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Author Topic: Getting Ready  (Read 3410 times)
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Richard Marks
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« on: October 22, 2008, 04:12:39 PM »

Here is a mix of some things from a very good book called GAME DESIGN and ARCHITECTURE by Andrew Rollings and Dave Morris.
I felt the need to post this here for the benefit of the members.

There are three important phases of the creative process that a game designer should know.

  • Analysis
  • Evaluation
  • Justification

Let's have a look at Analysis.
This is when you need to deconstruct and criticize your idea.
Ask yourself the following questions (and any others you think of)
  • What is the game genre?
  • Which existing games most closely resemble your concept?
  • In what ways are you proposing to do things in a similar fashion?
  • In what ways are you going to do things differently?

Next up is Evaluation.
You need to figure if your game will be different enough. Just because a feature is unique does not mean it should be included. Now is the time to make sure that the features you have are worth the time.
Ask yourself these questions for each and every feature in your game:
  • Will this feature be fun? (The #1 most important question)
  • Will this feature lead to good gameplay?
  • Why hasn't anybody used this feature before? (Are you certain that you are the first to attempt it?)
  • Is it realistic to expect the development team to be able to implement the feature?
  • Will the feature be easily worked? (The player will not want to struggle with complicated controls)

This is where you need to figure a reason for your project, and all of its features.

Nonlinear Level Design

It's my belief that the best level design is not linear and instead allows for interactivity.
Linear level design requires that the player must tackle problem A, then problem B, and so
on. The way to solve each problem might still be interesting, but the linear structure precludes
the possibility of strategic thinking, whereby the order in which you tackle the problems is an
interesting gameplay element in its own right.

A good game should allow for tactics (short-term decision such as which gun to use to take out the guard) and
strategy (long-term decisions such as which path to take to lead you to victory). Following the thesis that
level design should provide an opportunity to showcase the game's merits and not close off valid
choices, a nonlinear approach is the best way to achieve this.

However, designing interesting nonlinear levels isn't easy. It requires a good underlying game system,
and it requires the designers to just "let go." You will have to trust that the game itself is more interesting
than the puzzles the designers might devise. This is an act of faith that is only justified if the design
contains good gameplay.

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