In most studios (at least in my experience), early game concept and a lot of game design work is done in disconnected tools (wikis, excel, mindmaps, etc) which make it very hard to organize things, especially when working in a team. I did a bit of research to see whether dedicated tools are available but was not able to come up with much...
Having the same issues at our studio, I have started to design a tool specifically for game design / conceptualization in my off-time. Ideally, the tool would used as a 'hub' from the first idea through to post-launch expansions. It should integrate with a chosen game engine (where sensible) and other production tools.
I got a lot of encouraging feedback from the team and some other studios and am now considering turning this into a full-featured product.
Here's a high-level 'teaser' of the functionality I have in mind for the tool:
- World design: setting, plot, world concepts, factions, etc
- Narrative: setting, plot, events, dialogue, character journeys, etc
- Entities (Characters, NPCs, Mobs, etc): definition, stats, progression systems
- Items: Item definition, item stats, item progression, enchantments, etc
- Buffs: Temporary char / item stats changes
- Crafting: crafting & material systems, progression, stats
- Level design: sketching & interconnecting level maps in 2D (what about 3d?) with hotspots, item links, etc
- Gameflow: Tracking of stats & variables through a journey of a character (simulation of possible journeys, based on player choices)
- Balancing: Stats simulation and analysis to iron-out any stats peaks (e.g. checking DPS of potential character builds with certain items & buffs, etc)
It will be a highly visual tool and I would like to put a lot of emphasis on usability and reduction of complexity, e.g. through smart infographics. The system will also have a strongly-defined underlying structure (imagine a simple form of an ontology) which allows me to do analysis runs on almost anything in the system.
Now its your turn:
What do you think about such a tool? Would it be useful to you? What would you like to see, i.e. what would be important to you in such a tool?
Let me know what you think!