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  • James Portnow's Game Design Challenge

    [04.09.08]
    - James Portnow
  •  Starting this week, we'll be running a weekly Design Challenge. The Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Each Wednesday I'll propose a design question. You'll have one week to answer it (see below for how to submit your answers). The following week, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted along with some commentary.

    The Challenge
    Create a new class or set of classes for a fantasy MMORPG.

    Assignment Details
    You are in preproduction for a new fantasy MMORPG. Your boss has just asked you to create some new classes for the game. He's told you that they are marketing the game as a "brand new way to play," so he wants you to reinvent the archetypes. You can use the same basic abilities as other fantasy MMOs, but you have to combine them in new ways. You've also got the green light to invent new abilities as you see fit.

    Moreover, all the classes have to be aesthetically interesting (for example, cyborg-ninja-pirate-penguin-of-ultimate-doom) but they also have to be functional (for example, not cyborg-ninja-pirate-penguin-of-ultimate-doom). Additionally the game is meant to have a strong community component by encouraging grouping. Group size is indeterminate thus far, so you can choose how large a group is. All the classes must have synergy. If classes can also "go solo," that's an added plus.

    On the way out, your boss recommends you look up World of Warcraft on Wikipedia if you don't know what stereotypical classes are.

    To Submit
    Feel free to discuss your ideas on the forums. I'll be checking in periodically, so you can post questions there, too.

    Send your answers to jportnow@gmail.com with the subject line "Design Challenge." Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, April 16, 5 p.m. PDT. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title. Please try to keep your answers to 500 words or fewer -- unless they're really good!

    The responses for this challenge will appear Wednesday, April 23, 2008.
    The next Design Challenge question will be posted Wednesday, April 16, 2008.

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