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  • Results from James Portnow's Game Design Challenge: The Gun

    [05.14.08]
    - James Portnow
  •  Your responses to the challenge "design a new gun for a first-person shooter game" ended up being a surprise to me. When I laid it out, I had thought it was all about interconnected math and numerical manipulation. The submissions I received told me I was way off base.

    It was fascinating to me to see how people interpreted the terms "sci-fi/fantasy" and "machine gun." It's good to know that you'll often get ambiguous instructions as a game designer. It's up to you to make decisions that turn those ambiguities into solid ideas you can build on.

    Without further ado ...

    Observations
    Charts and tables. I was actually expecting to see a lot more charts and tables than I did. I consider weapon creation to be 90 percent math and 10 percent skinning. It's interesting to see that other people view it differently.

    Melee. I was surprised at how few entries decided to go with a range 0 weapon. I believe I received two melee weapons out of all the submissions. I saw no weapons that fired backward or whose bullet orbited the player. While by no means bad, this too surprised me. It seems to be that this line of thinking is the result of a lack of charts and tables. When you have all the math in front of you, it's much easier to see what playing with one variable can do.

    Extreme Killing 7. I don't know about you guys but I spent my week thinking about SLAUGHTERFACTOR: Xtream Legacy of Killing 7: The Return of Killing! I'm was shocked that no one decided to jump ship and work on that instead. (I make the rules, but it's your job to break them -- that's what game design is all about. However, in the most recent WWII challenge, some readers have already mentioned they've applied to work on the company's other title My Little Pony Ice Cream Birthday Extravaganza for the DS.)

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