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At night, while laying in bed attempting to grasp the realm of dreams, most individuals choose to pick up a novel, put in some earbuds, or simply stare at their ceiling with a blank and dumbfounded expression. I tend to travel a different route. I believe that I’ve discovered the finest way to pass time in the pre-sleep period: thinking about game ideas and design.

Posted by Sallycin on Mar 11th, 2008
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At night, while laying in bed attempting to grasp the realm of dreams, most individuals choose to pick up a novel, put in some earbuds, or simply stare at their ceiling with a blank and dumbfounded expression. I tend to travel a different route. I believe that I’ve discovered the finest way to pass time in the pre-sleep period: thinking about game ideas and design.

Do I ever go about working on the ideas I theorize, attempting to see them to completion? No, of course not, for most of the ideas I dream up possess far too much grandeur and are simply above the reach of an inexperienced mod-enthusiast such as myself. Nevertheless, I derive great pleasure from imagining these ideas.

There is a certain enjoyment to be had in coming up with what one might consider the optimal game mode,  or simply imagining your favorite novel or film transformed into a better-than-EA quality adaptation. There are no technical-limitations and no realism. This is oft called “Theoretical Game Design,” or something along those lines.

Now, I believe that this could flower into a field of its own. There could be forums devoted to users commenting on each others’ design ideas, and showcases of some of the most interesting or innovative theoretical designs.

However, many might argue that it is asinine to dedicate time or effort to such a fruitless pursuit. Would it not be better to actually jump into the mod-scene and make something different, really? Would many not discover that practical modding or game making is a worthy way to get one’s ideas down onto a physical medium?

I call on you, my meager audience, to contribute your views as to the legitimacy and sense of theoretical game design. Without any further ado, let the discussions begin.

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bobwashere
bobwashere Mar 11 2008, 11:23pm says:

I've always wanted to see another Star Wars: Battlefront Game. Sure, the last installment wasn't too great, but it was an idea I didn't want to see wasted. I could think of a million ways to make it better A proper sequel that adressed some of those problems and ideas would be great. In the meantime I'll just play First Strike. I was also thinking of a Harry Potter MMO. I know that doesn't sound like a great idea at first, but I was thinking of some ideas. The setting would be Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, and some of the surrounding area. Instead of choosing a race, you'd chose a house. Doing different classes would help level up different skills. Characters from the books would give you quests. There could be mini-games (Quiddich, anyone?), raids, etc. There's certainly enough characters, monsters, and story for it to work.

I've also thought up about 10 different game ideas (which I won't go into detail on) if I let my mind drift.

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jacksonj04
jacksonj04 Mar 12 2008, 10:41am replied:

You'd be amazed how much of a small universe Harry Potter is. The entire thing was written to be read, and although JK may have had the vision in her head it won't be the same as anybody else who has read the books, and probably not much at all like the film, which is very dissimilar to the games already released... which is the magic of reading. You get better pictures.

Not to mention that magic is shown to be able to solve almost anything. "Accio Quest Item" should suffice.

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bobwashere
bobwashere Mar 12 2008, 7:52pm replied:

One of the saddest things I see here is great mod ideas that never go anywhere because of an inneffective team.

@Kinesis: Even if they were able to make a good Harry Potter game, who would really care if it's based off the movie? I think original storylines in a well known IP are better than a movie or book adaptation. That's I am a fan of Star Wars games, but only the original ones like KotOR and the X-Wing series. I never play the games based off the movies.

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kinesis916
kinesis916 Mar 12 2008, 5:51am says:

Games rarely make it into my pre-sleep imagination. Usually I tend to think on what would make a game better than inventing a new one. Though these usually end up changing the game so much that it effectivly becomes a new game in the same setting.

I do think that the idea of a Harry Potter MMO is rubbish. Though I have been known to be biased against Harry Potter. I think a proper Harry Potter game needs to come out. They have had every opportunity with the games so far to really delve into the worlds and stories of the books yet they haven't.

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jacksonj04
jacksonj04 Mar 12 2008, 10:37am says:

I'm all for theoretical game design, because if you're going to make anything it has to start with the theoretical design. You can't leap straight into the real thing, you are inevitably going to piece it together in your mind, play bits of it out in your imagination, tweak things and so on before you even write the first line of your design document.

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Hunter-Prime
Hunter-Prime Mar 12 2008, 12:12pm replied:

I agree but the problem is that when you are in front of the Source code (for example) and you have absolutely no knowledge in coding, your ideas just "disapearred in the air".

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Hunter-Prime
Hunter-Prime Mar 12 2008, 7:03pm replied:

What I mean is that ideas are something, modding is an other but when you're able to mix the two, nothing can stop you.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Henley
Henley Mar 13 2008, 12:37am says:

i think of stories.... always have always will

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Deathbagel
Deathbagel Jan 8 2009, 11:33pm says:

This isn't how I think. I come up with massive amounts of ideas, but most of them are stupid and/or completely unoriginal. Coming up with a good idea for me is rare, but when I do, I am very good at developing it farther and coming up with ideas and mental images related to the central idea. Take my personal mod idea for example. That's the only idea for a mod I've had that is both completely original and well, good. however, now that I have that "central" idea, I could now probably talk for an hour on every character and location in the game world.

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