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Medovej

Exercise from Tracy Fullerton's Game Design Workshop book

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Good day to everyone! Recently I started reading and doing exercises from book mentioned in the description. I'm now in fourth chapter and I have done every exercise possible. However, I struggle with one exercise from first chapter. It's called Game Journal and this is its desription:
<Start a game journal. Try to describe not just the features of the game, but dig deeply into the choices you made, what you thought and felt about those choices, and the underlying game mechanics that support those choices. Go into detail; look for the reasons why various mechanics of the game exist. Analyze why one moment of gameplay stands out and not another. Commit to writing in your game journal every day.>
My main problem is that that I don't know if I have to describe whole game in detail like some kind of desing document (which is insane to write something that long everyday) or if I just have to write down little by little, what I have come across in the game. I really want to do this exercise every day but I don't know how to handle it. I'm asking you for your opinion or advice?

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I'd personally aim for 1 hour or steady writing or 1,000 words.  I haven't done a journal, specifically, but I have done a written analysis of games after playing them.  Most games can't be played in a single day, although you could take notes each day and then organize them into an analysis at the end.  I use a format like this:

 

Brief outline of the story and a few sentences about each major character.  If the story is interactive, some choices and feelings will be in this section.

 

List of gameplay types/features (mechanics), a few sentences describing each one including the types of fun associated with that.  (this includes the part about moments of gameplay that stand out in a good way, choices and feelings that aren't story-related)

 

If there were any specific interesting puzzles or locations or quests that I want to remember later, describe those.

 

What changes do I feel would have improved this game?  Are there any problems it had that I don't have a proposed solution for?  (moments of gameplay that stand out in a bad way)  Any interesting comparisons to be made to similar games?

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I've basically learned to write down my train of thought while I work on a project. This can include writing out ideas and observations, various decisions or thought processes that explain why code works the way it does or it can be about design choices or various tasks that I want to look at for the next while. I find it particularly helpful for when I go off on a tangent dealing with one thing that I found while working on another thing that was a necessary change to implement the new feature that I really wanted to focus on. It also allows me to comment my code with just the current date which then allows me to look up the larger relevant note if I need to without cluttering my code

However, I've gotten so used to just writing my train of thought all in one place that it's actually a bit tricky to stay organized when trying to keep descriptions of various game elements. I have to remind myself that I want to update the notes in a completely different file. The wiki software I use to keep my notes in makes it a simple enough matter to do, I just don't bother most of the time.

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Medovej, you aren't describing a game in this exercise. You're playing a game (any game), and you're
describing the experience from your point of view. You, the gamer, not you, the designer. A designer
needs to understand and sympathize with the user's experience. You do not need to assume that the
reader of your journal knows everything about the game you played. You can also do this for the process
of designing your own game, but as I interpret it, the point is to analyze a game as you play it.

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Looks like I totally misread the original post (to the point it looks like I didn't read it). Sorry about that.

What actually ends up in your journal is going to depend on what you want to focus on at the particular time that you're writing in it. Maybe you want to focus on mechanics and elements, maybe UI, maybe story, or maybe stuff that'd be interesting from a marketing perspective. It's also going to depend on whether you're playing one long RPG or multiple pick-up & put down games. Whatever it is that you write, you should make sure that you write what is going to be the most useful to you (assuming that you are your sole audience member).

Awhile back I posted a few "reviews" or thoughts on some assorted flash games I was playing at the time. I made a point of keeping each entry short with one paragraph describing the game and then whether I'd play the game again and why (you'll probably want to go into more detail than that). Mostly I think I was just looking for an excuse to post something in my journal here but I found it interesting looking at a game and trying to identify some of the details that appealed to me. I liked trying to be aware of what it was about the game that got my attention in the first place and what it was that flipped the switch in my brain to actually download it. I would also try to note what, if anything, hooked me into continuing playing the game or otherwise turned me off.

Journal Entry

Journal Entry

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