM: What happened there? What happened there?!

Uh, some physics... fun.


GREG: Can you make a really wobbly, weird one?

TIM: Yeah, make a bad one.


DEREK: If you make one really, like, uh, unstable looking...


DEREK:'ll kind of wobble.


Uh, I couldn't believe, um...

what Kiln did as far as just, like:

"Hey, let's add this, one more feature that's super critical..."

And actually that's what the whole game is about.

In the water.

-TIM: Oh, jeez. -DEREK: Oh, that is pretty good.

TIM: Oh, you got two.

Look, he made, like, a little dish!

It's like a cat food dish!

-Oh, he hurt your guy! -No-o-o!

-DEREK: Denied. -TIM: Why is he so mean?

Why is he so powerful?

-Is that because he made a low... -Yeah, it's very low.

And it has a lot of health because it's very wide.


Oh, man! What a weird game you've made, Derek.

I know! It's so weird, isn't it?

I like that there is a lot of strategy here.

Because I was like: "How is the pot gonna affect the battle?"

But it seems like...

TIM: It was hilarious to watch Derek, because the--

the first time he was a project leader, he was kind of like:

"Oh, god! I don't know. What can I do? I don't know if I can do this!"

And then he was like: "Oh, god! It's really hard, it's really hard!"

And then he, like, pulled through.

And everyone clapped for him,

and everyone cried watching the documentary.

He was, like, this... underdog.

And, uh...

And he is still-- because he is so kind of soft-spoken

and humble, he always seems like a perpetual underdog.

But there was a little bit this time--

He was kind of, like...

You could tell he wasn't worried in a weird way.

It was just really inspiring, I think, to see his confidence growing, and...


him putting together an idea that is really well thought out.

This is crazy. This is really good.

-This is really awesome. -It is very good.

We got an amazing team.

DEREK: I'm just reminded of how much...


How badass everyone is.

You know, it's just, like, a reminder of, like:

"Holy crap! These are professionals."


"They are all amazing."

And, uh...

Yeah, it's--

It's a good reminder.

CARYL: Uh, you know, we asked for sort of, like, MVPs.

And really almost everyone got mentioned in one way or another.

Matt Enright, you probably got the most mentions.

Where are you? Is he here?

Not here? Oh, there he is!


TIM: It was a thing-- A lot of the feedback--

A lot of the thanks to different people was like:

"Thanks to so and so for putting all the crazy hours.

And thanks to so and so for working all night long!"

And I, like... The purpose is, like...

"Okay, let's not use that terminology when we thank people."

Because I don't want to glorify, like... crunch mode.

Like, I think, a lot of companies are like:

"Yeah, you gotta stay up all night! Blah, blah, blah, blah."

And that's just-- I don't think that's really healthy.

But I also-- I don't know what the solution is.

Because I don't want to ignore the people, you know, working really hard.

But I don't want to send the message to everybody else that's like:

"By the way, you can't see your family for two weeks,

because you've gotta be here.

Because other people are going to be here two weeks, and..."

Because that's not really--

That doesn't really fit with the company's values.

But it is this limited time period... I don't know.

We'll have to have some meeting and figure that out.

-WARD: "Uh-oh." -MIYUKI: "Uh-oh."

MIYUKI: Like, some of that?

CAMDEN: It's not, like, an open, destructive force.

And I don't think AF is destructive.

I don't think making video games is destructive, but, like...

You can-- you can really get consumed by...

...what you...

...believe could be possible.

And you have to be-- you have to be careful.

I'm getting better at it, but...


AF destroyed me, man. It's, like...

I'm really glad I had the help I had.

Like, Steve and Paul are just amazing!

CARYL: And really the audio team, they got a bunch of call-outs as well.

The audio really pulled it-- pulled it out of the hat for this one.


Seventy percent of you think Kiln should be turned into a game.

It won overwhelmingly as the game that we should make.

DEREK: Oh! Oh, yeah! Yeah, that was awesome to hear.

That people were like: "Yeah, let's make this thing!"

So, that's exciting.

I mean, that's a-- That's just a fact.

It's just a data point.

A lot of people wonder: "What happens now?"

You know: "We finished it. Do we make games out of these or not?"

And a lot of it has to do with the project leader.

Like, the project leader-- if they just can't stop thinking about it

and they keep, like: "Hey, I was working on that game a little bit, and..."

If they keep coming to talk to me about it.

It'll be clear that this game has more of a life.

And the project leader is really passionate about it.

And that we could keep-- keep working on it.

But some of them got so much attention that you...

you know, it'd be hard to, like, forget about them.

It feels like a billion years ago to be honest.

Like, it's a...

It happened really f--

It... felt like it lasted forever.

And then, uh... it was over.

And it was only two weeks, so whatever.

And now it feels like it's been...

months since that, but it hasn't really.

PAUL: Have you thought about it much since?

Uh, a little bit.



I've also been, like-- also just trying to focus,

get back into my normal day-to-day stuff.


DEVIN: It's a weird transition, um...

because my role shifts so much.

I'm no longer leading.

I'm now kind of back where I was before.

So, that's taken some adjustment.

The first few days especially were--

were kind of... strange

when I was just having a hard time focusing.

Also because I was still thinking so much about the AF project.

New ideas that--

You know, I still wasn't done thinking about where to take that project, so...

Took a little while for me to get refocused.

PAUL: Do you find yourself wanting to tell Zak what to do?

Not more than I did before.

TIM: Let's start with Darwin's Dinner.

Devin Kelly-Sneed, please come sit in the hot seat.


TIM: Oh, look at that!

So, how do you feel? How do you feel?

-I feel great! -Yeah, yeah, yeah?

DEVIN: And so, they have different traits.

Like being fast or slow.

TIM: Oh my god!

This is crazy!

I feel really good.

I'm really proud of the game we made.

Um, and so it was fun to see it in it's kind of finished--

I mean, prototype finished, but, uh-- but the finished form.



I'm not going to make fun of Silvio anymore.

A little tiny baby! It's like a tiny baby!

GREG: He is really strong though!

Really strong little guy.

Yep! So, yeah the traits are all independent of each other.

So, like, being-- being small or big doesn't mean

that it's easier to kill or less dangerous to you.

It just changes how much food you get from it.

TIM: Oh my god! 93!

You can do it! This is the unicorn that--

-GREG: Yeah! -TIM: Okay.


I feel like just after playing it a couple times,

I didn't quite yet figure out what my strategy should be.

That game is all about feedback. And so, learning--

I think if I played it a couple more times, I would learn...

how to optimize it, so I could get past my limit,

which is currently, like, the first day.

I haven't gotten past the first day in that game.

You know, I actually haven't really seen any feedback.


other than...


from when people in the office played it.


And some of that feedback was: "It's really hard."

I think I got-- I think I got the controls.

Just that-- I just didn't see--

Like, I didn't really get a sense for all the monsters, so I want to see--

DEVIN: We tuned it a little too difficult.

The game changed drastically over the last,

I don't know, four hours of day ten.

We didn't really have, um...

any way to-- to have a good sense of that.

But at the end of the day I kind of had to just pick some numbers

and hope that they were right.

-TIM: That's crazy! -DEVIN: Yep!

TIM: That's awesome!

That turned out pretty fun, man!

-Thank you! -Yeah!

Awesome, Darwin's Dinner!

PAUL: Do you find yourself missing the intensity of those two weeks?

Or are you glad to go back to the normal routine?


I'm not really missing it.



I got some experience that I've never had before with leading.

Also with kind of thinking through a pitch,

and a concept, and how to design a game.

So, I definitely gained a whole bunch of experience, um...

...that was new to me.

Pretty-- It was pretty awesome.

CAMDEN: And it's funny, because on this AF

more than any other AF I've seen...

I was surprised.

I was surprised how people dealt with the pressure.

This is kind of an all-new crew.

For the most part.

It's, like, forty or fifty percent...

is kind of new.

And so, like, getting to know these people, like...

you just-- you get caught.

You have to-- You have to realize it.

You have to realize it with them.

I don't know... I mean, if you are a creative

or if you are into what we are all into.

Like, that's-- That's an intoxicating brew.

I think it'll be good on, um...

Psychonauts 2, especially, because I think--

I think a lot of people learned...

...uh, who you are working with.

And, like...

um, just what kind of people they are and...

So, I think that's going to kind of solidify the team.

Look, Asif is behind the camera!

Back behind the camera.

Look at him over there.


ASIF: I don't know, I mean...

I'm trying to be practical about my excitement.



It's weird to... the subject of something after shooting docs for so long.


I don't-- when I see myself in the thing,

I don't really see that as me in a weird way.

I don't know if that makes any sense,

but, like, it just feels like something that happened to some other person.

So, I'm glad that, you know, people who watched it

got something out of it.


I can't really reconcile the person that they are talking about with myself.

He was playing for the crowd though.

You could tell, in his interviews he was like:

"How can I-- How can I work this?"

Yeah, the people--

the project leaders always seem like they are right on the edge of crying.

It's more fun to watch, right?

ASIF: Uh, I mean, sometimes.

I get a lot of people asking me about...

you know, whether or not I'm okay.


Like that day that Ryan wasn't there.

Like, I allowed that to sort of get the best of me

and sort of, like, psych me out a little bit.


That part I remember being difficult.

ASIF: I just wanted to, like...

I don't know, do something that I thought was--

was big and special while I had the opportunity.

Because these-- all these people will go back to making games,

and I never will.

ASIF: Closer to the end when, like, we had our big review meeting...

The level was done, and, like, machines were working, and, like...

We were playing it in front of our team

and, like, you could hear people get excited about stuff.


It's just a little burnt.

ASIF: That to me was very satisfying.

Because I felt like I was beating myself up a lot

about how much I was asking people to do.

I didn't know if I was creating this resentment or not or, like,

if... it was somehow demotivating for people to have that much to do.

But, I think, in that meeting--

in that moment where people were seeing all the payoff,

it was nice to hear that people were still excited by it.

KEE: Oh-h-h...!


Ooh, wow!


ASIF: The best part of this whole thing was seeing the studio react

to the game actually being played on that last day, so.

Awesome! Well, hey! Look, you did it!

-You made a game, right? -Hi, yeah, we made a game...

-Oh, we'll see, we'll see, maybe. -...with an amazing team.

No, it's a game. It's a beautiful game.

TIM: I like his asymmetric glove.

What the heck!



TIM: Holy cow!

Exciting! Okay.

Rail slides!

ASIF: It had the intended effect.

Like, people were invested in the right moments,

in the moments that I'd hoped they would be.

Like you were saying, you know, when the doors opened up,

everyone was rightfully impressed by everything that they saw.

Like, the scope of it.

And the quality of the execution visually.

And then, just the fact that you could play through the round, I think.

I was very proud of the team.

And thankful for them for realizing the idea that I had to that degree.


ASIF: I think, if I'm going to take a look at this whole experience, um...

That was really sort of the moment that I was aiming for.

Just because at a certain point I knew

that we were not going to have time to really playtest the game.

So, right away I was just, like, you know...

I had to make peace with the fact that...

...when your average person picks up this game,

they are not going to have any idea what they are supposed to do.

So, I'm really just hoping that...

this playthrough in front of the team goes well.

And that there is video evidence of it,

because that is sort of, like, the only way that...

...anyone is going to get a sense of what this game could be,

is by watching a very tightly controlled playthrough

by someone that knows what they are doing.

And, luckily, on that day we had exactly that.


TIM: What can you do in two minutes?

You might have time for a fishcake, I don't know.

ASIF: You know, the clock was starting to count down.

-[ASIF LAUGHS] -Noodles!

TIM: Oh my god, you forgot the noodles in the ramen!


It's not ramen without noodles, Vic!

ASIF: Just run back and hit the button. Don't worry about it!

ASIF: If you dropped something, there was, like, a big reaction.

Or, like, if you fell into the lava, there was another big reaction.

-Oh my god! -[SCREAMING]

Just go the safe way, go the safe way.

ASIF: People were getting really into whether or not Vic was going to finish it.





Nicely done!


TIM: Wait!


ASIF: People were applauding when he finally managed to deliver the goods

and, like, got a positive rating.

Um, so I think seeing that was-- was enough for me.


-Thank you, guys. -Thank you, Gods Must Be Hungry team!

And Asif, good job!

Well done, sir!

ASIF: Uh, yeah. It was definitely a very just, like--

It was sort of on, and then it was off.

And then, all of a sudden all these people here are team members

on a different game now.

And, like, I have this weird memory where it's like:

"Oh, you were in this dream that I had Ryan

where, like, we were making a game together.

And now you are just on Psychonauts again."


And, like, I pass by Brian in the hall now.

It's, like, that was someone that, like...

For a very intense period of time we had this very close working relationship.

-ASIF: Yes! -Unpoofed!

-I'm a goddamn genius! -Oh my god, we can hide anything now!

ASIF: But now... there is, like, this huge distance between us again.

Like, where I'm behind the camera and, like...

He is just working on the stuff that he is working on.


And I don't know what he is doing day-to-day.

And he doesn't know what I'm doing day-to-day, so...

Yeah, I don't know, uh...

TIM: Asif, you can't let those relationships go!

How else are you going to build your empire?

PAUL: So, I have to ask this question with Asif here--

No, I'm going to make this more uncomfortable for Asif.

That's the main goal.

PAUL: I don't know, have you thought about having Asif work on P2 a little bit?

Oh, well, Asif knows that we've thought about that.

We have a...

bucky young intern build some levels for us.

RYAN: I think we are going to do that.

GAVIN: That seems like a great idea. Let's do it.


ANDY: Okay.

TIM: Asif has been kind of hard to keep down.

And trust me, we have tried.

We have tried to keep Asif down with his ideas.

And he just keeps generating ideas.

It's like a leaky hose, you just gotta plug him in somewhere,

so that all that-- all those leaks go somewhere.

-Right, Asif? -ASIF: Mm-hmm.


Like, I also get a couple of people asking me

whether or not, like, I'm going to switch over,

and, like, start working on projects here.

And, like...

Uh, like, Anna came up to me the other day

and she told me-- she was like:

"Asif, I had a dream where you quit Double Fine and 2 Player,

and you started your own game studio."

And I was like...

"I'm not even crazy enough to dream that."

No, but it was awesome!

I mean...

People did amazing work.

That they were excited about it and, like, gave me so much support...


That's, like, something that I will never forget.

Even if I never get to do anything else again,

I will always have this.



Made a game.

For a little bit.


Okay, now I'm going to slouch.

This is what I learned about being on camera.

This always looks good.

ASIF: Can you clap in front of your face, Tim?


-Right now? -ASIF: Mm-hmm.

All right, this has been Tim Schafer with Amnesia Fortnight.

Thank you for watching.

Uh, come back, uh... in two years when the games will be...

Asif's great comeback.

He's going to make a multiplayer combat game.

He's going to make a multiplayer combat game.

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