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adscott1982

Formal Game Design Method?

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Hi, this is my first post on the forum. I have chosen Beginners rather than Game Design because this is a beginner's question.

Do you guys use a formal game design method, with a particular piece of software?

I have spent the last couple of months learning C# in conjunction with XNA, and while I am still very much a novice, I have gained an entry level understanding of Classes, Methods, Inheritance etc. in addition to many of the keywords. I can now look at code and understand what is going on very easily.

I want to start laying down a design for the game I want to make (to keep me inspired, it is hard going right now), but it is abundantly clear that while I understand how classes work, and how they fit together I HAVE NO IDEA on the best way to do it.

I am aware of UML, and have even downloaded a pretty professional looking application for it (Visual Paradigm for UML 8.0). I have read through some of the forum posts on here though and it appears that a lot of you professional developers recognize UML as a pretty neat idea but don't tend to use it yourselves.

In that case what do you use? Does it simply go down on paper? Do you present the classes in a similar way to UML?

Is there any software dedicated to the DESIGN of games? (I have googled like mad, but things like DarkBASIC and Game Maker come up instead)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

TL;DR - How do you design games?

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Generally no; formal design is good and it has it's place, but a game isn't the same as a financials package and sometimes a formal methodology can impose unwanted constraints when what you really need is a solution that works NOW. Having said that, there are concepts from formal methodologies that may be useful in the right place, so long as you're not slavishly religious about it.

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Andy, this thread is moved to Game Design because the discussion is all or mostly about game design.
When you want to ask a beginner programming question you can start a new thread in For Beginners.

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Andy, this thread is moved to Game Design because the discussion is all or mostly about game design.
When you want to ask a beginner programming question you can start a new thread in For Beginners.


Just an aside to you and the rest of the mods, Tom. For Beginners gets a lot of this, probably because beginners don't realize that its being under programming means it is For Beginners Programming questions. Maybe a name change to something like, "Beginners Programing" would work this out?




As for the question at hand, I think most designers write out ideas, but everyone is different. I personally find things very difficult to put into words, though that may be the best thing for it. Constraints though are double edged, sometimes a template to fill in can help you figure out what you need to type out, some times the template just isn't a good match, but then taking time to find one may not be the best use of your time, or maybe it is. :P

Though it isn't the most organized way of doing it, I think a wiki is a good tool for writing out your design. Each page links to anything related you want, most packages keep a version history automatically, you get access controls and locking if you are working on a team, its multimedia so you can paste in whatever you need, and you can keep it all online for safe retrieval and editing anywhere. I'll admit though, i'm no programer, don't know what UML is, and have yet to complete a game.

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Thanks for the advice Jas. A wiki is an interesting idea...

Tom's recommendation of writing a document in a Word Processor sounds like a good starting point. I actually did that a while ago in Google Docs for a game I was thnking of making. I wasn't aware of any framework for the document though, but I do now.

Strategy Game

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Just an aside to you and the rest of the mods, Tom. For Beginners gets a lot of this, probably because beginners don't realize that its being under programming means it is For Beginners Programming questions. Maybe a name change to something like, "Beginners Programing" would work this out?

The name of that forum is not under my control.

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During my tenure as a designer, before switching to production, I worked primarily with Word, Excel, and Visio for the creation of design documentation. Wikis are interesting, but there aren't that many studios who use them extensively for documentation, for a variety of reasons. If it better suites your needs though, there is no real reason for you not to. Work with the tools that make the most sense for YOU.

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