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Author Topic: Different type of contest?  (Read 3246 times)
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Richard Marks
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« on: January 15, 2010, 01:36:56 PM »

I was just thinking of something different for a NOGDUS competition.

Instead of a game development contest, what about a game design contest?

You don't have to PROGRAM a game.
You simply write up a design for a game during the duration of the contest. (Obviously, the more detail and descriptive that you can be, the better)
We then all vote on what we think is the best design.

Every member could then participate, as knowing HOW to make a game wouldn't be a prerequisite.

I think that a 48 hour time period would be good for something like this.
It basically gets you to pull ideas out of thin air and make them solid as fast as possible.

So, what do you think?
Please, don't be too brief in your response. Cool
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xsuicidesn0wmanx
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2010, 03:22:20 PM »

just posting a convo i had with richard on irc, my 2 cents on the topic

[xsu|c|desn0wm[a]nx]
       got your email about game designs, though i do like the idea, its going to be very hard to judge imo
       i say this because many of us already have been writing up designs for years, and theres no telling who started 48 hours ago and who started 48 months ago and just submitted an old idea
[RMarks]
       well that is true, but it goes on the trust and honesty factor
       just like you don't really know if the game that someone submits for a contest was really made during the contest
[xsu|c|desn0wm[a]nx]
       well, i have an idea how to make it more honest
[RMarks]
       lets hear it
[xsu|c|desn0wm[a]nx]
       basically just get some of the judges in here, have a discussion about genres and topics, and brainstorm for a large list of possible 'scenarios'
       and pick 3-5 of those as options for people to base their game design around
       and have them design games based on that
       just like msfts Old Spice contest
       or the doritos contest
       i dont mean go and take something that simple
       like say, make a game design based on breakfast foods
[RMarks]
       hmm
[xsu|c|desn0wm[a]nx]
       and i could make a game like, the war between eggs and bacon for space on your plate
       give them 3-5 basic ideas, and see who can expand on them
[RMarks]
       hahaha
       thats actually pretty cool
[xsu|c|desn0wm[a]nx]
       hopefully breakfast is not a choice cuz i dont wanna design bacon vs eggs
       lol
[RMarks]
       I think you should post your comments on the forum
[xsu|c|desn0wm[a]nx]
       is it ok if i just copy & paste the whole convo?
[RMarks]
       sure
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Mattias Gustavsson
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2010, 05:34:23 PM »

I usually find the gameplay mechanics the most interesting part of a game design - so I would suggest that we come up with a theme for the mechanics, and maybe leave the theme of the gameworld/setting more open... And preferably a more abstract theme, to make the compo a bit more interesting :-) I mean, if we say that the theme for the gameplay mechanics should be "Revenge", or "grandstanding" or "warm vs cold" or "Detection" - just as a few examples - that would open things up for lots of different interpretations, and it would still be tricky to come up with a mechanic based on any one of those concepts.

I dug out something I wrote up a while back, and I thought I'd post it here, as I think it can be useful for this discussion. It's a commentary on how to describe a game idea to get the concept across in a clear way. You might not agree with it of course, so we should certainly discuss it, rather than taking it as gospel Cheesy



Often at various forums on the internet, you get posts from people who have a great game idea, and after attempting to describe it, are met with not-so-encouraging replies. Now, sometimes, the idea just sucks, but I think that quite often, the problem is that the way the idea is described makes it very difficult for readers to visualize what the game is really about.

I suggest that when describing your game ideas on public forums, do it using the following points, in the order listed, and not only will the rest of us be able to "get" your idea, but you might also find that you're actually missing a few parts of the design, which you might actually need to get the idea across. (note: the examples within quotes are meant to illustrate the point - you'll obviously describe it a bit better if you want people to like your idea  Tongue)

1) What is the players objective in the game? What is it he's trying to achieve, on
    a) high level? "complete all the levels and kill the end boss" or "rescue the princess"
    b) lower level? "complete each level by completing the level objective (list example objectives)"
    or "rescue the princess by making it to the exit of each level"

2) What are the main actions (somewhere between 1 to 5 of them) that the player must perform over and over again to achieve the objective? "Run to the right, until you get to the exit"
  If a game is good, there's only a few main mechanics, which are used over and over again in a lot of situations and with lots of variation. It can be a challenge to describe the actions in a way which is generic enough that you get it down to such a low number, but it is essential in order to get a consistent and well thought-through game.

3) What is stopping the player from performing the main actions of point 2? In games, it's almost more important to define what you CAN'T do then to define what you can do. Look at chess for example: How much fun would that be if both players could move any piece in any way they like at any time? Example: "There's enemies patrolling each level. The player must evade by jumping over them, or land on top of them to kill them. If the player is hit too many times, he will die and start over".  
  If the player need to build up their character, by powerups/leveling/equipment, that could also be mentioned here (or in point 2) - but only the fact that he has to do it, not how it works in detail.


It is by balancing points 2 and 3, while keeping point 1 in mind, that you can construct a well functioning game


4) What are other fun things in the game? Things that are not necessary to win the game, but which will enhance and improve the experience? This might be a bit larger section than the other three, because here is where you describe things like story, characters, special weapons, game world etc.


A lot of peope are tempted to start their description with the things in point 4, as they usually think of them as the "cool" bit. But if you haven't supplied information about points 1 to 3 first, it will be very difficult to put the "cool" stuff in context, and you'll must likely get the forum equivalent of blank stares in the best case, or get flamed in the worst case.

Anyway, that's my take on how to best describe a game idea properly. Any other takes?
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xsuicidesn0wmanx
Guest
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2010, 07:02:55 PM »

I usually find the gameplay mechanics the most interesting part of a game design - so I would suggest that we come up with a theme for the mechanics, and maybe leave the theme of the gameworld/setting more open... And preferably a more abstract theme, to make the compo a bit more interesting :-) I mean, if we say that the theme for the gameplay mechanics should be "Revenge", or "grandstanding" or "warm vs cold" or "Detection" - just as a few examples - that would open things up for lots of different interpretations, and it would still be tricky to come up with a mechanic based on any one of those concepts.


I wouldnt call that gameplay mechanics as much as i would call it part of the plot or storyline.  "Revenge" is storyline.

I would interpret gameplay mechanics as the way in which a player interacts with the real time simulation, for example...

In Assassins Creed 2, players can run along the roof tops, climb to the top of towers, and dive to safety using the "eagles dive" to jump from a deadly height into a pile of hay or leaves.

Running along the rooftops, thats a gameplay mechanic.


Also, to add to the OT, another idea i had for judging at least.  Maybe it would add some some level of depth and challenge if part of the requirements was to make a game design that would be possible to complete under a realistic time-frame.  such as 6 months to up to 2 years.  otherwise i can garuntee you i can pull some really amazing sounding tech babble that realistically would take a team of 100 over 5 years to complete. which isnt very feasable in todays world &/or market
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Mattias Gustavsson
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2010, 02:09:23 AM »

Nah, I probably explained it poorly, but my point was specifically to choose an abstract concept for the mechanics - for example, "Revenge", and then the challenge would be to come up with mechanics based on that concept.

For example, if you made a platform game, where you couldn't kill the opponents until they had done something to you, that would, in a way, be basing it on revenge. So the player would have to make sure they took damage from each enemy, but try and keep it to a minimum - and never miss any health packs Tongue

So that's what I mean by picking a theme for the mechanics, and leave the theme of the gameworld/setting/plot/storyline open.


I think it would be good to have a much shorter timeframe in mind for the design - maybe aim for designing a game which can be completed in a week - or maybe even a weekend. Making a detailed game design is a big job, so best not to take on something huge. And additionally, if the design is for a small game, there's a chance that maybe someone will make a game from one of the designs for another future compo?
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