Learning Game Design

with Arcade Berg

Posts Tagged ‘gansters

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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Hey y’all!

I was thinking; since this blog is (partly) about game design I should let you know some of my projects I’m working on and over time give you some updates. Even if the projects turn out to be as interesting as a big bucket of tar later on, we can do some cozy post mortems together, right? I mean, I don’t think all of my ideas would turn out great if they were to be realized into actual games but even if they don’t there is always an important lesson to learn.

Oh, and a little disclaimer-thingy. I don’t always finish all my projects. The reasons vary; lack of time, boredom, new and more exciting ideas and so on.

My primary game projects right now are:

Park Runner – A 2D plattformer game. It’s still in pre-production since I’m still writing on the design for it.

Mouser Jet 2nd Try – It’s a little game controlled with the mouse alone. It’s the second time I’ve started this project. Last time I couldn’t get the math right so the controls didn’t work as intended. It works now however, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. It’s in actual production.

Gansters – It’s actually a board game I’m working on. I’ve never made a board game before (well, except for one that was an assignment for the university) and I think it will be good practice for me as board games aren’t really that different from computer/video games. I’m working out the rules of it now, the concept and the overall design is done. I should really start play-testing it now so I’ll realize all the cases and scenarios I haven’t thought of.

And maybe I should mention that those titles are just Working Titles. In addition to this I of course have a gazillion other games in concept stage. For some; abstract thought swimming around in my head is an even better definition. You should see my notebooks in which I scribble and sketch my ideas. It’s mayhem in most of them, and I have many.

Btw, never use notebooks with lines in them. It’s ugly and it ruins the doodles! I only use blank papers.

Today I’m working on the Gansters project. Wish me luck!

Written by Arcade

October 26, 2008 at 1:32 pm

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