Defrost Games is a Indie Company in Malmo Sweden, We consist of a mix of industry veterans and new fresh blood. But with the common interest in creating booth highly polished and innovative games.

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Defrost Games

Defrost Games

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Our mission statement is ”Finding new ways to play” this can mean a lot of things but the basics are that while the concept of play has become an...

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DefrostGames Creator
DefrostGames

Can't you use skype, or any chat client. Getting it into a living discussion is a good start.

And you can also produce documents over singular features. The reason I don't recommend this is because then you have to create the Document and then discuss it with the other persons anyway to make sure they understand it.

I'm sorry if I was unclear about direct communication while of course person to person communication is the best way, Direct communication by video,phone or just even an MSN like app still allows for meaningful exchanges.

At Massive we did sometimes work with the premise that the design team created a document for a single feature that then the code team implemented. But the problem with this was that when the code team needed feedback the design team was busy with the next feature.

That's why we worked so hard on removing unnecessary documentation and try to get the question out of the way and then document the feature when all parts understood it,

Finally if you do wont to go the document route there was usually 3 documents produced. A Game Design Document by the Designer, a technical Design Document by the programmer which was the technical interpretation of the design and what needed to be done and fix it and sometimes also an Art Design Document that should resolved content pipeline issues etc. I wouldn't recommend using that of course but if you are on different time zones and therefore cant chat a system where you write a document (just for the small part of the game you are working on now) and they write a interpretation document for it might help clear some air.

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Cadh20000
Cadh20000

I just read your post in in the "Newbie Introduction" thread. So you taught game design?
I hate to ask but would you mind giving some advice to a new amatuer designer?

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DefrostGames Creator
DefrostGames

I actually taught Game programming. We didn't have a game design program because there are no set rules yet to go by.

However I can give you some good sources to look at.
Theoryoffun.com by Raph Koster is an excellent starting source, but beware that most designers have their own ideas for example Jonathan Blow has some very interesting pieces on game design that sticks a bit against the normal paths taken that are also very thoughtful.

If i would give one pieced of advice just on this that I picked up during my Career it's this. You have to have a strong unique idea to stick out. Something that is so strong that you can build your game around it. Almost all big franchises started that way and then they polished and polished. Another thing s to have other people play your game and listen honestly to their feedback. If you need to explain and defend something then it probably isn't clear enough.

But to give some examples of base ideas (obviously invented afterwards by me now but just made as an example of the concept)

Amnesia "What if in a horror game the player was helpless and had to flee"
Portal " What if they played could control portal placements instead of them being stuck in the world"
Braid "What if you could turn back time"

and so on. If your base idea is strong the rest is polish which takes time and iterations. But if your base idea have issues then nothing can really save it. Like the case of subversion by introversion which they finally canceled after 3-4 years of work without ever finding the game.

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Cadh20000
Cadh20000

My game is a variant on the portal theme. The character cannot place portals, but has to deal with ones opening in their world that are dropping alien creatures into it. Some of the creature are friendly, some are hostile. Even among the hostile some are good but believe you to be the one responsible for dragging them away from their homes while others are truly evil.
Therefore gameplay is a mix of negotiation and combat. In fact, most of your combat skills are obtained through negotiation amidst combat conditions.

"<a href="http://www.indiedb.com/forum/thread/silver-symbiosis-prologue"><b><u><i>Silver Symbiosis - Prologue</i></u></b></a>"

My biggest problem is ensuring that my game design document is easily understood and translated into programming. Perhaps I could get you to look over part of it and letting me know if anything needs clarifying?

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DefrostGames Creator
DefrostGames

Alright I guess I hit the maxlimit last time so I'll try to be shorter.

About a Design Document, the last time I worked with a publisher that required a big design document was around 1998. Since then we haven't been asked because they are basically not being used anymore.

This is because of a couple of reasons. One is that it's impossible even for a very experienced designer to take everything into consideration. But mostly because things change quickly as soon as you start working on the game and that big document quickly becomes useless.

Instead you often produce something that is called a vision document that in 2-5 pages describes the games vision in a way that makes everyone reading it understand the game and what you want to achieve.

The core of this is that game development is a cooperative action where the sum is supposed to be greater than it's parts. And this only happens if you have good communication in the team.

Sadly written documents is the most ineffective form of communication as there will be a lot of misunderstandings and things will have to be changed anyway once it's integrated in the game so it's important that the you communicate so that the programmer implements what you want to achieve and not what you have written (which very often will differ even for professionals).

Basically communicate directly and discuss and exchange ideas with the other team members, they will have ideas that makes the game better. And this way you can get them to understands what you want to achieve much better than if you create a big document.

I know this isn't the answer you wanted but I think this is the answer you need.

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Cadh20000
Cadh20000

Unfortunately I can only communicate with my team online so direct isn't exactly practical... >.<

I'll read over this more carefully later but don't really have the time right now. I saved your post to a word document.

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DefrostGames Creator
DefrostGames

Can't you use skype, or any chat client. Getting it into a living discussion is a good start.

And you can also produce documents over singular features. The reason I don't recommend this is because then you have to create the Document and then discuss it with the other persons anyway to make sure they understand it.

I'm sorry if I was unclear about direct communication while of course person to person communication is the best way, Direct communication by video,phone or just even an MSN like app still allows for meaningful exchanges.

At Massive we did sometimes work with the premise that the design team created a document for a single feature that then the code team implemented. But the problem with this was that when the code team needed feedback the design team was busy with the next feature.

That's why we worked so hard on removing unnecessary documentation and try to get the question out of the way and then document the feature when all parts understood it,

Finally if you do wont to go the document route there was usually 3 documents produced. A Game Design Document by the Designer, a technical Design Document by the programmer which was the technical interpretation of the design and what needed to be done and fix it and sometimes also an Art Design Document that should resolved content pipeline issues etc. I wouldn't recommend using that of course but if you are on different time zones and therefore cant chat a system where you write a document (just for the small part of the game you are working on now) and they write a interpretation document for it might help clear some air.

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Cadh20000
Cadh20000

Thank you for the advice! It is very greatly appreciated! ^_^

Anyway... The problem I have with communication with the team is that not only do we live a long ways apart, but I also don't have the internet and the only phone is a prepaid cell with no indoors reception and limited time... >.<

Wish I could afford to bring the team together to discuss it, but the best I can manage is "notes" on DA or messages on here.

P.S.
I recently found a couple actual game design textbooks in the library system that I'm going over! ^_^

They are outdated (2004), but a lot better than what I had which was basically nothing except what little I could think to ask of you.

It brings up many things I hadn't even considered and has a section on coding to get me started there.(I can already do small programs on Windows and scripts in Linux, but nothing of the type needed for a game)

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