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I have a design. What now?

9 posts in this topic

I own a game development company... that has never made a game!


    Up until now, we have done very well in getting a design document made, working on conceptual art, and basic design and nothing else. I have a very creative team that is very experienced in the design stage of game - development, and the fruit of this team's actions was a beautifully designed game (some concept art can be found here at the bottom of this page). While coming out of the design stage, we hit a snag with our project.


   Our snag was none of us had any knowledge of how to make a game! We knew a few things:


1. Someone with experience in design would need to be hired eventually.

2. The project will be mostly funded by crowdsource funding.

3. In order to be successful in said crowdsource funding, we were going to need to build a convincing prototype in just a few months, and we had a private investor who was going to fund it.

4. Whoever was to fill this position needed to know alot, and lead the team through development.


So after a little research, I decided it was best to hire a Software Engineer to build the team, decide on engines, decide on languages, and oversee the production of the game. So I did. I put up a post on both Linkedin and Gamasutra for the position. (which can be viewed here). A problem we encountered with a few of the applicants was that they didn't want to work on a project and make all of the decisions. They all wanted to make as little decisions as possible and be told what they needed to do.


     So now I have been stuck for about 3 weeks, and can't seem to find an answer as to what our team needs to do in order to get the ball rolling. We do not want to hire some firm, and we want the project to really live up to its full creative potential. This whole matter is really taking a toll on our project monetarily. Any help we could get would be greatly appreciated, and we hope to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.


Thank you Gamedev.net and your community,


-- Will R. CEO and founder of Scaevitas.







Edited by Wthrwthr

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Design is good(be it art, map design, graphical user interface, maybe even something technical like how monsters behavior or sound design) but your initial design is bound to change. What you initially plan might be different from the final product.


You really need the prototype of the game to be up and running to get a sense of what not only looks good but also plays well. If the controls and user experience don't match, it can hurt the game. Having a prototype also tells you what is technically possible and not depending on what technology you are working with.


With some game companies closing down, I'm sure there will a software engineer looking for this position.


Good luck with the prototype! 

Edited by warnexus

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You started a Game Studio without anyone who had ever made a game or done any work surrounding game creation?


Are you completely sure you're ready for this tongue.png?


You can either have your team learn to program in a language and library, or hire some programmers. The former is almost impossible, and the latter is very expensive (For good programmers whose code won't fall apart later in development).


Before you hire any programmers, however, make a prototype. If you have (an) artist(s), you should be able to create a prototype in Construct Two relatively easily (If it's Two-Dimensional). If its Three-Dimensional your programmer costs will be far more, and prototyping will be far harder, so I can't recommend any programs.


I hope your game turns out great, I can't wait to try it!


Cheers smile.png!

Edited by superman3275

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Making an indie game without having heavy technical expertise in the matter is very tough.  I would suggest consulting with a highly technical person ASAP for guidance on this matter.


I know someone who made a similar attempt through outside contracting.  (They put together the design docs and graphical assets, and contracted elsewhere music and sound.)  His product eventually did complete and ship, and the game was okay and made a few sales, but overall it was a huge financial failure.  Between his inexperience in marketing the product and the un-inventive gameplay mechanics, the product simply was not set up to go anywhere.  After the fact, I'm sure he learned a great deal about the overall process, but he wasn't building on the most important skill in this medium, building/programming games!  


The technical aspect of games cannot be an afterthought, it's core to the medium.  Designing good mechanics and dynamics without being able to throw together a prototype is as flimsy a concept as a programmer with no artistic capacity with a mental "image" of an epic dragon.  At best, in either scenario, you can point to an existing thing and say "I want it kind of like that."


So, to address your question, I'm not sure how you should go about solving your issues, but note that your team is dramatically handicapped without a strong technical lead driving a non-trivial portion of the game's direction and design.  


And an additional note: the proposition of being able to implement a completed design without creative input would be off-putting to a lot people who have the capacity to solve the problems you face.


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Sorry to say it, but that's a pretty bad way to go about getting a game made... if no one on your team is a programmer, how do you know the design isn't entirely unrealistic to implement?


I always say, don't involve other people until you're far enough into the production that it will actually feel like things are moving along right away, so you don't get into the situation where the whole team is stuck waiting on one person to do a ton of work. Exception for 2 person teams where one is the programmer and the other is the designer/artist, since not all programmers are also designers, and at least it's only one person waiting at most. But it sounds like you have several creative people already gathered up, and even if you do wrangle a programmer into making the whole thing, it'll most likely take long enough that a few of the current team will have wandered off before it really starts to look like something.


Also, what exactly do you mean by design? Just a story? Or game mechanics, enemies, items, attacks, map layouts, etc.?


IMHO, if none of your team has any experience working on games, it would be a bad idea to involve money in the project. Much better to focus on building your skills in your free time. If no one on your team wants to learn programming, then look for programmers who need artists. Work on their games, to get some experience with how the development process goes, and learn how programmers behave :) And if you're lucky, you might get someone who would be willing to work on your game after completing their own. Or at least provide wisdom, and possibly connections with other programmers.


But designers who know a thing or two about programming are very good to have around, so it would be better if as many of your current team as possible start studying programming. That way you have a solid goal to work toward, and a common interest to sustain your team bonds for the months/years until you're ready to make an attempt at your big game.


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I had generally approached things from pretty much entirely the opposite direction:
throwing stuff together, and figuring out what to do with it after-the-fact (using it to throw more things together, ...).

whether or not it is "good" is another issue though.

just, usually, I am not too much a person for up-front planning, or far-reaching design, and have personally generally had bad results trying to do so (what things I have tried to design up-front, have rarely turned out well, usually over-complicated, taking too much effort to implement, and turning out to be nowhere near as good as originally imagined, ...).

meanwhile, if a person has something which works, they can be like: "ok, I have this thing, now what can I do with it?". then pretty much all "planning" can then be based on what works more based on experience and feedback, and trying things out to see how well they work out (both in design and implementation), ... and generally making it all up as they go along (and follow the "feel" of where things seem to be headed).

but, this is one of those things that cause a lot of people to get all judgmental or condescending, basically them feeling this is the "wrong" way to do things, ... or seem to think that I am prescribing this particular approach to problem-solving as "better" or as some sort of absolute requirement or something (which, actually, itself seems like kind of a strange idea, like "why?").

it is like, I make no claims that people can't plan things if they want.
if people can make planning work for them, they can go right on ahead and do so.

not that it helps much, but a few thought:
finding programmers and a decent game engine couldn't hurt...
then maybe try to get a prototype working.

probably can't do a whole lot otherwise.

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I read your post, and tried to figure out why the hell can't you find good programmers. There's a lot of them out there, and it shouldn't be a problem to find a good one, with experince, willing to lead your development team.

And then I read your job offer...


I'm not from the US, so I have no idea how much is considered high salary for developers, but your offer 1000-4000$ - sounds very low for that kind of job. It's not surprising that you can't find what you're looking for - you're not willing to pay for the right type of guy. You said that your applicants "all wanted to make as little decisions as possible and be told what they needed to do."

Seems reasonable considering what you're paying. In my opinion - double the pay. You'll find better programmers / developers willing to take on the challange.


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Maybe there's a bit of confusion. We have programmers, but not people who are dedicated to Programming as a sole job at our company. Our design has been proffessionally done by people who have worked on games before, both simple and complex. Thank you all for the replies and guidance!

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Oh, and also to clarify, by design we mean a full ~200 page design document that is extremely detailed, as well as concept art.

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Our design has been proffessionally done by people who have worked on games before, both simple and complex.


That's pretty impressive for a young guy like yourself, I wish you good luck and hope you keep us posted!


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