Reflecting On My Role As A Game Designer

Well here I am staring at yet another ‘blank sheet of paper’ reminding me of my dilemma, just a short time ago, over having to design some type of analogue game from scratch. I can recall how clueless I imagined I was with little or no idea as to how to go about it.  As I reread my posts written during the gestation, creation and application periods of the game I can see my progression, sometimes meagre and at other times taking amazing leaps and I feel a pleasant sense of satisfaction that I have actually produced an artifact that has not only pushed me way outside of my comfort zone but that I have also manufactured something of value.

What began as a very vague idea based around time travel, my ‘dilemma’ developed into an interesting concept which played with the idea of time travel and about how one could move around in time through wormholes as well as including an environmental strategy. However, even though at this stage I have completed a working prototype, I feel that the mechanics of the game don’t  compliment the theme and it falls short of its goal of trying to convey the complexities of time travel. Playtesting has assisted with rectifying some of its shortfalls but I feel as though time itself is working against me in that I don’t have enough of it to bring this project to a point that I would consider adequate (that could take years).

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First Prototype

I do have a certain amount of wonderment that I managed to implement some mechanics that got the characters moving around the board and the first round of playtesting did just that with the round being concluded in roughly twenty minutes, including the setup. Feedback at this stage was that the game was too simple. This led to a bit of tweaking and the addition of resource sticks. These could be purchased with ‘enersave’ cards which had a numerical value from five to twenty five. It was surprising how this small adjustment could make such a difference to the complexity of the game with the second round of playtesting swelling out to forty five minutes allowing even a little strategizing to occur. What started as a simplistic race game had begun to develop into a game with greater complexity added to an already high level of abstraction.

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Tweaking the Prototype Stage Two

As I have discussed previously, writing the rules was not a task that I really enjoyed and it is one that still needs attention. I imagine that I will try to be as imaginative as possible within the given timeframe as I would like the rules to reinforce and expand upon the wormhole theme. Artwork can be collected from the internet as this is only a prototype and at this point I still need to include new rules that have been created due to design iterations. As I sit here trying to think what else I can add to this reflection, I suddenly thought about the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) which posits that design is much more efficient and effective if it is kept in a simple form without added complexity. So with that in mind and keeping with the theme of abstraction, I shall finish my reflection.

KeepItSimple

But wait! I just want to add that I AM A GAME DESIGNER after all!.

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