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

  •  I've got to admit, I don't know where to begin. Each week the entries get better and better. For this challenge, designing mini games for an auto racing game, I saw lots of succinct entries with original and well tuned ideas.

    I also noticed that a lot more people started their entries by listing the goals and constraints mentioned in the challenge. Giving concrete constraints really seemed to help people focus and get creative. A blue sky and a blank page can sometimes be the most impairing thing for a game designer.

    On to the results!

    Hitting cones. If one thing was proven by this design challenge it's this: People think hitting things with a car in an environment that's free of consequences is fun. And you know, I think I agree.
    Damage. A very large number of entries tried to find ways around the damage restrictions that were outlined in the prompt. This is fantastic! The rule was that you couldn't show damage on the cars -- but I didn't say that cars impacting each other couldn't be an integral part of gameplay. While cars hitting each other may not be the most original idea ever, some of the ways around the restriction were ingenious.

    If you didn't think of this workaround from the start, try now to think of three ways to make cars hitting each other a major part of gameplay without showing damage.

    Reuse. Many people raised the idea of reusing tracks from the main game as a time saving measure for the mini-games. This is great thinking. None of these entries quite made it, but I wanted to stress how much that type of thinking helps development teams in crunch time.

    Illustration by Jean-Marie Scheid


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