Jump to content
  • Advertisement

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

henrikb

Open Game Design - dream or possibility?

This topic is 5743 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Lately I have thought a lot about something I call "Open Game Design". As the term implies it''s about trying to apply the same philosophies as "Open Source" does to software development but to computer game design. Having all interested parties take part in designing a game and thus applying a sort of "natural selection" to all ideas during the design process sounds like a promising concept to me. Or does it only work in theory? I recently set up a discussion board about this concept, using the design of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) as an example. So if any of you reading this thinks this sounds like a fun thing to discuss you are welcome to take a look at the forum. http://ogd.board.dk3.com/ Regards, Henrik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I would think that the phrase "no army run by committee has ever won a war" would apply here. A game has to have one person or _small_ team to direct the flow of effort. For certain, everyone should be able to offer suggestions or criticism, but someone (or a couple of people) have to have the authority to limit the feature creep. Nice idea as a theory, though.



ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by ShadeStorm
I would think that the phrase "no army run by committee has ever won a war" would apply here. A game has to have one person or _small_ team to direct the flow of effort. For certain, everyone should be able to offer suggestions or criticism, but someone (or a couple of people) have to have the authority to limit the feature creep. Nice idea as a theory, though.


That''s probably true, and my initiative does not exclude an organisation where there is a commander at the top who makes the important decisions. This is more or less how Linux development works, for example. A few dedicated people sit at the top and choses direction for the project as a whole, while the people below do most of the work.

To take your military analogue further, a top ranking general does not want to bother with the details on how to get food to his troops at the front - this is work for the lesser commanders. Game design is (should be) full of such "minor" tasks which still need a lot of work to get a good end result, isn''t it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:

Having all interested parties take part in designing a game and thus applying a sort of "natural selection" to all ideas during the design process sounds like a promising concept to me. Or does it only work in theory?



I think you answered your own question...how would your "natural selection" work? Is it possable for one memeber to convice others that thier ideas are better when it comes time to vote/decide what stays and what goes? And if one person/or group has the ability to control/influence this "natural selection"...then really, how truely open is the design process anyway?



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the problem you´re going to run into is that most game designers worth their salt who have enough free time to contribute to a big problem like that don´t want to spend time on "minor issues", besides, game design work is much harder to structure than say UI programming.... game design teams take a long time to form, and most design issues will influence a lot of other parts as well... the way I see it is that one or maybe two main designers could do the job, the rest of the team would just be supplying ideas for the chief designer to incorporate at his discretion.
Nonetheless, it´s an interesting idea to explore, although I believe that due to the large interdependancies a lot of effort will go to waste - and I´m not even talking about the problems coordinating a team via the net.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by MSW
I think you answered your own question...how would your "natural selection" work?

Hopefully time and peer review will do the job, i.e. if an idea survives for a long time, probably after being discussed quite thorougly, it''s probably a good idea.

quote:
Is it possable for one memeber to convice others that thier ideas are better when it comes time to vote/decide what stays and what goes?

A member should only "convice others" by argumenting his or her idea. This of course puts people with good language skills at an opportunity, but in an environment with open minded people, I think other members are willing to help "pushing" another persons ideas.

quote:
And if one person/or group has the ability to control/influence this "natural selection"...then really, how truely open is the design process anyway?

That person has no power over the natural selection process, but he or she might have the power to choose between two "equally good" "competing" ideas in order to get somewhere instead of argumenting between the two forever.

/Henrik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:
Original post by Hase
I think the problem you´re going to run into is that most game designers worth their salt who have enough free time to contribute to a big problem like that don´t want to spend time on "minor issues"

I think are quite a few people "worth their salt" who are not currently employed in the industry. Maybe because they have another job, but are interested in game design as a "spare time project", for example. As a comparison, I don''t think many Microsoft programmers are involved in the Open Source community, but that''s probably for better than for worse!

quote:
besides, game design work is much harder to structure than say UI programming.... game design teams take a long time to form, and most design issues will influence a lot of other parts as well... the way I see it is that one or maybe two main designers could do the job, the rest of the team would just be supplying ideas for the chief designer to incorporate at his discretion.

This is a very good point, and maybe that is how "Open Game Design" should work? Maybe it should vary between projects; some projects might require an autocrat as an leader while others will do well with a democratic leader.

quote:
Nonetheless, it´s an interesting idea to explore, although I believe that due to the large interdependancies a lot of effort will go to waste - and I´m not even talking about the problems coordinating a team via the net.

Oh, I don''t think coordinating a team via the net is that a big problem nowadays. Email, instant messaging, IP-telephony and other communication tools more or less eliminates the problems of a geographically separated team (judging from my own experiences).

/Henrik


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
quote:

To take your military analogue further, a top ranking general does not want to bother with the details on how to get food to his troops at the front - this is work for the lesser commanders. Game design is (should be) full of such "minor" tasks which still need a lot of work to get a good end result, isn''t it?



no, no, no...you are talking about management...not game design here...to any game designer worth thier wieght in gold...those "minor" tasks are just as important as the major ones...simply because the "minor" tasks are used to bring balance to the major ones.


The top ranking general still needs to qualify the ways in which food is delivered to his troops...does it set up some supply route that can be exploited by the enemy? does it boost troop morale to have a wide range of foods available? Am I in a posision in which this matters?...a general can trust his sub-commanders to take care of food supply...but this is management principals in action...the general still needs to decide if turning such tasks over to sub-commanders is worthwhile, as well as judgeing if they are doing a good job at it...but that is management...the general still has to concern himself with the issue.

a game design still must concern himself with the "minor" issues...does it contribute to the overall design, or is it useless no matter how cool it is? What effect does this have on other issues? Is there a better way to handle this? What limits will this impose on the game?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good points all, but I believe that most objections are valid. For one, most game designers are somewhat introverted, self-centered personalities (I know I´m overgeneralising, but hear me out) - by this I mean that most game designers have very clear beliefs about what works and what doesn´t. This doesn´t imply that they can´t be criticised, but once a designer is past the "we´re just tossing around ideas" point it is usally very hard to change his mind. So working on details between two people is a difficult process (nonetheless a very, very productive one), with more than three people involved this becomes nearly impossible.
The thing about "supplying ideas" might work, but just doing that is not the rewarding thign about gd, what most people want is for their ideas to be discussed, taken apart, examined and reassembled in an improved version. Feedback.

As for some of the ideas on reviews, I like the notion that all can be done in an open and democratic way, but that´s not the way it works. Not with the number of people you´re suggesting. Anythign more than three becomes unable to make deceisions, and if you put a dictator in power then a lot of the members may feel left out...

About the coordination issues: I know that working over great distances has become much easier, but when it comes to game design the best thing by a long shot is a room with a table and a flipchart. And by long shot I mean a really, really long shot.

@MSW:
I don´t think that all minor issues necessarily have an impact on the whole, at least if you´re at a point where the lead designer can give specifications about what´s to be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
@henrikb:

I´ve had a look at you board, while I still think that the idea might be useful, at least for gathering ideas, there are some problems there: First, your categories seem rather arbitrary and incomplete, mixing important issues with minor ones, there isn´t much of an overall structure... if you´re aiming at creating a GD you have to attempt to cover everything, in a structured way if possible. If you have worked out a structure for your chapters you´ll have a list of ingredients for a MMORPG. Then you can start filling in content.
Second, you have to distinguish between critical items and non-critical issues. For example, the topic about "boredom" is more of a general, philosophical or sociological question and does not belong within a GD.
Still it would be interesting to see where this thing goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!