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Why it is called Game Design...

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Soooo... this weeks post originally was more on the gameplay, but first to something completely different:

As I started to think more about the engine design, I couldn't get my head around how I should switch correctly between the "overworld view" and "fight view". As it turned out, the actual problem was lying somewhere else, I don't really know what I want to achieve with the "overworld view". Before I write an addendum to the "Why is my game fun" series, I should think about what you do with what you do. And to know this, I need to be more clear about the story and the first 10 minutes of the mission...

I start to see, game design combines everything: Programming, gameplay design, story, level design, sound/music, you even care about what the gamer should feel at a specific point in the game.
The term "Game Design" makes sense, it is hard to fathom the extend of your design work you have to do. I Also learned that you shouldn't lose the overview of the whole game, and that you cannot finish programming when you don't really know what kind of gameplay you want to have... everything depends on each other.

There are two fields I didn't think much about, that also influence the overworld view: Story/Lore, which should help define the overall mood and style the game has, the music, because nothing is more teeth grinding than music that does not fit the game, and the enemies you fight. In the end, the overworld revolves around the monster activities.

What I ought to do is make a bit of a mix of what I didn't do so far, concentrate on everything else than coding and design. I think i schould look for a "game soundtrack". Nothing official and I probably won't put it in the game because of copyright. But nothing helps setting the mood like the music.
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Game design is sometimes hard to grasp.

Think of chess. When you play music in the background, have wooden or marble pawns, standing on top of the table looking down or looking from below through a glass table, move the pawns with your hands or with a remote robot arm, all this does not change the game chess, this are just other view perspectives, visual/audio representations and other ways to control the game, but it does not change the game at all.
On the other hand, if you say, that you want 2 additional rows, making the checkerboard 8x10 instead of 8x8, then you actually have changed the game play :D

Therefore art, music and in fact user interfaces are not really part of the game play, but sometimes it [i]changes [/i]the game play. I.e. when you have a green and a red soldier, this is just a representation at first, but if you have a red or green soldier in a jungle, you change the game play, because the green soldier is much harder to recognize and the player need to consider this to play the game.

Level design is an other good hybrid example. Walking from a to b while solving puzzle c and defeating enemy d is game design. But it doesn't matter, if this is an alien spaceship, where you need to deactivate the reactor and kill the alien queen or a cave, where you need to find an ancient tomb and need to defeat the lich king.

A simple rule of thumb: when you can change the representation or control of a feature, then ask yourself if the game plays in the more or less same manner.

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