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I am starting my first serious game in a LONG time and would like help in remembering and setting up my workflow.  I have an outline of my idea and have chosen two engines to test for best function.  I am refreshing my programming skills.  What I need now is some help deciding what to do first, then next, etc.  Initially it will be a two person work group with my wife as the resident artist (although I think I will be buying sprites and world art to speed things up).  I will be doing the heavy lifting as programmer and project manager.  HELP!!! and thank you in advance.

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I understood workflow in game design to be different then other programming tasks.  If not appropriate here then where?  Also I apologize.  I did not know I was in Business>Production and Management but now that I do work flow seems to me to be appropriate to the forum. Please enlighten me.

Edited by MagicMike
I found more information

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Actually I did a lot of research on "Where to start" a while ago, it's a common question. The info was gathered by chatting with developers and looking and postmortems of games.

Starting at the start:



This way the developer starts from the start menu of the game. Working the way up as the player would play the game.

+ It is ordered and smooth going. Things are planned as needed and the game can be tested as it is made. Recommended for new developers.

- Your code needs to be near perfect or you can't add to it later. Many developers complain that it is often easier to just add new things like tutorials as complete separate parts instead of merging it with the game.



Star by designing the level structure:



This is something that a lot of casual game developers use. Because small games have to be smooth and don't need to stream data all the time, there developers often use a lot simpler level systems.

You start by designing the "Scene" or "Level" class.

+ Starting with the level design allows for custom levels that is easy to make. This workflow is recommended for people who want 50 or more levels.

Difficulty curves are very easy to design this way.

- Very inflexible system, so everything should have been planned before production.



Start by prototype:



Most of the time the developer starts with a mechanic they feel is important to the game, makes a prototype and merges it with the main game.

This appears to be the most used.

+ Because each part is designed on it's own and well tested you get very high quality. The system is very flexible with mechanics added and removed as needed.

Very little planing is needed to get started.

- Slow production time. If something goes wrong with the main loops you have to rework a lot. Disjointed workflow that often has developers forgetting what each part does.



Start by problem solving:



The developer looks at the game as a problem, with a end goal in mind, then starts making the parts needed to reach the end goal.

This is what most experience developers use, they are so use to making games that they know exactly what is needed where. Like building a puzzle with the final image in hand.

+ Problems stand out as they are things the developer is inexperienced with. Fast development time with a good quality. Often the developer can make lists of things to do, allowing clear goals for each day.

- Takes years of experience.



I couldn't do each topic justice in a small post, I hope this is clear.


The truth is there is no real way to start a game. Every developer does there own thing and often starts different games different. Games is too complex to have a by the book way of starting them.

Often the best is just to start and don't think about it, let you instincts guide you.


A design document allows you to keep things ordered.

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Thank you Scouting Ninja. That is the kind of help I needed.  To be truthful this is my first attempt at a complete project as I only did my little section (except for a user interface job) of the programming.  Now I have to plan the work so I can work the plan.  I will be looking at all your references and many more as this is not the only forum I am joining.  I don't know if you can see the post from Tom, our moderator, But it seemed odd and not helpful.  Thanks again.

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3 hours ago, MagicMike said:

I understood workflow in game design to be different then other programming tasks.  If not appropriate here then where?  Also I apologize.  I did not know I was in Business>Production and Management but now that I do work flow seems to me to be appropriate to the forum. Please enlighten me.

I think you're unfamiliar with what we mean by "game design." Game design is a subset of game development. Programming is a subset of game development. Programming is not a subset of game design. 

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2 hours ago, MagicMike said:

the post from Tom, our moderator, But it seemed odd and not helpful.

It isn't that the moderator is unfriendly, the exact opposite in fact.:) The moderators give that message to show that the post has moved, it isn't part of the topic. It is only so you know why and that it did move. There is no penalty for it.

It's also not uncommon for moderators to not answer these questions that get asked hundreds of times. However from personal experience I know they answer topics that have been left unanswered for a few hours.

They also answer the difficult topics, leaving these smaller open discussion topics for the community.

4 hours ago, MagicMike said:

If not appropriate here then where? 

The rule of thumb for the game design forum is that if you use the word "design" it probably belongs there. For example: "I was working on this level design..."

Some of the topics are difficult to place, so they get moved around a bit.


The reason it works like this is because people browse topics they like and can help with. For example I am a artist, so I check the art forum each day. I don't check the Business forum because I have little advice to give there.

Your topic gets moved to the people who can best answer it. The people who post are in fact trying to help you.


The beginners forum also has a unspoken rule to be extra friendly to the poster, so if you have a difficult topic that you fear you know nothing about, that is a safe place to post it.

The Critique and Feedback forum is about honesty above all else; or at least it should be.


2 hours ago, MagicMike said:

To be truthful this is my first attempt at a complete project as I only did my little section (except for a user interface job) of the programming.

It's good that your working to finish a project, it's something all developers should aim to do first.

Once you make that first game from start to end, everything starts to go easier. Making a small puzzle game is often the easiest or a remake of a retro game.

2 hours ago, MagicMike said:

I will be looking at all your references and many more

There is lots of developers who posts postmortems on there games in the blogs, they make for great reads and they can be goldmines of information.


Welcome to the community, this is a place for sharing knowledge so don't be afraid to respond to posts.:D

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I understand why we have moderators, and I did have a different more encompassing meaning for game design.  My complaint was because I was given notice of the move with scant reason and no indication of where it was moved.  When people ask for help of course we do not know what we should.  Please educate us first and scold us second.

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