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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperDesignEvery game needs these 4 things
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JeremyNunns
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« on: December 30, 2022, 07:22:39 AM »

In my quest for making a good game, I was recently reading a chapter of the Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell on the key elements of a game that give us the experience of a game. These 4 elements are: Mechanics, Story, Aesthetics and Technology Jesse Schell emphasises that these elements are all equally important and they must be viewed together holistically. They are the building blocks of what we experience from a game.

I analysed two games that I quite enjoy (Portal 2 and Stronghold 2) as subjects against these elements in this video:

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michaelplzno
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2023, 01:47:28 AM »

I find that high minded theory like Schell's book are useless to help make a game, and that intuition and the designer's own feelings are a much more helpful tool. Make a game, even a "bad" game, show it to people and see what they do with it. Improve it, change it, or start a new project based on the reaction. The navel gazing about breaking a game into "formal elements" just seems boring and pedantic. It might be helpful for someone who wants to do game critique "These are the 4 categories so each one gets a rating from 1-10" but being a good critic is a different way of thinking than being a good creative.

Usually a lot of the "ART OF DESIGN" books are just posturing for some of the academics of the game world to show that they are important, but not really helpful in terms of how to be creative, which is what you want. In fact, some of my best work comes from not thinking about the theory of games at all and just following my heart when I design the project.

There are art theory books on the art of composition: how to organize a canvas, what rules there are to how a painting should be laid out, why masterworks like Picaso's stuff are in fact great and wonderful, and why amateurs are not as good, but spending a lot of time focusing on that won't get you better at painting. Only doing a lot of paintings will get you to improve at painting.

So design a lot of games, and then you'll be good at it. Only shooting stars break the mold.

Also, there are plenty of examples of games that break Schell's narrow minded system: Zork is a fun game that has no "aesthetics" Sudoku is a game that is played on paper and thus has zero technology, all the so called "walking sims" have no Mechanics, so the whole metric is just arbitrary things that Schell likes rather than anything deeper.
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JeremyNunns
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2023, 07:07:08 AM »

Thanks. I think you're probably right and as a beginner it's not immediately clear how much of the theory can actually be applied. Appreciate the perspective - gives me something to chew on, and just to keep on working the game making process itself.

I think I want to take as broad a learning approach as possible, and then distil it as I progress, but it sounds like you're way ahead of me!
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2023, 08:58:29 AM »

My design pillar is to make as many games as you can as fast as you can and be open and accepting with getting feedback. Portal is one of the best games ever in all of history, don't try to start there. Even portal started as a much smaller prototype "Narbacular Drop"

My first project was waaaaaaay too big and I'm still sort of working on it 10 years later, I can't recommend that.

If you teach yourself to have fun making things, and do it every day, you'll be a master artist in no time, no theory needed.

Edit: Also "The Artist's Way" is a bit too spiritual for me but its more focused on the creative process and accessing your feelings in a helpful way to create than Schell who I find to be irritating. The key is to not see art as something difficult and unpleasant full of negativity. When art is fun you will almost automatically become a master after a few years.
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JeremyNunns
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2023, 06:17:31 AM »

Thanks again. Yes agreed small games first, even prototypes, then move onto bigger things (if that's what one wants to do). Portal is for sure one of my favs, but not something I plan on making - just a game to reflect on.

Are you making anything else apart from the game you started a decade ago? What's your game called and is it being / has it been released?
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2023, 07:03:12 AM »

I work on a lot of stuff, however I'm sort of stuck in limbo because I don't know how to do a launch that actually gets visibility.

Here's a video about my giant project Xanadu:





And here's my reel bragging about all the stuff I made:




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LonelyGameDev
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2023, 11:10:06 PM »

Happy to see people learn something in several day's that took me several years to figure out. Really wish I learnt this when I started but I might not have got it
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