Game Design

I don’t mind stating the obvious on the ASoOJ blog. It’s because random people stumbling upon this may not be familiar with what it is.

But basically, I really enjoy hobbyist game design. It’s not something I’ve been doing for very long, but nonetheless it’s fun to create your own stuff, and try it out. Obviously, Global Skirmish doesn’t always get the amount of time it deserves, and I think I’m going to experiment with a separate game with a paper prototyping technique. A lot of the stuff I’m doing here are brainstormed ideas, that I jot down and run simulations in my head about. Which are all fine and dandy, but in the long run it’s just creating a slow prototype, as programming all the rules together causes time loss. So I’m still going to work on Global Skirmish, but i think i’m going to try to get a second game with a paper prototype up and running quickly (like say within a week, starting Monday) the only issue with that is I’m going to find some bits to create the game with. Which I guess shouldn’t be a big deal.

My resurgences always come with a reason, and this one is due to Game Design Concepts. I heard about this just before it was about to start, and decided I’d follow along but unfortunately, didn’t decide to sign up. The course has been great, and while originally I hadn’t planned on my buying the primary text, I ended up with it and one of the supplementary readings (and since I already owned the other basically everything). Ian’s writing is great, I wonder how wily veterans feel about it, but for me a lot of ideas that didn’t have formalized names and new concepts, that I hadn’t considered are now flowing. I have been a bit reluctant to take some of the practice challenges very far, but I think I’ll break that ice with my Greenland project that I’ll be starting next week.

I am still looking for jobs however, so I think I will be spending my mornings sifting through job postings, and my afternoons creating worlds. I have been strong on the theme, and could probably write up the whole Story write now. It’s been festering in my head, and I already have an idea of what I want to do. I just need to decide which mechanics I’m going to use, and then take it from there. Another recommendation is a scoping issue. Which as a novice game designer is probably one of my bigger issues (something that GSkirm suffers from) instead of starting simple and building up. I started large, and tried to incorporate everything. I was able to compromise that in GS, slightly but and at this point have a playable demo, but some features that are important for progression are missing, so the game is kind of stuck in the state of “well as soon as I get a bit of a lead, i should be pretty golden”.

I had two main goals for GS. The first was to speed up gameplay from your standard global domination game. Sometimes rolling so many dice is slow. So combat was simplified to a single roll on each side, and a bunch of math to decide how much damage each side took. My other goal is to incorporate some negative feedback. This is done in one way with capping of the points at 6. And the other way was the Badge system, which would allow weaker players, to recover from being beaten early. It’s no fun getting a few bad rolls early and then sitting out the rest of the game. Once the badge system is in place, I may find it’s too tough to win, and may end up with earlier win conditions. I don’t want games dragging out just because everyone is too equal.  Oh well, lamentings of a designer. So with Greenland I’m going to start from scratch and get a game up and built. I think I may need to go find some bits this weekend, so I can start monday off well.

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