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Intersecting lines in design

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I was talking to a few programmers in #gamedev chat before the DDOS, and I was surprised and not to find that one of them was developing a game that for all intents and purposes, would have been a great companion game to the adventure game I have been documenting the design for.

I knew this person to be a lot smarter and more experienced that I was in game design, most particularly from the technical side, so to see creative simile in design was enjoyable from the standpoint it gave validity to design lines I have been thinking and developing across for some years.

Now, I should state that when I say design, I mean from the player experience, world and challenge design and the consistent theme and goal of the playstate in the mind of the player as they control their agent/avatar in the game loop.

That's about as technical as I am going to get, because my strength is in design and writing, and frankly, somebody else someday will be my CTO.

Whoever you are, you lucky dog, it comes with a seat on the Board of Directors.

Anyway, back to the story -- I told this individual with this design idea how great and viable the idea was, and, if he ever built it, I would surely be favorably dispositioned to some sort of cross brand marketing strategy for the game.

All that being said, I come back to the idea that a whole bunch of are thinking along the same lines design wise, and probably holding our best ideas closest to our chest and only share with trusted parties for development purposes, just like any pro in any area of IP development.

You see all the times in the forum people running general game designs for MMORPG's and other stuff by the community, and you see great insight and suggestion amongst the membership. Yet the consistency in design approach, and the style and technique input by member feedback just keeps tugging at the back of my brain we all have a great deal of market sensitivity, mostly because we all want our games to sell well, and we need a creative design fascinating, enjoyable and challenging enough, as well as competitive enough, to put all these efforts into building and releasing it.

This consistency in mind reminds me that there is perhaps more opportunity for collaberation on projects between members than perhaps already exists, simple because so many things are consistent in suggested design approaches.

Well, I suspect the reason that there is not is because some of the projects engaged in by members together are already in development, and schedules are full, or, competition is healthy amongst the members who while community members now, and in the early stages of development, always wonder in the back of their minds if they will be competitors one day, and that may restrict the degree or amount of collaberation.

I can't put to much stock in the competition, because even if you and I were working on something almost exactly the same, before we got to that point we would have executed legal protections with each other for our IP to allay worries about competitive moves later, because signed agreements legally have to be honored, but I do know more people familiar with a particular entertainment type and the successful models in it would know what to work towards design wise as proven market succeeder, and the chances of having the same idea be so consistent with genre construct that there would be very few details about two similar designs that would be inconsistent.

In fact, I once had a budding writer tell me a story about his approach to a science fiction short story concerning supernovas, that would have been on less level of evolution (in the sense of physics effecting the story world) than one I had published five years earlier.

This writer had a lot of ego invested in their idea, and when I listened to the story, and related my same idea an evolutionary scale higher, they were crestfallen, and was so wierded about it that they ended up leaving town because their dream of writing greatness seemingly was quashed by the single relation of a tale better than theirs.

I thought this was overreacting, but people hold creativity in some sort of emotional view a lot, and it effects their direct ability to collaberate, or in this case,
their ability to take parts of their idea similar to another's and test for improvement. This is the constructive criticism side of creativity that can send you back to the drawing board with an improvement you were greatful not to have to produce on your own, or make you rethink some significant detail or technique.

Either way, you grow as a collaberator and an artist, and, even though we are in a very competitive industry, knowing just what the next blockbuster will do and the job necessary to build one, well, I am not sure what the community will do to improve what could be a major competitive advantage.

After all, we are the largest independent game development community online, and more organized, could have much larger effect on the industry as a whole. Food for thought.

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