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Old 02-28-2010, 09:47 AM   #1
Isaak
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So I was playing me some Need for Speed: Shift, my mind went off on a tangent and I subsequently ended up kissing a concrete barrier.

Aahh, fun times...

...

Oh, right. The point is, I was thinking of how to explain a designer's role in relation to the player since at college I've teamed up with a couple of non-designers so I sometimes have to explain what goes in my head.

I came up with a little one-liner:
'The player(s) play the game, the designers design the play.'

I let my brain work on it for a while, shoving a Beamer into a wall Burnout-style and concluded that:
'The player is the most important element in your gamedesign.'

Then I couldn't think of any more, maybe because I was winning... So I thought 'wouldn't it be cool if others could drop their two cents and create an awesome list of guidelines of sorts?'.

Which is where this thread comes in, as one only knows as much as one, but two know as much as three.

Drop in your guidelines, but try to keep them short and easy to chew.
Everything is open for debate, updates and detailing, so keep the input high and the output will be even higher.

The List:

- The player(s) play the game, the designers design the play.
- The player is the most important element in your gamedesign.
- Imagination is unlimited. Games should be too. (Chris Bateman)

- Concepting is about possibilities without constraints. Brainstorming is about possibilities within constraints. Designing is about possibilities with constraints. [?]

- The designers design the mechanics. They continuously throw mechanisms at innocent and unsuspecting playtesters. The hope is, that said testers won't deviously discover new, wonderful and strange dynamics. Alas, they may heckle the desired aesthetic!

- Designers design for players, not for themselves or other designers.


Also, you could tweet, pm, mail or even wave them to me.
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Last edited by Isaak : 03-01-2010 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Awesomeness.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:44 PM   #2
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Got another one:

- Concepting is about possibilities without constraints. Brainstorming is about possibilities within constraints. Designing is about possibilities with constraints.
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Old 02-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #3
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The designers design the mechanics. They continuously throw mechanisms at innocent and unsuspecting playtesters. The hope is, that said testers won't deviously discover new, wonderful and strange dynamics. Alas, they may heckle the desired aesthetic! (Hunicke, R., LeBlanc M. & Zubek R., 2004).

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrir View Post
The designers design the mechanics. They continuously throw mechanisms at innocent and unsuspecting playtesters. The hope is, that said testers won't deviously discover new, wonderful and strange dynamics. Alas, they may heckle the desired aesthetic! (Hunicke, R., LeBlanc M. & Zubek R., 2004).
Downloaded and editing the OP.

Also:

- Designers design for players, not for themselves or other designers.
- Imagination is unlimited. Games should be too. (Chris Bateman)
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Last edited by Isaak : 02-28-2010 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:32 PM   #5
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Isaak,

What are you working on with your group?

The process I've been going through with the Flash game I'm working on has been focusing on making a coherent narrative structure. I'm trying to say a few very specific things with the game, so I've been wracking my brain to come up with level design that can present the messages. Gameplay mechanics have actually kind of taken backseat, I haven't fleshed it out much. I'm getting to that next.

So you guys know what I'm talking about, the game is about the Transhumanism movement, which holds that people should have the right to modify their body at will using genetic modifications or w/e. The message for this level is about the dangers of using genetic modification without proper regulation and testing. It takes place in a hospital where dozens of people have had these enhancements performed on them, but of course due to inadequate testing, it all went wrong. Most of the patients died of fast-moving cancer, but a handfull transformed into powerful monsters that have begun rampaging throughout the hospital breaking precious scientific things and killing surviving patients. You play as a 3-man squad of SpecOps guys sent in to kill the monsters and rescue any survivors.

Based on what type of designer you are and what type of game you're making, your job will vary. A game that is heavy on dynamic mechanics like a puzzler won't *require* as much thought be put into the setting, thus creating a very different experience for the designer, though in both cases the person coming up with the ideas for the game is called the Game Designer.

Last edited by bob : 02-28-2010 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaak View Post
Brainstorming is about possibilities within constraints.
I don't think you can say that. Whether constraints apply to brainstorming or not depends on the situation. You're talking about directed brainstorming, but there's also free brainstorming.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:50 PM   #7
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This discussion of one-liners does not seem very substantial. How about some more people share their thoughts about the actual process.
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob View Post
Isaak,

What are you working on with your group?
A first-person survival adventure game with a spiritual flavour. It focuses on conveying a first-person experience in an extreme environment. We're not developing the entire game, we'll end up with a demo of sorts, kind of like the FEAR (2) demo.

The player takes on the role of a mountaineer stuck on a mountain, cut off from the rest of his team. During the game he has to at first survive the deadly environment, but later on the game starts to shift between reality and spirituality and then HOLY SHIT PLOTTWIST!!!

But we're not actually making that plottwist...

The player can climb, run and has to manage his resources to stay alive.

Basically.

Quote:
The process I've been going through with the Flash game I'm working on has been focusing on making a coherent narrative structure. I'm trying to say a few very specific things with the game, so I've been wracking my brain to come up with level design that can present the messages. Gameplay mechanics have actually kind of taken backseat, I haven't fleshed it out much. I'm getting to that next.
Have you figured out a means to tell the story?

Quote:
-- Snip --
Quote:
Based on what type of designer you are and what type of game you're making, your job will vary. A game that is heavy on dynamic mechanics like a puzzler won't *require* as much thought be put into the setting, thus creating a very different experience for the designer, though in both cases the person coming up with the ideas for the game is called the Game Designer.
That's a great conclusion. Now to put it into a one-liner. This will take a few though, it's morning here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsloper
I don't think you can say that. Whether constraints apply to brainstorming or not depends on the situation. You're talking about directed brainstorming, but there's also free brainstorming.
Isn't brainstorming trying to come up with a solution for a problem that has been identified?
Like... err... 'We need young people to be more sexually responsible' for instance. Or... 'We need a new way to draw the player in through narrative'.

Then you brainstorm a possible solution, so the problem that has been identified is the constraint in which you work.

Or at least, those are my thoughts on it.

Quote:
This discussion of one-liners does not seem very substantial. How about some more people share their thoughts about the actual process.
Like you did with your post before this one

Alright, format change! GO!
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaak View Post
Isn't brainstorming trying to come up with a solution for a problem that has been identified?
Like... err... 'We need young people to be more sexually responsible' for instance. Or... 'We need a new way to draw the player in through narrative'.

Then you brainstorm a possible solution, so the problem that has been identified is the constraint in which you work.

Or at least, those are my thoughts on it.
I think you're confusing a goal with a constraint. In you're example the goal is to make young people be more sexually responsible. By brainstorming you can come up with possible solutions to that goal. The solutions don't need to be feasible or constrained to the real world(E.g. implant transmitters in young peoples brains to prevent arousal or genetically engineer children of the future to not come into puberty until the age of 21).

If you added a constraint to your example above, lets say a budget for the project of 100,000, then that becomes a constraint but you can come to any possible resolution of your goal as long as it costs 100,000 or less. This constraint forces the brainstorming session in a completely different direction than if it had no constraint(E.g. A poster campaign, flyer's or TV adds).

Hopefully the above illustrates the fact that brainstorming can be constrained or completely blue sky and I would say concepts generally follow as a result of brainstorming activities and then get developed until a final design(Iteratively).
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:46 AM   #10
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So, basically what you're saying is: brainstorming can equal blue sky?

Granted my example wasn't exactly... well, it sucks now that I see it, but doesn't blue sky come before brainstorming?

(Great, now I'm arguing semantics! Fun...)

That's how I've always viewed it, at least. With concepting I generally mean the blue sky period... though I could have that wrong.
Which is a good thing. I sort of instinctively know how to handle things, I say sort of because I'm never done learning, but a putting nice label on them...

Who said we need our own language? Ernest Adams?
Here's to Mr. Adams.

So, what would be a better way of putting it? The list is a subject of discussion after all *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*. I've put a question mark behind it for now.
If there's anything else you want to change with a great, burning desire that's simply turning your head inside out, be my guest!

And now for something completely different I came across... actually today.

Our Game Design is nearing v1.0, basically meaning it's at a state at which it can be implemented into a leveldesign.
I have three individuals who went ahead and started on that while I was digitizing all the whiteboards for the GDD. (Oh, look it's a Google Wave tab with the GDD! You haven't wrapped it up yet! Dammit...)

Anyway, they went to another room a few dozen meters away from the rest of us (bad idea #1, also I wasn't paying attention).
Later on they returned with absolutely nothing, giving the explanation that they had gotten stuck on the graphical representation of one particular area.

I know the three individuals, who have a varying literacy when it comes to design, well enough to deduce they stumbled on a detail they disagreed upon and simply couldn't let go of.

So, what kind of conclusion can I make out of this?

- Forward thinking is key?
- Think in solutions, not problems?
- The Game Design > your ego? (I kind of like this one)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob
Based on what type of designer you are and what type of game you're making, your job will vary. A game that is heavy on dynamic mechanics like a puzzler won't *require* as much thought be put into the setting, thus creating a very different experience for the designer, though in both cases the person coming up with the ideas for the game is called the Game Designer.
I came up with a nice one-liner for this: no game design is the same.
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