How to Make Games – An Experimental Guideline (Part 1: Idea)
This content is the first part of a four-part article about game design and development. At the present next articles are not ready, once they are ready we will put their links here:
Part 2: Documentation
Part 3: Development
Part 4: Balance
In the years our team has done game design, the answer to the question “How to reach a great game idea and nurture it?” becomes more complex. In the early years, we did not care about a ton of things that do matter. We just sought for a beautiful, cool, and Preferably unique idea.
While we were gaining experience in game development we could understand some principles of game design and ask ourselves some questions: “What does or does not matter in thinking about an idea?”, “Which people do we want to design a game for?”, “Which types of games we can’t develop programmatically?”, “How to reduce risks with the help of game design?”
And now I can say “Any game that is designed can be a feat or rubbish, but without design it is rubbish!”
|Newly we released our new game: DD Alpha Balls. A word puzzle game that focuses on routine events, celebrities, and information useful for anyone.
I am going to explain notes in this article with the help of real situations that we encountered in this project.
Where Do Ideas Come from?
I do not deny the existence of talent in every human, but it is not the only thing you should have to find the chest of ideas. Doing some instructions and techniques can reach you to the destination:
1. Pay Attention: You can’t find an idea if you don’t care. If ideas come from a place, this place is attention. Do not ignore events and objects, any of them can give you a great idea. Study about big inventions, all of them were due to a good-paying attention.
2. Sleep: If you want to be creative you have to get enough sleep. Einstein slept more than 11 hours in a day and believed sleeping stimulates creativity.
3. Loneliness: Historically, a huge number of inventors, scientists, and theorists were living lonely. Perhaps that was not their choice but we can not claim that they would be more successful if they were not alone. I don’t tell you to leave your family and go ahead, but if you want to focus and find great ideas you can lock your room door sometimes.
4. Brainstorm Meeting: If you have a very basic row idea and you know it won’t be useful, you can squeeze your idea in a meeting with colleagues. In this meeting try to not be biased of your idea because your idea transforms completely, it may even be rejected and one of the members suggests a new better idea!
Which Game Ideas Should Be Discarded
You are not a superhero with unlimited extraordinary powers. You have to deal with the fact that you don’t have unlimited time and money to spend on a project. Also, you should accept that your skills are limited.
When you have an unbiased view of your abilities you can easily decide about your game calculations volume, features, graphic art, etc. This can drastically reduce the duration of the idea and design process.
How to Reach a Great Game Idea
“Constraint inspires creativity. Blank spaces are difficult to fill, but the smallest prompt can send us in fantastic new directions.”
Things a Little Bird Told Me (Stone, 2014)
If you want a great useful idea you should limit your choices. Trust me, thinking about everything is the hardest approach to reach an idea.
The very first thing you must care about is the audience. Game design for kids and adults is very different. You can’t satisfy all people, the best job that you can do is to satisfy a category of people in the best possible way. Know your target audience and all about them.
|In the early days of designing DD Alpha Balls, we were not sure about target audiences. So we thought about more than 3 ideas which wasted our time. Some guys believed the game should be for kids because they don’t have a wide vocabulary and they will learn many words by playing the game.
This was while most of our game players on the website were 18-35 years old technology lover people. How far we were!
When you know who is the game for you can define game elements easily. This helps you to reach a great idea faster.
Testing Game Idea
In the above sections, I explain that you have to know about your team’s abilities and design the idea that they have to struggle with fewer challenges during the development process.
For this purpose, you must test parts of your idea that are likely to be a challenge for the team. It will not only be a technological or programmatic test, if you are smart you can feel the Gameplay.
|When I reached the basic idea of DD Alpha Balls I worried about circles physics in the Construct 3 game engine. The best way to know was a simple prototype that didn’t waste my colleague’s time.
I can’t remember how much time he spent to create a prototype (I swear it didn’t exceed half a day) but when I played, everything I thought could be a problem looked good except for the idea… I changed a big part of my idea tomorrow!
If the idea is the head, the design is the heart of game development and As a game designer, you have to encounter tons of issues from thinking about ideas to the last day of the project.
In this article, I tried to express a little part of designing games issues. From Idea to just before the documentation phase.
I also suggest some techniques to create and reach a better idea and how to do it faster and more compatible with your team skills.
I tried to explain all notes with the help of experiences of the latest game which was created in our team.
What Is the Next Step?
There are millions of ideas that no one cares about, Because they have to convert to a tangible visible model. If you want to own an idea don’t leave it but make it real.
Therefore once you complete your idea everything will start. You need to map your idea to team members’ brains. As a game designer, you have to show your thoughts in your mind on paper. Remember everything that is set in this part will change hardly.
At the next step, I will tell you about how to model your idea and make an infrastructure to build your project.
You can read the next article “How to Make Game (Part 2: Documentation)” in the DoonDookStudio blog. Once that is ready I put the link here. I suggest you do not miss the next post.