View Full Version : Game DESIGN Challenge?

24-06-2013, 07:13 AM
It may be a little while before we get into another PGD Challenge or Jam. So I thought I'd ponder an idea with you guys (and gals, I know of at least 1 here!) about what other types of challenges we could do. And please do tell me if you like mixing it up at all. I know sometimes people do like to keep it straightforward and simple and I'm up for that too. I'm just playing with ideas right now.

What do you guys think of having a Game Design challenge that focuses on the design of a game rather than any of the development. Meaning no programming or generating of game content or assets, just writing, drawing sketching all your ideas about your game into a small PDF or word document of some kind.

For some, this is where a lot of the real creativity comes into it. Programming and creating content that goes into it is really the hard part, but also where you see it realized. It's also where a lot of your bigger or wilder ideas get thrown out too. But just focusing on the creative aspect and looking at ideas for games and then having a finding a way to "score" them if we can might be interesting. What would the categories for that kind of competition or jam be like? Complete-ability, Understandability, Never-Done-Before, Awesomeness?

And what if the best one got picked as the basis for the following challenge? The double prize could be that not only does your game get picked, but that it gets made by a whole bunch of teams with their own individual take as well! Ever wonder what Diablo might have been like if Bethesda made it instead? Or what Halo would have been like if Sega had made it?

The best part of a challenge like this, I humbly think, would be that the only limitations you good folks would have is that of your own ability to draw/write/sketch/mock-up you own ideas before the creation process starts to mangle it and push it into a totally different direction.

24-06-2013, 09:12 AM
Hmm...interesting idea, not sure how well it would work practically though...

24-06-2013, 06:59 PM
So many great ideas, so difficult to explain them.

And to be honest I'm not sure if I even want to explain them. Why is that?
Back around 1998 I had a great idea for making racing simulator whose physics would be done using nodes and beans. I got this idea after playing firs DOS based Bridge Builder. At that time I still had no programing knowledge at all. And when several years later I found out that someone actually made a game using my idea (they come to same idea by themselves) it literally made me cry. The game I'm talking about is Rigs of Rods.
I was literaly mad to the ROR developers becouse they managed to do this before me for quite some time. Later on I did contacted them asking about which programming language they used and was quite disapointed when I learned that they used Phyton. Why? Becouse Pythons has similar sytax to C and C-like syntaxes seems quite unlogical to me. If the ROR would be made with Objective Pascal I would certainly do everything in my power to convince original developers of ROR to accept me into their team.

So you probably understand why I'm not eager to share my ideas becouse I'm afraid that someone would go and beat me with it.

25-06-2013, 04:53 AM
You know I think I have a scenario that comes pretty close to what your talking about. Have you ever heard of a game called Mythica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythica)? (canceled game to be published by Microsoft) Well I doubt you've heard of the original RPG game called Mythica. :P I had designed an RPG game of the same name back in my mid-highschool years (it wasn't very good nor did it develop very far) and had gotten far into the development of the story. (not the actual game it's self!) Well wasn't I delighted that Mythic Entertainment was suing Microsoft over the name it's self. >:( Where is my cut jerk-faces! lol

I had created the game before the internet was "a thing" at least anywhere as close a thing as it is now. Had I was able to post all about it on YouTube, Facebook and my own website I probably could have written a letter and sued the pants off of both these guys. :P Seriously! Sure that game might have been similar to what you were going to create, but I seriously doubt that they put on their evil costume and a pair of sinister eyebrows and mustache and copied your own game's details word for word. Just like Microsoft and Mythic Entertainment didn't follow me around my highschool (probably for legal reasons! :P) listening for that golden name for an RPG game.

Now, seriously no one is going to steal your game out from under you. AND if you do have a "great" game idea, and don't we all, then the best way to instill that YOU are the originator of that idea is to tell everybody about it. The worst thing you can do is to keep it locked in a secret box under your bed that only you and your pet fluffy knows about it. Why?!? If you are so scared that someone is going to rip you off then look at all those other games that were ripped off. How do you know who came out with the idea first? They told everyone about it and they didn't keep it a secret! Do you really want to secretly know that that dude over there came up with YOUR idea, but because you were hiding the fact that you came up with it first no one will believe you. There's no proof then, right? :)

The last reason that I'm going to address (and there are lost more, but I could go on forever) is because if you really like designing games and enjoy it, are you really only ever going to make just the one? You'll come up with hundreds and thousands of ideas and you'll forget about half of them. (Maybe until you are reminded of one that someone else had too and became successful recently?) I don't think anyone that enjoys designing games or goes as far as trying to get a career as a "game designer" should shy away from showing off your designs, it isn't very constructive or useful to them.

In fact it is definitely more useful to get the feedback and the recognition than to hide it and live in the fear of ownership of similar or like ideas. So share your game designs and ideas (when the are finished of written/drawn out so they make full sense sure!) and stop living in useless fear. Grow learn and be better for it!

Here is a great video of Top 10 Tips for Game Designers geared towards board games, but 100% applicable to video/computer games...


If this video isn't enough to convince you, go watch any one of thousands of talks and sessions about game design topics and they will give you the exact same advice.

Actually here is another great one that might help you learn how to promote your projects as an indie...


I recommend watching the whole thing, especially if you are interested in making a living or a career--indie or "professional"--in games. But if you want to get to the point of why I posted it here skip ahead to 42:50.

WARNING: Language is a big mature! (There Is said it kids, don't tell your mommies on me!)

Seriously, I used to think that way myself and everything that I'm reading, watching and taking courses on is telling me that I really should change my ways and start to share my ideas for my own good. And so I try to do so.

25-06-2013, 08:45 AM
The worst thing you can do is to keep it locked in a secret box under your bed that only you and your pet fluffy knows about it.

Locked in a box? Not safe enough. :) Locked in my head? Now that is safe enough :D

No seriusly I'm not in the mood for sharing my ideas becouse I'm slowly becoming confident that I can make theese ideas on my own. I just had to overcome one of my biggest problems now (designing UI).
I already have bits and pieces for athleast three of my ideas but so far none of them has any usefull GUI. So for seeing if that idea realy works I output huge amount of text which only I understand :D

Anywhay while from my previous post it probably seemed that me learning out that ROR uses "my" idea has killed my motivation I can asure it is right on a contary. ROR is actually giving me motivation. I had great idea, someone else got to the same great idea and make it work. And it works like a charm.
This means that my other ideas could also work like charm. And that is why I want to make them myself since it would make me even more proud on my acomplisment.

I know that such thinking can be counterproductive as it hinders me from finding someone who maybe has similar idea and would like to work with me on it. But for now I will stick to it.

25-06-2013, 11:32 AM
I don't think anyone would steal your ideas. Any game developer can tell you that he can more ideas than he is capable of making.

11-07-2013, 01:40 PM
Locked in a box? Not safe enough. :) Locked in my head? Now that is safe enough :D

Well good luck with that. ;) Personally, I'm not interested in using your ideas, because I have lots of my own. And my ideas are more fun to me than yours are to you. Most game designers are the same. (Save for maybe these rare weirdos you talk about?) Your approach is kind of on the side of paranoia if I can be really honest with you. Someone that would steal an idea from "some guy" that doesn't have a sure shot to mass fortune is just sad and anyone like that should be disregarded as a fool. And that's how you should be dealing with it rather than hiding in the shadows like your protecting state secrets.

Sharing ideas can be fun so I like the idea of sharing instead of looking over my shoulder while I code. ;)

My goal is to let the gaming world know what a Jason McMillen game is like, not trying to lay that one golden egg. It's not going to happen with my first outing. I'm planning for longevity rather than a "winning the lottery" scenario. Those that do this will have much more success by going commercial with their games. (Which is the only sense that I can make of your intense concerns at all.)

Moving onto more interesting topics however...

Now this concept wasn't about going commercial, it's about sharing fun game design ideas. (A thinking exercise.) I think it would be an interesting jam-type competition. It would be really interesting to take the winning game design to a second stage where people form teams and try to faithfully create that design into a game. Seeing all the different takes on a single set of design specs would be really neat.

The fun part of the design documents is that it doesn't have to be some boring endless blobs of text, you can draw out your ideas visually on graph paper and illustrate how you envision it on the screen. Of course you would need some description and the more complete concept that tells the full game rather than incomplete ideas would have a better chance of winning of course. You can't design a game from an incomplete vision after all. (Maybe if you are working by yourself, but the idea is that others need to "see it" too!)

Now what would be a good motivator for such a contest. Ideas?

11-07-2013, 03:03 PM
I have to be honest - when concidering game design as defined, I've not given it hardly enough thought as I could of done.

I either have a story I'd like to tell (as a fiction book is a story) or I have 'game-mechanics' in mind that I'd like to play with (IE minecraft style, Elite space style)

Actually thinking about the specifics is something I've not yet done, how will the players life work? is it a fixed amount that decreases? is it the 'recovery' style used in call of duty?

If it's a FPS, will there be goals? switches to pull? monsters to shoot?

It seems a lot trickier than it appears at first glance!

13-07-2013, 07:03 AM
I either have a story I'd like to tell (as a fiction book is a story) or I have 'game-mechanics' in mind that I'd like to play with (IE minecraft style, Elite space style)

Actually thinking about the specifics is something I've not yet done, how will the players life work? is it a fixed amount that decreases? is it the 'recovery' style used in call of duty?

That's essentially it. One could define game design as create an experience or series of experiences for the player(s).

It seems a lot trickier than it appears at first glance!

It's not overly hard if you take the time to think it out in your head. It's not possible to have all the values and exact mechanics and game element interactions thought out in your head at the beginning. Instead start with your idea and let it evolve as you play around with it and look at examples of other games and influences that give you inspiration.

Designing a game is an ever evolving process. From the beginning to the end, the "plan" will get changed at least a whole bunch of times. Unless you are some kind of freak brilliant genius savant. ;)

Each game should have some kind of pre-development phase, or a early design phase if you will. This is where you throw all your "super awesome ultra brilliant wow amazing what if" stuff at it and see what sticks and what turns out to be horrible for your game as you get to the actual intended shape that your game will take. Some of this is trial and error. Some of this is your inner genius coming through. :)

It can get a little artsy fartsy, but that's the whole point it's pure creativity in this part.

My idea is to have a competition based on this pre-development phase planning of designing a game. Let the best one be taken and used to serve as a framework for a follow-up competition.

The idea is that the early game design would start out as a "plan" from the start and turn into all these different outcomes and each developer's take on the original concept. It would change and all of the games would be different, yet share the same core.

It would be interesting to see how many different directions each team would go on it.

18-07-2013, 09:33 PM
It would be interesting. Could give people the opportunity to get feed back on their ideas and stuff.
I am not sure if I would join. I really am not the planning guy. Would be cool to see what people come up with though!

"super awesome ultra brilliant wow amazing what if"
or "Stuff I think is superb and great, and will cause world peace and everything, but actually sucks". :(


20-07-2013, 02:11 AM
A game design plan can be as simple as some doodles or a neat sketch on piece of grid paper or a napkin with some labels and a short descriptive blurb of text to go with it.

It could end up being more of an idea factory jam than a real competition to be honest. Depends on the interest.