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makuto

Discovering What Games I Want to Make

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I'm participating in One Game a Month and have been learning a lot about game development because of it. Ever since October of last year I've finished seven games, five of which I see in a positive light and one that won first in a game design competition.

 

The problem that I'm facing (and have faced on all of my games) is that I'm never very motivated by the design. I'm designing games that I think will please the crowd and will fit in my ruthless schedule, not games that I will personally enjoy.

 

How do I begin designing & developing games for me, not for others (or do I always have to keep others' opinions in mind)? How do I find the game I want to develop?

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I'm designing games that I think will please the crowd and will fit in my ruthless schedule, not games that I will personally enjoy.

That's more natural than the other way around. A lot of games either require, that you learn to play it or that you explore it. When developing a game, you more or less learn and explore it upfront, therefor you often will not really enjoy playing your game yourself.

 

Though there are some game types which might be more suited for this task. Challenging, competitive, or sandbox games, where you don't learn too much while developing it, might be more suiteable smile.png

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Don't you ever find yourself in a position where you like some game and look for a sequel or another one that would have the same kind of gameplay, but there just isn't one? You love the gameplay and atmosphere but you just don't find new similar stuff to play?

 

Have you ever stopped to wonder visual beauty of a game and wish you could make something like that yourself?

 

Ever fallen in love with or got really furious at a game character adventuring through the game? Some games manage to build extreme emotional connections with the players.

 

These are some of the stuff that drives many people to develop games. (Almost) cloning some of the stuff they can't get enough of.

 

One of the most common mistakes however is to try and squish everything together making the game idea too big to be feasible. Like trying to mash together Final Fantasy, Zelda and WoW, make that a multiplayer sandbox and work on that as a solo project. Although when you work solo the story games are always hard no matter how little you aim for. But they are the most meaningful to myself.

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I'm designing games that I think will please the crowd and will fit in my ruthless schedule, not games that I will personally enjoy.

That's more natural than the other way around. A lot of games either require, that you learn to play it or that you explore it. When developing a game, you more or less learn and explore it upfront, therefor you often will not really enjoy playing your game yourself.

 

Though there are some game types which might be more suited for this task. Challenging, competitive, or sandbox games, where you don't learn too much while developing it, might be more suiteable smile.png

 

I don't really mean want to play them. I mean games that are enjoyable for me to design. Thanks for the tips!

 

Don't you ever find yourself in a position where you like some game and look for a sequel or another one that would have the same kind of gameplay, but there just isn't one? You love the gameplay and atmosphere but you just don't find new similar stuff to play?

 

Have you ever stopped to wonder visual beauty of a game and wish you could make something like that yourself?

 

Ever fallen in love with or got really furious at a game character adventuring through the game? Some games manage to build extreme emotional connections with the players.

 

These are some of the stuff that drives many people to develop games. (Almost) cloning some of the stuff they can't get enough of.

 

One of the most common mistakes however is to try and squish everything together making the game idea too big to be feasible. Like trying to mash together Final Fantasy, Zelda and WoW, make that a multiplayer sandbox and work on that as a solo project. Although when you work solo the story games are always hard no matter how little you aim for. But they are the most meaningful to myself.

So you're saying get inspiration from games that I enjoy?

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So you're saying get inspiration from games that I enjoy?
Well, isn't it the best approach? I mean, isn't it better to get ideas from a game you like, than from a game you don't? ;-P

 

I would first narrow it down to a genre. Which genre you play the most?

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So you're saying get inspiration from games that I enjoy?
Well, isn't it the best approach? I mean, isn't it better to get ideas from a game you like, than from a game you don't? ;-P

 

I would first narrow it down to a genre. Which genre you play the most

Wont that really narrow my mind and creativity? I'm not really the kind of person who wants to make shooters, RPGs, etc. Sure, I can draw from them, but I don't really like such categorization.

 

I was thinking about focusing on my favorite aesthetics (as in MDA aesthetics), but it's hard to do this as well.

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So you know you want to make games, but don't know what kind of game you want to make?

You belong to a small club, my friend.

Most people I know have a dream Magnus Opus that they want to see get made. (I'm no exception!)

If you don't have a Grand Dream to fulfill, then yes, I can see how it would be difficult to find the path you need to take.

 

Your original post reveals to me that you don't actually enjoy the overall game design process.

If you are winning awards, then there is a talent, but if you don't really enjoy it, then what's the point?

If you do enjoy design, but not all of it, then yes, focus on the element you like.

Share with us what gives you the warm fuzzy feeling of success when designing a game.

What feeling do YOU want to experience while designing a game?

Why are you making games in the first place?

What do you hope to accomplish by making games?

(Serious questions, not trying to be a jerk.  Voice tone and inflections are lost in text.)

I feel most rewarded when I add code/mechanics that end up doing things I did not expect (pleasant, emergent surprises). Obviously, this is kind of a tough thing to get. I also feel rewarded just by ending up with a game that was very similar to the original idea, and having people compliment me. When code creates things that are beautiful and that I didn't fully predict, that is what I love the most. If I can work on games that have lots of opportunities to experiment, I think I will be a lot more satisfied.

 

Why I'm making games in the first place is a tough question! I think I began with the desire to create worlds that follow my rules. Being the god of a digital world is very appealing. Realizing ideas is also pretty appealing. It's been four years since I started, and programming has taken hold of most of my time and effort, so I have a lot less time to ponder new designs and a lot less confidence. I'm afraid to take risks because I've failed many times, so I play it pretty safe to get something out there. I program more than I design, so I shoot lots of my ideas down because of scale or difficulty of implementation. It's very discouraging to be a reasonable developer!

 

I suppose I should figure out what my Grand Dream is, as it will give me a lot of direction, which I believe I am running low on at this point.

Thanks for the good questions! I've learned a lot about myself just by answering them!

Edited by makuto

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Simulation or strategy games sound like a good fit.

 

The care there is to keep an overall balance in the game, which I think the best way to do this is to have very few limitations. Having anything be more powerful than another will make certain styles of play better than others. You should aim to get that the skill of the player and preparation by said player (and a little luck) yo be a deciding factor for success versus failure. If coding AI, it's my thought that emergent behavior comes from adding small actions to individual AI objects without designing with the other in mind.

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Simulation or strategy games sound like a good fit.

 

The care there is to keep an overall balance in the game, which I think the best way to do this is to have very few limitations. Having anything be more powerful than another will make certain styles of play better than others. You should aim to get that the skill of the player and preparation by said player (and a little luck) yo be a deciding factor for success versus failure. If coding AI, it's my thought that emergent behavior comes from adding small actions to individual AI objects without designing with the other in mind.

Those are probably the two genres (especially strategy) that I'm interested in the least smile.png, but I see where you're coming from with those suggestions.

 

I understand balance, and I don't really think that's what will make design more enjoyable smile.png

Edited by makuto

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