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Ideas are a dime a dozen...


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 04:42 AM

Definitions taken directly from www.Dictionary.com

 

Development: the act or process of developing; growth; progress:

 

Developing: undergoing development; growing; evolving.

 

Design:

1. to prepare the preliminary sketch or the plans for (a work to be executed), especially to plan the form and structure of.

[...]

Design is inarguably a part of Development within the gaming industry (as well as many other industries) and therefore IS a form of DevelopmentDevelopment however, is comprised of multiple aspects some of which (NOT all) comprise elements of Design.

 

Therefore, Design is ALWAYS Development while Development does NOT always entail Designing.

Oh boy... this threads is drowning into words. Actually, it's all very simple.

 

Development is about having a game finished and completed. That's the goal and the whole purpose. To have a playable (and preferably fun) game in the end.

 

Design is not a form of development, its only a part of development. A tool you use to make development process faster/easier/better. But alone design without a game in the end is nothing.


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:08 AM

Design is not a form of development, its only a part of development. A tool you use to make development process faster/easier/better. But alone design without a game in the end is nothing.

 

I get your line of reasoning but I utterly disagree with your opinion/base sentiment.

 

I understand that your telling me you don't need someone to plan the work thats done by the raw/physical development staff. In theory your right, you can still build a house without mapping out blueprints/floor plans and all that stuff. A skilled team of developers or builders COULD make a fully functional game thats enjoyable or house that provides shelter and is comfortable.

 

However, I scoff at the idea that the overall likelihood of either being MORE enjoyable or provide better comfort. Its laughable to think of the odds and outcomes in which two teams with those set conditions were to compete xD

 

The potential/quality of the design team would far surpass the designless even though the designless could prolly dish out a product faster.

 

slow and steady wins the race and quality over quantity.. jus my opinion tho



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:33 AM

The potential/quality of the design team would far surpass the designless even though the designless could prolly dish out a product faster.

 

Acharis is talking about the difference in quality between a game produced solely by the design team, versus one produced entirely by the development team. It's a bit of a strawman, since the design team is very unlikely to be able to develop a game without any developers.

 

But the difference he is trying to illustrate, is that the developers are generally not afraid to get their hands dirty and work on design, while designers seem to have this odd repulsion towards getting their hands dirty actually working to realise their own ideas...

 

When was the last time you saw a developer on the forums saying "I know I could build the most amazing game if only someone else would do all the design work for me"?


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

I am not sure what are the merits of design without regard for feasibility.
_________________________________________________________

Space 4X Game
Functional/Feasible Design : Create a miniature representation of planets in our solar system and a small region of surrounding space. When players switch on the "FTL drive", he gets teleported to the destination planet to give the illusion that he has traveled vast distances.
Non-Functional/Feasible : Ultra realistic to-scale 3D world of our solar system. You can land on a to-scale life size version of Saturn or Jupiter and expore it. Your ship can fly at FTL speed through vast regions of space in real time.

Normandy beach landing FPS
Functional/Feasible Design : Think about the graphics/sounds capability of the engine, and how to recreate the experience of the beach landing. Perhaps using AI or scripted scenes to simulate fighting in a vast battle while keeping the number of players on each server to a realistic 32 or 64.
Non-Functional/Feasible : 50,000 players together on one server. Realistic experience delivered through virtual reality goggles so players feel as if they are actually there.
_________________________________________________________

During a design discussion of either one of those games, I would prefer to read about the functional/feasible ideas, than the non-functional/feasible ones...which IMHO serves no useful purpose. However, I am not against people having/enjoying such discussions. Perhaps we could have a "FUN" tag for game design discussions that are meant to be "just for fun" and not necessarily functional/feasible?


Edited by Legendre, 23 January 2013 - 01:32 PM.


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

I think one thing that should be taken into consideration in this discussion is the design efforts of a one man team or small indie group. In a smaller group, even the "idea guy" needs to put in something else into the game such as creating art assets and/or programming. Smaller groups, which are becoming more and more popular, someone who is only an "idea guy" is simply not valuable and dare I say someone who is going to hold back the team. I mean, everyone is creative in their own right, and if you have one person trying to only inject their ideas; even over others ideas, then what good are they? In that setting, I find it better to brainstorm with the group and develop the games idea together and leaving the "idea guy" out of it.

 

In my experience, I worked with some one who was an "idea guy" once. Yeah, it was only "once". It didn't work out so well. The entire team ended up abandoning his idea, the project, and pretty much him because he wasn't willing to help with any of the creation of the game. This kid was a decent enough artist to make assets, but he just wanted to talk down to others and insist his ideas were better than others. Most of my team and I still can't stand the guy.

 

So yeah, my suggestion (to anyone really) is don't be that "idea guy". Bring more to the table, see others as equals, and take advice into serious consideration when its given. If you don't, you'll be that "idea guy".

 

...I think "idea guy" should be a bad word here. mellow.png


Edited by DaveTroyer, 23 January 2013 - 03:29 PM.

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:46 PM

Non-Functional/Feasible : Ultra realistic to-scale 3D world of our solar system. You can land on a to-scale life size version of Saturn or Jupiter and expore it. Your ship can fly at FTL speed through vast regions of space in real time.

Non-Functional/Feasible : 50,000 players together on one server. Realistic experience delivered through virtual reality goggles so players feel as if they are actually there.

 

With existing technology. I would anticipate this would alter with technological advances.

 

Generating ideas can be very much pie in the sky and have no regard to the actual constraints of what can and cannot be achieved with current levels of technology. I sometimes think this point in of itself is not made clearly enough on these forums. Developing an idea with no real understanding of these constraints is only feasible in the beginning but as you begin to refine the idea into something more concrete then it becomes less feasible (exceptions do exist of course i.e. simplistic/achievable). A little appreciated reality of the game designer role is merging the game idea with the engineering constraints to develop a game that meets both ends. In the end, this is one of the primary reasons initial game ideas evolve and adapt from their beginnings into a finished product that may bear little resemblance to the original idea.



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:49 PM

Acharis is talking about the difference in quality between a game produced solely by the design team, versus one produced entirely by the development team. It's a bit of a strawman, since the design team is very unlikely to be able to develop a game without any developers.

 

Well, thats a rigged proposition then sleep.png Because obviously, we all know designers need developers.

 

If not, a designer needs some development know how in order to complete a game. In which case you can't paint them out as a "designer". This person is multi-disciplined as was being brought up in DaveTroyers' post.

 

Designers need Programmers, Graphic Artist, and Sound Technicians. Programmers, Graphic Artist, and Sound Technicians could live without Designers.

 

We get it, you don't have to rub it in tongue.png

 

I am not sure what are the merits of design without regard for feasibility.

 

Perhaps we could have a "FUN" tag for game design discussions that are meant to be "just for fun" and not necessarily functional/feasible?

 

I agree with a slight different stand on why. Design without regard for feasibility is not in fact design. Its as you said before, day dreaming.

 

During a design discussion of either one of those games, I would prefer to read about the functional/feasible ideas, than the non-functional/feasible ones

 

Also agree, I believe in purpose in all my actions (even the menial ones) and shy away from waste of energy and time. Talking about things I don't believe I can realistically implement just counts as dilly dallying. I don't mind discussing something I believe I can implement but don't know how until I come to the conclusion that it is unrealistic.

 

don't be that "idea guy". Bring more to the table, see others as equals, and take advice into serious consideration when its given. If you don't, you'll be that "idea guy".
 
...I think "idea guy" should be a bad word here. mellow.png

 

First off, welcome to the thread Sir DaveTroyer!! biggrin.png Thanks again for your input on the FFC system happy.png

 

As you may have noticed, I've taken a liking to considering myself an "Idea Guy" in defense to the design aspects of development. Even though I am most definitely not an "Idea Guy" in the sense it is commonly used on here. So yes, the common notion for the term is VERY bad. I like to think of being an "Idea guy" from a more positive and practical perspective. When I refer to myself as an "Idea Guy" I mean I have a design heavy orientation and approach to development. As I mentioned before, up to this point I've done all of my own work and there is indeed alot more than just thoughts included in my work.

 

 A little appreciated reality of the game designer role is merging the game idea with the engineering constraints to develop a game that meets both ends. In the end, this is one of the primary reasons initial game ideas evolve and adapt from their beginnings into a finished product that may bear little resemblance to the original idea.

 

I couldn't have said it better myself. This explains and adds to a statement I made a while back quite nicely.

 

What you defined is functional game development. Game design is in fact more about daydreaming and spewing ideas. Where they meet, tying into what you're saying, lies within the balance of ideology and functionality/feasibility.

 

Thank you for getting the discussion back on track guys (and gal? lol) smile.png You're all champs biggrin.png


Edited by SinisterPride, 23 January 2013 - 06:00 PM.


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:03 PM

Game design is in fact more about daydreaming and spewing ideas.

 

I think that this is a very dangerous phrase you are throwing about, and that it heavily contributes to the resistance you are encountering in this thread.

 

Every discipline begins with daydreaming and spewing ideas. Writers do it, artists do it, theoretical physicists do it - hell, programmers do it too. There is nothing unique to game design about spewing ideas.

 

But in the same way that programming isn't just about daydreaming and spewing ideas, neither is design. If you insist on ignoring the technical aspects of game design, then you might as well be an existential philosopher, for all the good it will do you in actually designing a game.

 

When I am done daydreaming about some amazing new GPGPU procedural generation algorithm, I go implement the damn thing and see if it works. So if you don't have the drive and ambition to prototype your amazing new gameplay mechanic (and a prototype can be as simple as a quick spreadsheet, or a set of sketches on the back of napkins), then I don't see why I should grant you the time of day...

 

Edit: I realise that may have sounded a bit harsh. It isn't my intention to direct that squarely at you - it's a general criticism that applies to many people and/or disciplines.


Edited by swiftcoder, 23 January 2013 - 06:25 PM.

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:25 PM

Something of note to mention: A game designer is not necessarily the person who created the orginal game idea oftentimes he/she is not.



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

I think that this is a very dangerous phrase you are throwing about, and that it heavily contributes to the resistance you are encountering in this thread.
 
Every discipline begins with daydreaming and spewing ideas. Writers do it, artists do it, theoretical physicists do it - hell, programmers do it too. There is nothing unique to game design about spewing ideas.

 

Agreed for the most part."Game design is in fact more about daydreaming and spewing ideas." IS a dangerous phrase. But only when taken out of context as it so commonly has been within my post. You said it yourself, "Every discipline begins with daydreaming and spewing ideas." and as I have reiterated countless times, my phrasing never suggest that "daydreaming and spewing ideas" is ALL that game design is about sleep.png

 

So if you don't have the drive and ambition to prototype your amazing new gameplay mechanic (and a prototype can be as simple as a quick spreadsheet, or a set of sketches on the back of napkins), then I don't see why I should grant you the time of day...

 

When I commented on prototyping my choice of words were very poor. I said something about not being willing to prototype a demonstrable demo. What I should have said is that I am not willing to spend time developing a playable demo in order to display a concept or idea. I in fact, I prototype my ideas in very extensive manners and have plenty of work to show for it (of which I'm slowly posting and sharing in my Project A.E. chain of threads).

 

So yes, you sir hit the nail on the head with your post biggrin.png 



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Posted 23 January 2013 - 09:33 PM

What I should have said is that I am not willing to spend time developing a playable demo in order to display a concept or idea.

 

In your case, your design is a specialized form of control for movement and attacking; it would really benefit from a rough playable prototype. It could get your idea across. I don't understand why this doesn't seem worth the time to you? If it's not worth the time to you, why should it be to anybody else?


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:00 PM

Bit agressive on your phrasing there buddy lol..

Did you read what I actually said? I won't spend time developing a PLAYABLE DEMO to DISPLAY a concept or idea.

If my goal is to express my idea for a concept or mechanic, my writing or sketches more than suffice to complete the task coherently.

If I aim to construct a playable model of said mechanics I will:

-sit down with an engine
-load up basic functional graphic models of my own making
-establish the scripting for the controller input > model reply/reaction
-then tinker my ass off until I'm satisfied with the results.

See the difference between when I aim to design something and when I aim to develop it?

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

SinisterPride:

I think, though, that the process of prototyping (or constructing a playable model of a mechanic) may not only give you something to show people who may be interested in being a part of the development team, but it could also change the way you look at your mechanic.

 

For example: Maybe you have an idea of exactly how your control scheme will work (as you laid out in one of your other threads), and it really might work very well, but when you explain it, without showing it, all I think of is QWOP, and I no longer want to have anything to do with the project.

 

I think a big part of why people seem to be resistant to the idea of a pure "Designer", is because everyone on the team is part of the design process. Maybe one of the graphics programmers develops a really cool shader or figures out a way to include some graphical flourish that was dismissed as being beyond scope before... that person just influenced the design. Maybe only aesthetically, but that's part of design. 

 

So, when someone comes along who doesn't want to show how a mechanic should behave or present a few concept sketches to get a feel for the aesthetic of the game, one really starts to wonder how integral their role in the development is. 


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:30 PM

Totally and 100% agreed Sir NoAdmiral.

The thing is, you have to take into account (as someone mentioned earlier, not sure who, I'll check and edit this when I get home) that up until now I haven't had to articulate my thoughts to anyone but myself. My notes and prototypes have all been for me to catalog in case I ever wanted to make things public. This way I'd have something to show or a staring point that's not from scratch for a prospective team if it ever came to it. If my personality has shown at all in the last couple of days it should be known that I can contribute as well as consider criticism/bounce ideas around without being self centered.

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

I very much agree with NoAdmiral.

 

SinisterPride, you said the following yourself in an earlier post:

 

I believe in purpose in all my actions (even the menial ones) and shy away from waste of energy and time

 

When designing a complex system you will inevitably reach a point where accurately reasoning about the design and all of its implications in your head / on paper becomes practically impossible due to fundamental limitations of the human mind (such as a limited working memory). In programming we appreciate that all of the intricacies of a sufficiently large project cannot possibly be kept in one's head at any one time. The same could be said for any sufficiently complex system of rules, such as a game design.

 

Unexpected emergent properties arise in games frequently. If your design has reached a certain threshold of detail/complexity, and you are still working on paper, then making a change to the design is going to take a long time (as you have to back-track through the various connected elements of your design, and anticipate the implications of the change). The change will probably introduce other problems as well (as due to the design's complexity it is unlikely that your reasoning will be correct, let alone exhaustive).

 

The time/energy cost of reasoning about the effect of a change to the design on paper increases as the design's complexity grows, and the accuracy of your reasoning decreases. When you finally do begin implementation, you will likely have to tear out parts of the design as you realize that they don't work quite as expected. This can be extremely expensive. On the other hand, if you have a basic prototype then you can make a change and immediately test the implications. You can also get an early warning of any game-breaking design decisions - potentially saving you huge amounts of wasted effort. This allows you to know, rather than just think, that the design you have laid out behaves as expected in the real world. It allows you to empirically test the validity of your ideas, and reveals their true implications.

 

At some point it becomes more efficient to stop thinking/writing and instead create a functional prototype. It seems to me that the only question is where exactly this line is drawn.

 

As an aside, prototypes have frequently served as sources of inspiration - I'm sure many games (or at least major features) have been born from some quirky behavior in a prototype which turned out to be fun.



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:35 PM

For some business applications, where requirements are very rigid and the general type of problem is pretty familiar, then a waterfall / non-iterative approach can make sense.

 

But for game design, at least for me personally, an iterative approach has been useful enough that I can't imagine using a non-iterative approach, from a practical basis.

 

To take just one example, I had initially imagined/planned/designed that the movement UI would be heavily accelerometer based.   But, before I settled on my current movement AI, I quickly prototyped 3 different UI's: accelerometer, traditional buttons, and swipe. Over the course of a few weeks, myself and 2 others tested all 3 prototypes, and I made quick coding tweaks to fix bugs / fine-tune.  We found that what I envisioned (the accelerometer), was absolutely terrible and so got scrapped completely and ended up going with swipe.  

 

I'm very glad that I (or anyone else) did not spend dozens of hours making extensive, detailed plans based on using the accelerometer, as all that design work would of been wasted.  

 

This isn't to say a nice design or an "ideas guy" is bad, I think they can be extremely useful in some situations.  Specifically, where they are not set in stone but willing to rapidly iterate, and you already have enough programmers and artists.

 

For a small hobbyist team, an ideas guy even without programming or art skill could still be extremely useful to the team, as long as they are able and willing to do a lot of non-design tasks and grunt work the team needs too, as opposed to spending 90% of their time on ideas.  If they spend 25% of their time or less on idea generation / design documentation, and 75% or more on other useful tasks, it could work out. 

 

I'm talking about things like:

 - recruit additional members: go to arts colleges and compsci colleges, hand out business cards, tack on your posters, go to game boards

 - community outreach - go to web boards and chats and try to find new alpha testers

 - find and purchase things like server hardware as needed

 - schedule interviews with prospective new team members

 - book meeting rooms / library room time / videochat and coordinate schedules for team meetings

 - grunt work to relieve the artist: sometimes the concept artist needs 100 images to be resized in a way you can't automatically batch it, this is an area the ideas guy can help out, getting the artist back to working on the aspects of concept art creation only they have the skillset to do

 - update the team's game website with content / blog posts

 - research cost-effective marketing plans

 

If someone is the "ideas guy" and refuses to help out with these kinds of things, when the programmer(s) and artists are overloaded with work, that is probably what people are objecting to.

 

Now, if the team is big enough, say 10?  20 people?  At a certain point, I think a full-time purist ideas guy / game designer or even several could make sense, depending on the situation.  I haven't worked on game development teams that large, but hypothetically I could see a lot of value at that point in a true purist ideas guy, for some scenarios.

 

 

 

 


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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:43 AM

Aww man.. You guys sure wrote alot for me to respond to tongue.png My keyboard finally gave out on me 2 days ago. I guess the poor thing deserves to R.I.P. after all the hardcore gaming and intense writing I put it through laugh.png  I responded through my phone for the last few replies. I'll post up the draft responses I have mostly written up on my phone. Won't get around to fully replying to all my threads till tomorrow, had a long day at both jobs sleep.png I read everything though, good valid points which will pose tough responses. Thanks for the input/contributions guys, keep up the good work  
 
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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

I was en route to my second job from the first a few hours ago when something happened. I made an odd correlation between my jobs and the prominent political debate between those who are design oriented and those who are development oriented.

I work as a building superintendents' assistant and as a security guard. My job at the building entails maintenance and contracting work (generally hard physical physical labor). As a security guard I'm meant to take on the role of an observer, reporter and at times a deterrent.

The correlation I made is in between the different modes of thinking/action I require in each job. At the building I'm expected to think less and do more (I AM expected to think though). As a guard you're expected to observe and think to realize things before they occur or react as they're occurring (here my state of mind is almost opposite).

The reason I found this relevant is that either one of these states of mind are often default modes of procedure/thought for people.

Some are "Do-ers" and reacting impulsively/instinctively works for them. Others are thinkers and planning/organizing is their approach to almost everything.

I first made this correlation between the types of people in martial arts where the technical types and the impulsiveness/instinctive types stand out largely in contrast.

To wrap my point up , Game design and development seems to have the same contrast. People who are development oriented are hands on learners and perform better while having a creation to tinker with. Design oriented people are more comfortable envisioning and planning (extensively at times) before enacting said plans. The prejudice that exists between the two types of people is a needless one. More often than not they're both capable of the same feats. They just go about it through different paths.

I'm still working on those replies (long work day :-\). They should be up tonight.

Sin ←§•ɸ◦§→

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:20 AM

People who are development oriented are hands on learners and perform better while having a creation to tinker with. Design oriented people are more comfortable envisioning and planning (extensively at times) before enacting said plans.

Most decent computer scientists spend days of architectural and design planning before writing a single line of code. Most decent game designers implement prototypes early, and tinker with them constantly in order to hone in on the desired behaviours.

 

Corollary: generalisations are generally worthless.


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:42 AM

Kinda proved my point with your statement but *yawn* to exhausted argue the point.. Gnite ppk




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