Learning Game Design

with Arcade Berg

Posts Tagged ‘game design

Grim Puzzle Doc

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The Puzzle document for Tim Schafer’s classic adventure game is now avaliable for download from:

http://www.doublefine.com/news.php/site/just_one_more_grim_thing/ (avaliable 6/11-08)

We didn’t have the last puzzle designed when I wrote that document, so I wrote two nonsense paragraphs and then overlapped them in the file so it would look like the final puzzle description was in there, but obscured by a print formatting error. That way I could turn the document in by the deadline. As if anybody was going to read it all the way to the end anyway. Ha ha. Obfuscation triumphs again! I delight in Evil!

– Tim Schafer

Whether or not it’s a good reference if you’re thinking of doing something similar is up to you to decide but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.

Grim Fandango is one of my all time favorite adventures and I’ve even done an in-depths analys of the game while studying Game Design at the Univeristy. It was about if the then new GrimE-engine was an estethic improvement for the player only or if 3D was required to execute some of the puzzles. I sure wish I had this document back then…

I have to give a shout-out to Jesper Bylund, a friend and fellow designer because I found the link on his blog.


Written by Arcade

November 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm

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Theory isn’t enough

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Right now I’m taking a small break from designing the game Gangsters, to tell you guys how I’m working with it.

Since previously I’ve had a document for Gangsters in which I’ve written about a lot of different elements in the game as separate things. I’ve written about the police, about the trading, about the expansion of territory and how to “offer protection”. I wrote this months ago and every now and then ever since, I’ve looked at it, changing some stuff, letting it all sink in. I don’t really think you can “crunch design” a good game (not saying that this game will be good for sure) and therefore I keep several designs for quite some time, just to give me a good amount of time to think about it.

I now feel that Gangsters has been out of the oven for long enough and I’m ready to mix the ingredients.

What I’m doing now is by using the previously mentioned document I’m trying to write a set of rules, as they would appear if one were to buy the game in a store. This helps me find eventual contradictions and some holes in the design.

Now, this won’t make the game nearly done. It’s merely a revision further. After I’m done writing this draft of rules, the game will probably pretty much…well… suck! But that’s nothing to be grumpy about. In a way, it’s a good thing. If only I can isolate why it sucks, maybe I can fix it, making the next revision much better.

Once the draft is complete I will try to trick some friends to come over and play it with me. I might have to bribe them with some tasty chocolate pudding and sweet vanilla sauce but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

I’m sure that after just one play-through I will have a bunch of notes I have to go through. I will discover scenarios I haven’t thought about, some major imbalances, play-styles I didn’t consider and even more holes in the design. Afterwards I’ll have to go back to the desk and try and fix these things.

Then afterwards, a real problem occurs; how will I trick my friends into coming over again to play the game they have such horrible memories of? Chocolate pudding just won’t cut it…

I’m in need of some suggestions!

If you agree, disagree or just have some neutral opinion about the things I write, I’d love to hear them. Please comment.

Written by Arcade

October 26, 2008 at 3:51 pm

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