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Designing For the Player

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First, go here and read this article, "What Kind of Designer Are You?"

Okay, have you figured out which kind(s) of designer you are? Good. Only problem is, these are ALL the wrong way to design a game.

You are the god, but you exist to entertain your worshippers. Only a gamer can design a game, but only if you can think outside the gamer box can you design an original game, and only an engineer can build it so that it is actually playable and balanced. You compete against the player by setting up challenges for him/her, and messing with your players' minds and emotions is why you enjoy creating interactive entertainment in the first place, but it's like playing against a child: the game's subject and tropes must appeal to them, you can't just slaughter them or they won't want to play any more, and they only keep coming back if you let them win sometimes. You are the DM who shepherds your flock, but you have no content to tell them about unless you're also an artist and an evangelist with a story to tell, a world to bring to life, and a moral to expound upon. You can make the best game ever but if you are 'above' being a used car salesman no one will give your game a chance, and you won't make enough money to fund the creation of the next game.

So what kind of game designer should we all be striving to be? Hope I don't shock anybody by saying this, but the ideal game designer is like a high-class whore: creative and skilled, passion harnessed by patient strategy, adapting to the individual needs and desires of each client, focused on presenting beauty and giving pleasure, knowledge, and even spiritual therapy, yet practical enough to set a fair price and not leave hickies or rope burns where they will be annoying the next day.

So go ahead, think of yourself as a courtesan, a geisha, a gigolo. Put beauty, balance, and passion in everything you design. Create a memorable and satisfying experience for your player, and they will love your game and come back for more.
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