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  • The Game Design Process

    - Game Design Ed


    So after going through the iterative cycle enough times, hopefully you come out the other side with a good game.

    You have reached the implementation stage where you finally take your game and release it to a wider audience to experience.

    But don't be misled. Implementation doesn't mean that your game is done. Because you'll still be finding out things that could make your game better.

    For example, the game of basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith as an activity for his students to stay active on a rainy day. Naismith used elements of games, such as Duck on a Rock, that he had"captured" in the research stage of the design process. At its inception, the game didn't have a backboard, which was added the following year after the game was playtested and Naismith found out that spectators on the balcony that the peach baskets were nailed to would interfere with the gameplay. Also, it was originally played with a soccer ball - the orange basketball we know today wasn't invented until the 1950s. Dribbling was added with the new ball - previously the ball was moved by passing. Originally, the court was half the size it is today and the game was played with 9 players on each team. The three point line was first tested in 1945 and is still being iterated and tested - the NBA last changed the distance of the three point line in 1998 and the WNBA last moved it in 2013 and they both use slightly different distances! So the game of basketball has gone through a lot of prototyping, playtesting, and iterating. And I'm fairly certain that it will continue to do so. And this is long after basketball's implementation.

    Like basketball, your game can be changed after implementation as well.

    Maybe it's changing a sound or effect.

    Or adding or taking away a feature.

    Or adding more content.

    Or changing how many cards you deal.

    Or whatever.

    So the game isn't done. Totally complete and 100% Perfect. But if it's good enough, put it out there.

    If you're waiting for it to be perfect, you'll never put it out there because it will never be perfect. Just put it out there. You can keep working on it, but put it out there.

    The ABC's of Sales is "always be closing."

    In games, it's "always be shipping."

    Wait... that ABS. Nevertheless, always be shipping!

    Sometimes being good enough is good enough and this is one of those times.

    Implement your game.

    Put it out there.


    So that's my game design process - capture, brainstorm, prototype, playtest, iterate, and implement.

    As I said at the beginning, these stages aren't necessary consecutive, different stages can occur simultaneously, and stages can be repeated.

    Or put differently, game design is never as simple as this.

    It can be a lot messier.

    And each game you design will have new circumstances and obstacles.

    So don't be misled: this process isn't meant to make you think that game design is simple and easy.

    This process is only meant to add some structure and normalcy to something that, in practice, is new, messy, and exciting.

    What's your game design process? 


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