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How hard is Games Design? (Forums : Writing & Stories : How hard is Games Design?) Locked
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Feb 11 2013, 11:09am Anchor

A few years a go when I first started to get serious about programming my own game I thought this would be easy. I thought to myself I play games all the time. I would totally make the best game in the world. I will write up a games design document this week and release a game in a few months.

Obviously to any one that has been doing it for a serious length of time knows this is not true. Its so dam hard to get GOOD game concept written down. Sure your ideas sound great in your head, but trying to define the core mechanics of a game, into sound coherent written form is a nightmare. Its both fun, frustrating and just down right time consuming. No wonder so many people never make it to release.

Then you get the people that think that a games core elements don't even need to be defined, you can just make the game up as you go along. I am a firm believer that this is not true, sure the game changes over time, it evolves and the original idea is just a distant memory. But the core mechanics, the core elements stay the same throughout the life cycle of the project, and ultimately define what the game is about and what challenges the player faces.

In my eyes a game is a set of core mechanics and challenges, both of which are intertwined. The core mechanics define how the player interacts with the world and how the world offers feedback to the players input. Challenges come in many forums but follow a simple principle. A player is faced with a task, if he succeeds he is reworded, if he fails he is punished. An example of which could be anything from moment in a platformer, all the way up to collecting and moving items around to solve a puzzle, hell even a head shot.

What is my point here, to be honest I am not so sure any more. What I am really looking for here is to know what you guys and gals think about games design and the importance of writing a solid games design document. Or how do you go about creating games and getting your ideas out there. I can not be the only one faced with these issues.

Edited by: GamerKnight

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Update: 2011-06-04

We are still in need of some extra people to join the team. The most urgent of which is an animator.

We have created a new post recently with more up to date information on the project and what we have created so far:
Moddb.com

GamerKnight

Feb 14 2013, 5:58pm Anchor

Hi,

In some ways you are right and some ways you are wrong. I have worked in the IT industry for a few years and I have moved to designing my own game. The biggest surprise I found was that everyone is swears by this GDD, now I agree everything needs to be in written form, but why in the format of this document. So I tried to do this and the whole time I was like, this is bullsh*t.... The project failed due to consistent confusion because it was all referenced from this document. So have now taken my own approach, one that is more familiar to me. Ticketing and milestone tools via project management tools. What I mean by this is, that you write down each part of the document as a task or a job in a ticket, then you assign that to the person who is attacking that aspect, it is a way of tracking and recording parts of the project in a more ordered way then a standard GDD. Why I decided to approach it this way is because people designers working solely off a GDD tend to fall into the trap of micromanaging. As a designer who in most cases with indie games they are also the project managers and as an experienced project manager myself, you leave the tasks to your subject matter experts. All they need to know is what and they will create the how. They will then provide you with information of what they are doing and upload the details into either a development forum particular to the game or a wiki.

I implore you to use online tools more as this technology is available, investing in technology's such as this will greatly improve productivity with your team.

Good Luck!

Feb 15 2013, 5:43pm Anchor

Some great advice there with the ticketing system. it really helps keep track of what's going on. But personally, the best thing about tickets is the ability to see the project as a timeline. When a ticket was created, how long it took, what went wrong. It helps for estimating time frames for future tickets/projects.

You might be interested to know this thread moved to here:
Indiedb.com

Thanks a lot for sparing the time to write such a detailed and helpful response. I am a firm believer that indie development is about the community helping each other.

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Update: 2011-06-04

We are still in need of some extra people to join the team. The most urgent of which is an animator.

We have created a new post recently with more up to date information on the project and what we have created so far:
Moddb.com

GamerKnight

Feb 16 2013, 2:51pm Anchor

im not sharing my work.... copyright fears and what not, pardon me :D

But i've got a serious load of coherent game concept written out over the course of the last 15 years.


I know it aint easy. i've re-wrote all of it at least 11 times from scratch.


Though it gets better every time, alchemy is a long and painstakingly tedious process of refinement. this applies to all things in life. games are no different than novels movies or martial arts. it takes dedication and practice.

Fear not the programmer who can program 10,000 small things, but the programmer who has programmed one big thing 10,000 times.

Feb 16 2013, 4:30pm Anchor

I was going to write a nice, well-rounded post, yet lack of time got the better of me... again... So maybe next time. :rolleyes:

Anyway, just thought I'd drop these here in case somebody didn't see em. For reference sake, it has some very good points:

Edited by: AlexVSharp

Feb 16 2013, 6:47pm Anchor
AlexVSharp wrote:I was going to write a nice, well-rounded post, yet lack of time got the better of me... again... So maybe next time. :rolleyes:

Anyway, just thought I'd drop these here in case somebody didn't see em. For reference sake, it has some very good points:


Ah I remember this chap, "Extra Credits". From what I can remember he gives some solid advice for getting a games design off the ground.

--

Update: 2011-06-04

We are still in need of some extra people to join the team. The most urgent of which is an animator.

We have created a new post recently with more up to date information on the project and what we have created so far:
Moddb.com

GamerKnight

Feb 23 2013, 3:35pm Anchor

All my best ideas come from play testing.

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