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What Is Your Game Design Technique?

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What Is Your Game Design Technique?

 

I am making a game (like most of you) and want to know what is the best way to design a game. What to start with and how to end it.

 

I just need a simple

 

Step 1) Pre-Production Faze

 

1A)Concept the idea, write down ideas and do some sketches.

 

1B)Write a game design document

 

1C)Write a tech document

 

Step 2) Prototype etc......

 

I have a team of 7 (programmers, artists, animatiors etc) And I want to make sure we are working on the project as best as we can. This is a first time for myself and the team so any detailed help comes a long way!

 

Thanks biggrin.png

 

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I would also prototype first. I'm not a big fan of big formal GDDs unless they are straight-to-the-point. Most hobbyists I've seen put too much nitty-gritty and too little context so that the GDD feels like a specification requirements but doesn't do a good job at telling the reader what the game should be.

A prototype can do so much more, and if possible, iterative development prevents you from having to stick to a GDD and simply use common sense week after week to implement the right things.

 

This may not work on a larger scope project however.

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Waterfall or agile? That's the first thing to decide :)

Tip: Agile is the correct one.

 

Next, how many times you have failed already? It changes things, unless you are overgod (there are some people like that), you will fail several first projects. So for first time failure the critical part is a strict deadline (if you are pressed on time), since you want to fail fast, early and a lot (on the other hand going on with a long project doomed to failure gives you some additional experience). After you finished your first game you can give yourself some more slack (but not too much :D).

Basicly, determine your time budget, this is the most important aspect that will affect the whole design process.

 

Next, get a decent solid idea before you start (it's highly recommend to talk about it with others - not your team). You don't want to invent core features after you started the project (I make this mistake over and over again and always pay for it :D So, don't be like me :)).

 

Then determine your financial budget (how much money you are willing to put into it before you get any sales - if that's your first project set it at "0" :)).

 

 

Once these are covered I start the project:

 

1) I write down all core design goals and explanation of some mechanics (not all). Also I research the "marketing" part (who will play my game, track appropriate forums, websites of that genre, fan groups, etc).

2) Then I decide on release date (extremelly important!) and the price.

3) Then I make a prototype.

4) If prototype is good I proceed, if not the project is scrapped.

5) I decide on some sort of overall shedule, at least the milestones like alpha, beta, crowdfunding/greenlight (if needed/planned), final release, etc. Also look for contractors (artists in my case).

6) Then I make the game (if lucky :D) adjusting it/redoing as needed.

7) If the game was not cancelled by now I do the release (and all alpha/beta/whatever). And... go on vacations :D

8) Then, after release I end up in a hell, bug fixing, missing urgent features, etc, etc. All the usual pile of stuff that pop up after you thought you made the game.

9) After like 6 months it all calms down and I only maintain the game and can proceed with another one.

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Setting the release date before having a prototype that proves your fun seems a bit illogical... one would assume you'd make a prototype, assess the fun, and then set up a schedule.

Arguably, you should have a timeline for your mvp and for your prototype as well. Possibly many other milestones (I particularly like the vertical slice, even though it may not apply evenly to all project types).

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But if you have no release date how do you know how many features you can put into the game? Or what genre you can afford to make? You need to know first if you will be doing the game 10 years or 2 weeks :)

Besides, what's the point of making a prototype that you later asses it would take too long for you to finish and you can't afford?

 

It does not matter if my prototype of a World of Warcraft clone is fun or not if I have nowhere near resources to make that kind of game :)

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No documents. No documents

 

We have a solid general idea of what the core gameplay goal is. Early on, this can shift and adjust and tweak every week or two. And then every month or two as prototypes crystallize, it's all about playing them with a very harsh judgement, and deciding what is or isn't fun. It's completely iterative, and we never quite know where the game will wind up. But on paper designs do nothing for me.

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Waterfall or agile? That's the first thing to decide

 

if you think about it, is waterfall even really possible in game development?

 

stuff (hardware, techniques, etc) changes so fast, and game designs change so often that i'm not sure its even possible to simply design, it type it in, debug it, profile and optimize, then release. being a development method originally developed for applications, not games, waterfall doesn't include playtesting and balancing in the process, a step which is not required in applications, but almost definitely required for games (unless you're making a chess clone or something).

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But if you have no release date how do you know how many features you can put into the game? Or what genre you can afford to make? You need to know first if you will be doing the game 10 years or 2 weeks
Besides, what's the point of making a prototype that you later asses it would take too long for you to finish and you can't afford?
 
It does not matter if my prototype of a World of Warcraft clone is fun or not if I have nowhere near resources to make that kind of game

 

i figure out that kind of stuff before i prototype. 

 

i start with a game idea. 

then a feature list.

then comes:

"ok, how long will this take?"     (time required)

"whats the market?"                  (popularity)

"how much would it go for?"       (price)

"how much might i make?"         (expected sales)

"is it worth it?"                           (time required vs expected sales)

 

i actually very seldom prototype things, only when its something new and untried, and i'm not relatively sure about it. and that only comes after i have a game idea, a feature list, an idea how long it would take, and it looks like it might sell well enough to be worth making.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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