Execution is more important than Design, that is what we are told. Ideas are a dozen a many. You never run out of ideas, but you sure run out of code. Write code, not blogs. All of these are clear design motto's that we can promise to adhere to. All of our knowledge base as game designers is targeted to reach the desirable goal of making a good product, but what path can we take to optimize our endevours? Is there any clues to follow? Any yellow brick road of invention to get along with? You know, meet some buddies along the way, have fun, play with it until we get to the Wizard's Castle of Gold Master?

There might be, there are some clear rules of thumb of design that we might want to take a closer look at:

1) The Brain Storming Phase

You need to impersonate the Gods, you need to show up a big stick into the sky and conjour up ideas of grandeur. You need to make a Bible, part the red seas and start to dream.

The Game Design Doc is not a fancy thing, it can have less or more structure, it can have less powerpoint and more words, less bullet points and more paragraphs but in the end the content is what matters. That content is your dreams, your creative output put on paper, your infused soul going into the very fabric of paper and be there for further exploration down the road. You need to be free to rove around and generate as many ideas as you can without being too focused on you first "Mega Super Idea". The Mega Super Idea sometimes is a flash of light seen on level 18 and yet the game is something completely different. Please be willing to let go and free yourself from expectation. When you do do you will be filled with a better understanding of what parts can actually end up on your game, and this my friend, is called Conceptualizing Creativity. How do you think I'm witting these articles? Thinking Left-Brain? Think again.

2) The Game Prototype Phase

Make prototypes, play with it, make cardboard props, draw in big white or black boards, use posts its in your hands, whatever means necessary. When the time comes to go digital you should have a pretty close concept to implement and it might as well be a throwaway one, so you can dispose of it economically if not close enough. Remember that only when you derive work from a multitude of aspects can your output be truly creative. Never mind if you are a prolific writer and create the most amazing back-concept for the thing you are presenting the world called A Game, if nothing fits in the game play arena. If it ends up being as boring as watching a white canvas on an art-deco museum you are in serious trouble. Better be ready and be willing to cut the cord on concept early on, its a lot less painful to go through a 50 page game design document you did three years ago, conclude its crap, shuffle into your back-story archive, be done with it and start a new Word Document page than it is to actually reserve time each and every day to open an IDE and actually code something without any idea to be able to deliver something special. You might not yet have a significant back-pocket of engineering tools but you sure are capable of stick-figures.

3) The Execution Phase

This is where the rubber meets the road, this is where you are actually putting out there all your skills and all your mighty knowledge for all to see. You will stumble, you will fall, you will get to a point where everything is desperate and you will want to quit but the goal remains there in all the shinny glory, untouched by reality... and so you make room to deliver. In this phase, the pragmatic implementor has to take precedence over the cloud dreamer and actually have solid understandings of the issues involved. Only with left-side thinking here can you ever hope to ship something solid, not to mention on time. When all the cards are dealt with that Gold Master is waiting to be delivered through a combination of solid production skills, qualified management, deep coding mojo, renaissance artistry and visionary guidance.


So, here we are, phase four, you have your game. Congratulations.

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