Game Design Hurdles

A friend of mine is having difficulty. He is, no has, been working on a project for a long time. Years. We could break this project down into the various eras, but when looked at as a whole he has been working on one project the entire time. The problem for my friend is that each time he gets close to being done or a stage that would lead to being done he gets tired of his project or discovers that the current version is not what he wanted to do or is written for other people.

I totally understand his problem. By the way, my friend is not me, well it is me, but not just me. There are many people like my friend or me…you know what you pick whom, who are working on personal projects, but cannot complete them for one reason or another. In this case, I think the issue for us is as follows:

This project is a dream, like opening a business or other life long goal. In this case writing a game manual or creating a game. There is little tangible about creating a game until there is something tangible. It is an odd process, after you have the idea you begin to work on the project. When creating a game who are creating the game for? That is a big question.

  1. Are you creating the game for you because your dream has been to create “the game” or “your game?”
  2. Are you attempting to fix what you see as flaws in another game?
  3. Are you creating the game for a specific audience? If so, who? And better, why them?

I always found myself starting off with 1 or 2 and by the time I was knee deep in creation discovered that I had ended up on the 3. If I started out creating for me, why do I keep ending up creating for other people? I believe it happens because games are supposed to be played by other people. To get other people to play you have to meet their expectations. In meeting their expectations you create for them, not for you.

Once you realize you have created something for someone else the desire wans. I know it does for me. Which is why for the most part the games I create rarely make it past the idea and lots of notes phase. I have a few that have gotten far enough to play, but those I set out with other people in mind. Thus my expectations dovetailed with the reality. I have yet to create “my system,” Building Blocks (which you can find on my portfolio/portfolio practice/and I think on Brainstorm Overload) is the closest I have gotten, but I realized that while I enjoy what I have written, it still is not what I want in a game.

I have gotten over the need to write to an audience and write for myself a long time ago. Creating a game that is just for me, has yet to happen. Inside me there is that dream that my system will be “the” system that people will want to play and because of that dream, I end up, at some point, creating rules with other people in mind. If and when I can leave that dream behind, then I will create a game that was created the same way I write, by me for me.

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4 thoughts on “Game Design Hurdles

  1. I found this as well. As with any creative endeavor, you find yourself wanting to please others while maintaining your creative integrity. It’s a fine line to tread, but at some point you either decide to craft something for a given community, or you do it your way, and neither choice is necessarily a bad one, but it is a decision with which one should be at peace. I’m still not decided on my current projects…

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