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meeshoo

How I Design Games

7 posts in this topic

Great article!

 

I personally write down every single idea I get in a notebook, then wait a few days and think about it until I get serious about actually making the game. If the idea passes the original incubation period, I evaluate the idea's feasibility on the technical side of things. If I believe I have the skills to capture the idea in code, I make a prototype (optimally, in 1-2 days). At this point you truly figure out whether or not the idea is actually worth developing further.

 

Remember that the development of the game is what truly shapes it as it is very rare that your game will be exactly like the original idea (and if it is, you might actually be resisting beneficial revisions). Its extremely common to have the very same idea as many others, but almost impossible to have the same finished project at the end of the day.

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I totally agree, the ideas on paper are just the starting point. During prototype implementation you get to see what works and what doesn't and also new ideas may appear, derived from the initial game-play experience. I also like to have my prototypes tested by other friends (who I had to educate first about why the prototypes are buggy and don't look very good visually :) ) and I try to incorporate the ideas I get from them (the good ones of course) and see how they work.

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I think you worship ideas a bit too much. For example, I don't write down nor archive ideas at all, the premise is if I manage to forget about an idea it means it was not good enough.

 

What I miss in this article is your estimate which design process lead to a finished game and which was a waste of time. I think it would be the most interesting aspect of it.

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@Acharis - I consider writing another article about prototyping games, and that one will also contain the information you're asking for, as I don't consider the end result of a design process to be enough for such a decision.

 

As I understand from your statement, you pretty much skip the brainstorming process at all, just have an idea and start implementing a quick project to see how would work. I think that is a way of designing games  as valid as mine, except you might miss some ideas that come through brainstorming. Also there are ideas that keep bothering you (you cannot forget them) but in the end they turn out not to be good for a game, at least that is my experience.

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I think you worship ideas a bit too much. For example, I don't write down nor archive ideas at all, the premise is if I manage to forget about an idea it means it was not good enough.

This might be a detrimental thing because you might get more inspiration about the idea a few weeks later that greatly enhance it.

 

It's also good to see the general direction your ideas go (I have a mod-able trend currently) so you know what you desire out of all of the ideas. I've written down several ideas for games where the player starts with a blank slate and the community creates what they want with the game engine. This shows that I really want to play a game that is that open and expandable. Games like Minecraft and Half Life 2 are similar to this but the entry level for modding such games is much higher, whereas my idea would have modding practically in-game and intended.

 

Finding the game you truly desire to play is an oft-recommended formula for a good game, so watching how your repository of ideas changes over time could be a good way to find that game.

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I agree with the "pen and notebook". I guess it doesn't work for everyone, but at least for the way my brain maps ideas visually, pen and paper are very efficient. I have hard time putting the ideas into docs later. 

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I agree with the "pen and notebook". I guess it doesn't work for everyone, but at least for the way my brain maps ideas visually, pen and paper are very efficient. I have hard time putting the ideas into docs later. 

 

Yes, I often find that I cannot really think creatively while watching at a computer screen, there are so many distractions going on. Pen and notebook give you zero distractions while working.

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