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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperDesignRe: game design first
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fish
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« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2007, 09:30:33 AM »

i usualy start with...an idea.
a concept. a high concept.
a feeling, an ambience, a style.
all vague stuff like that.
which usualy eventualy evolves into some high concept mechanic.
but everything is related. the idea, the mechanics, the visuals, everything is part of this mysterious higher concept that i saw in a dream or in some drug induced haze.

infact, the moment an idea hits me, i pretty much know exactly how the game is gonna look, feel and play at a high level. then i just need to sit down and untangle the whole thing. figure out exactly how stuff works, see if it makes any sense.

once we start prototyping, ill of course frequently be proved wrong about a bunch of my calls. but thats design. we itterate, and in the end, the final product shouldnt be too far from the original visions.

yeah, thats it.
vision.
literaly. a vision. i see it in a dream or something, and i know what it is.
then i just stick to it.

i know this all sounds very esoteric but for me design is half brains and half guts.
it starts off being very visceral. a very rough feeling, emotion.
then the brain has to concretise it and make sense of it all.
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« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2007, 09:51:41 AM »

What sort of ideas are people starting with?  Is it visual in nature, or is it a particular game mechanic that you want to play with?

Out of practicality, I try to stay in the same neighborhood of the engine I built (2D physics platformer).  I do have many concepts that would require an engine that doesn't exist, but I really try to put the bulk of my design efforts behind something I can derive from this.  It's unlikely you guys have played many of the games I've worked on, but I've previously worked on a traditional platform with a spitting Llama (Emperor's New Groove GBC), a Stealth platformer (Haha yeah, Secret Agent Barbie GBA), an Action 3 person team "Lost Vikings" puzzler platformer (Atomic Betty GBA), and a platformer view puzzle game (PuffBOMB, and it's remake I'm in the process of finishing up).  So I've done my homework. Smiley

The next concept I'm crazy about currently is a rather dark and moody color and sound driven experience, and at the same time, simple.  It's rooted in the ideals of the "Simplification" rant I blogged about last month.  So by that, anyone should be able to play it, but it's probably not be a game for everyone.
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Mike Kasprzak | Sykhronics Entertainment - Smiles (HD), PuffBOMB, towlr, Ludum Dare - Blog
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« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2007, 10:58:09 AM »

I usually start out with some basic gimmick (for example, music that is directly controlled by gameplay) in mind then elaborate on it as much as possible.  I take this simple little gimmick and plan out my ideal, ultimate, ubergame.  Next I toss out all the parts that are beyond my ability, excessivly time consuming, or uneccesary.  Whats left is a gooey chewy, no frills game nougat.  Of course, this whole process happens in the shower.
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« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2007, 11:40:32 AM »

What sort of ideas are people starting with?  Is it visual in nature, or is it a particular game mechanic that you want to play with?  Do you start thinking of similar games?  Do you have a "theme" in mind; a setting, or story that you want to tell or explore?  What sort of things spark your imagination, and make you start working on a new idea?

For me, an idea for a game rarely comes from a desire to tell a story. It comes from wanting to share an experience (as Guert said)... to present a system of ideas in an interesting/pleasing way. I don't necessarily want to force someone to feel a certain emotion, but I want to give them a space/subject matter to get emotional in/about. For me, games are successful when they're about the interplay between player and game, rather than treating the player like an audience who has to listen to what you're telling them. The game is as much about the player and their expression as it is about the raw game mechanic. Giving the player the ability to express themselves in a unique way is important to me.

As to where the ideas come from - it could be anywhere. It could be the result of two seemingly dissonant ideas coming together. Reading sun tzu's art of war and reading a quote about armies being like liquid, helped inspire my current game, but it wasn't the only thing.

See, an idea is just an idea until it's made. If it can't be made, it's not useless by any means (it can inspire other actionable ideas) but for it to be really useful, it has to be at an intersection with your ability to make it happen.

So, when I read that sun tzu quote, I would probably have dismissed it if I hadn't previously had an idea about implementing metablobs using shaders. The two ideas smacked together - inspiration and technical feasability fused, and a game became possible.

I also like to make games which test out theories i have about ludology etc. When I played Tie Fighter, sometimes I would slip into third person mode, because I wanted to play the game as though it were shot like the movies - all exciting and stuff. I wanted the camera to be more separate from my ship so that I could see the scene as a whole, rather than just through a first person view.

Immediately, there were problems with aiming. I tried to figure out how to fix the aiming reticule parallex problems. I figured out that if you projected out a crosshair from your ship to the distance of the targetted ship, then you'd have far less cases where your cross-hair was over the enemy, but not actually aiming at it. While I was at it, I had to solve a lot of other problems, like how do you describe a 3D object's distance from another object (shadows are good. Fogged lights shining from the object to a nearby surface is better. Using a common object, like terrain, helps give a sense of relativity if there's more then one object in space. A constantly sideways/vertical shifting camera helps give a sense of parallax). I tried lots of things, and didn't quite succeed, but I learned a lot (like, most people reeeeally don't think in 3D, but they can think in multi-layered 2D planes, and re-oriented planes, or 2D + height separately. So if you want to represent a sphere in 3D space above a flat surface, show where that sphere intersects with a plane by projecting its radius down onto the landscape, thus creating a kind of cylinder). I figured, while I'm at it, if I'm going to prove that I can represent 3D space with abstract viz (I couldn't), I may as well do it using just one hue to keep the graphics easy enough for me to do, but clear enough to show what's going on (hence the blue). Self imposed creative limitations are actually a lot of fun to work with, and practically force you to make something original, I find. Not as fun when you're not defining your own limits, though, since those sorts of limitations are concrete, and less reasonable (time, budget, other people's awkwardly conflicting tastes).

Blah. blah. blah.
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Alex May
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« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2007, 12:09:44 PM »

I usually want to take a design and change it or otherwise base a game on it. Eventually it becomes something quite different.

So the gardening game started out with Sim City, right - but it ended up being more like Viva Pinata, even if Rare did get there first with that one. My design is better btw Cool The mobile cancer game was borne of a desire to improve Tumiki Fighters. The food factory started out as a water-based version of Chromatron (with a bit of Cataclysm thrown in) and gradually took on elements of the Incredible Machine and Outpost Kaloki.
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« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2007, 06:33:32 PM »

It's interesting to see that the creation of  a game is very personal. Everyone has it's own way to get the job done!

Anyone here ever designed a game with at least two other designers? I designed my GBA project along with another designer and we ended up voting on numerous design issues. We mostly agreed on almost everything but certain issues had to be "voted" in or out. How did your creation process of the design worked out in a team?
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« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2007, 06:38:20 PM »

Most of my games are made by loose, large groups of people online, and yeah, we usually have to vote about features (although usually the person who is overseeing everything and doing most of the work takes priority and has veto power).

Too many people and the games take forever to make though, I think the optimum is around 3-5, any less and you're relying on one person having a bunch of different skills (and everyone has some weak points), and any more and the communications take longer than making the actual game.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2007, 06:42:21 PM by rinkuhero » Logged

Arne
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« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2007, 04:56:43 AM »

I start out with the idea that there must be girls in tiny panties, then I construct the entire game idea around that premise.


btw.
http://www.graftgold.com/
These guys made Paradroid and some other games back in the day. Go to Writing games and there's a little rant about game design.
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« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2007, 05:01:44 AM »

Arne:
http://www.gamesondeck.com/feature/1438/postmortem_capybara_games_.php
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fish
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« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2007, 05:52:44 AM »

i work with my collective, mostly.
Damien Di Fede does all code and music.
Heather Kelley shares design duties and does all sorts of producery stuff.
and do design and all art.
we have no animator, so we try to take care of that in design and not have anything with complex animation.

but we all itterate on the design together.
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2007, 09:46:45 AM »

btw.
http://www.graftgold.com/
These guys made Paradroid and some other games back in the day. Go to Writing games and there's a little rant about game design.

You know a site is classy when you need javascript enabled to even see the content.
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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2007, 08:43:13 AM »

Another question I have...
Did you guys all knew each other before starting to develop your game?
We didn't know each other in our group when we started and worked out fine (except that we had alot of backers along the run), but I know some teams that crashed along the way. My first projects was supposed to be with friends but they all backed out along the way...

I'm just wondering what's the ratio of team that knew each others before starting a project.
Thanks!
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2007, 10:30:02 AM »

ooh, slick thread.

here's something that might make it even more intriguing/hold more gravity:

have you ever finished at least 1 game (100% completion) with the method you proposed?  and, were you/players happy with the game?

(btw, why is this thread running in the "art" section?)
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Guert
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« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2007, 11:28:58 AM »

Our method:
One guy finds a couple of guys over the net that wants to make a GBA game.
We work part time on it. We all lived in the same area but for some reason, we met only after a year and half of development Tongue

Completion: 100%. We even had deals for publishing. They canceled but with had 'em! Wink Took us 2 years to finish it.

Satisfaction: We got good reviews from everywhere they posted on us. Maybe except one site but I don't remember. We counted over 2000 downloads for our rom but we can't keep track of every one who actually played. We got about 100 emails from gamers and game developers telling that they liked the game.

My personal games aren't out yet tho. Soon! Smiley

Take care!
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Robotacon
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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2007, 12:25:00 PM »

I often draw mock-ups in Photoshop for bitmaps and Xara X for vector graphics.
I also use Freemind alot which works well as a mind mapper and is useful when creating an object oriented design aswell.

... mostly I daydream about stuff on the subway/bus and write it down on my windows mobile which has the keyboard for the job.
 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2007, 01:16:27 PM by robotacon » Logged
PoV
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« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2007, 02:27:48 AM »

Anyone here ever designed a game with at least two other designers? I designed my GBA project along with another designer and we ended up voting on numerous design issues. We mostly agreed on almost everything but certain issues had to be "voted" in or out. How did your creation process of the design worked out in a team?

If you subscribe to the idea of "everyone's a designer" then yes, many times.  With the exception of a Batman game concept, I can't say I was very happy with the results.  Acceptable, but the designs were very "easy", "practical", and "derivative", but they had to be since they were for licensed games.  I actually didn't think we had all that much conflict though.  If it was a design issue that was no more difficult either way, then buddy in charge of the doc writing would make the call (though I can think of many times that came up).  If there was a technical or timeline reason, I as the tech guy would make the call, or force discussion of a compromise.

Unfortunately, the more people involved in a game, the less love you can give it.  Sad
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Mike Kasprzak | Sykhronics Entertainment - Smiles (HD), PuffBOMB, towlr, Ludum Dare - Blog
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« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2007, 06:23:25 AM »

Unfortunately, the more people involved in a game, the less love you can give it.  Sad

True. Thanks for your answer.

Robotacon: I,ll check out freemind. Thanks for the link!
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« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2007, 10:17:46 AM »

I usually just doodle things into my sketchbook.
If I ever draw something that springs out at me, I draw it some more to see if I like it.

I then take the time to imagine up a complete storyline around the character, usually unnecessarily complicated, with antagonist and twists planned ahead. I usually make both the beginning and ending of a storyline.

I then make about 10 or 20 frames of it in Flash, and then I give up on it forever because i lack any proper work ethic. Tongue
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« Reply #38 on: June 03, 2007, 02:57:52 AM »

i'm not sure how i think up my ideas.  they can either start from telling a story, designing a character or setting, or wanting to implement particular gameplay mechanics.

I usually make both the beginning and ending of a storyline.

yeh, i tend to do that too.  i'll also think up major plot sequences dotted randomly throughout the storyline, leaving the whole logic of a story's flow till last.
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Alex May
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2007, 07:16:29 AM »

have you ever finished at least 1 game (100% completion) with the method you proposed?

Nope  :D
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