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Endar

Design steps

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Can someone give me a bunch of steps from the conception of a game idea, to the end (final) design? For example, you get an idea, then work out the back story, characters, levels/areas, etc, design document, dialogue, etc ... Is there a sequence that you find yourself following, or is it really, in whatever order you find comfortable?

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I let the idea sit in my head. Eventually more inspiration comes, the idea is fleshed out story-wise, character-wise and all that, and eventually I have enough so that the rest of the details can be filled in with relative ease. I never force myself to try to come up with something good, though.
Of course, watching movies/reading books/playing games to try and inspire yourself isn't always a bad idea either, just so long as you don't end up taking too much inspiration...

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1° Have an initial idea, with a handful of details.
2° Prototype, test, determine what is fun and what isn't. Remove unfun details.
3° Go to 1°, enlarging or rewriting the prototype every single time.

By the time you've iterated this four or five times, you should have reached a fairly consistent set of ideas. This marks the end of the alpha stage and the beginning of the beta. Then, I follow the steps below:

4° Scrap the prototype, rewrite the program from scratch, salvaging algorithms but not code. Naturally, libraries (created from refactoring the prototype as part of agile programming) can be reused. Levels may be kept, if thought to be successful.
5° While rewriting, incorporate statistical analysis features that record how the player plays the game, for ulterior gameplay analysis.
6° Perform a beta-test: have testers play (without you looking over your shoulder) to detect bugs and record stats about how the game is played. Determine which levels they like, which features they like, what they tried but didn't work (but would have been fun).
7° Using the knowledge from step 6, alter minor features of the game (no major features!), create or modify levels, change the story to take the new elements into account, and so on. Then, repeat step 6.

Once all your testers are happy, move on to gold and publish the game.

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-Start with an idea
-Go on word and start making a informal DD.
-As time progresses improve until you have something that you can prototype
-Prototype probably w/o the computer (use dice for random #,Use minis for characters, etc.)
-Playtest with a friend
-Revise, Re-test,revise
-Real DD
-Bring in the crew

Right now on the game I'm working on I'm at step 3.

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I just got an idea and began building it up with purely original ideas. Keep a notebook and sketch down ideas to form a story. Always make sure the ideas can be used realistically in a game and program small prototypes to test tiny ideas out. Create the game engine and ToohrVyk said it perfectly. Keep learning and rewriting it over and over from scratch. Make sure it plays how you see it in your mind, if not then tweek it or rebuild it in the next version. Always program ideas and get your ideas on paper.

1. Get idea
2. build simple prototype
3. get more ideas
4. program another protype
5. repeat 2-4 as much as needed
6. set up final ideas in a DD
7. program the "final engine"
8. take time to think and rewrite
9. program the final engine as many times as possible

Depending on your level of experience some of those can be skipped. But from my experience you'll learn so much new stuff while working on the game (like programming and design strategies) you'll have to start over completely a lot. Make sure your idea is motivating or it can fall apart after a few months.

//edit:
Most important thing to note is that you shouldn't spend much time on the small details. Your bound to have time to think of that stuff while programming, like level ideas or large plot concepts. Get the engine done and worry about the plot then.

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