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  • James Portnow's Game Design Challenge: Mini Racing Games

    - James Portnow
  •  Jame's Portnow's 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
    Design mini-games for a racing game.

    Assignment Details
    "We're a month from launch and we don't have enough mini-games! What are you going to do about it?"

    That's the message you just received from your boss, and worse, he cc'ed all staff on it, so your butt's really on the line.

    You've been working on a racing game and you've been so busy tweaking break response time on the Ferrari that making mini-games totally slipped your mind. Now you have to scramble, but you don't have much to work with. The only things in your game are: the cars, lap markers, a timer which can be tied to the lap markers, cones, and a scoring system which can be tied to the cones.

    To make matters worse, nobody bothered to render the underside of the cars, so they can never leave the ground. Also, you can knock over cones, but your team didn't get the rights to show damage on the cars, so no destruction derby for you.

    The whole team is in crunch so you really can't ask anyone to implement any new code or ask for any new assets. You're stuck with what you've got, and the faster you can make the games, the better -- you want some time to iterate.

    You did just finish a neat system for road surface traction. Maybe that will help...

    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 with the subject line "Design Challenge." Entries must be submitted by Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 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 ... [Upated May 6, 2008: The winning responses to this challenge will be posted Thursday, May 8, 2008. apologizes for the delay.]

    The next Design Challenge question will be posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008.

    Disclaimer:, James Portnow, and entities associated with James Portnow or GameCareerGuide are not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to James Portnow's Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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