Tuesday, July 29, 2008

regarding the real world

I'm constantly looking at the world in game design terms, but this can lead to lots of excitable trips down dead end paths. Oftentimes, I find:

1. Modeling an interesting real-world decision process in a game does not necessarily result in an interesting game mechanic.

2. Introducing an interesting real-world effect as a rule does not necessarily make for an interesting rule, let alone interesting gameplay.

There's getting inspired, and there's getting distracted. Telling them apart is difficult.

gosh but designing games is hard

I worked for a while on the pirate coop game, and the asymetrical monster city game - and I think both have potential. Lately I've hatched an idea for a strange drafting / sports game that seems to have learned the lessons of previous similar designs. But its proving tough to get past a certain point with these designs.

I think part of the problem is, there is only so much you can do without a playtest group. Furthermore, I think you need hours and hours of playtesting at various levels to make any progress. And while I might have had the possibility of such a group years ago, I didn't take advantage of it, and now the possibility has largely evaporated.

What is the solution? I'm not sure, I suppose I could look for / recruit for a group locally, on craigslist of whatever. Its a bit of an intimidating prospect, but I think a groups of this kind are the only hope for moving beyond the sketches and doodles phase.

But then, is that a goal? The sketches and doodles phase is fun, and maybe that's just where I'll stay. Its a bit useless, but no bigger a waste of time than, say playing video games. And I do feel like I'm honing my sense of what will work and what won't, catching duds earlier in the process, steering designs away from pitfalls I'm learning about.

The latest draft-ball-game is a good example of this - maybe something I'll write up later.