Game Design: Elements II

By 12/05/2017 Game Design

Now listening to: mirth, laughter and a guitar.

So, back to the drawing board. I’ve got an initial Y-shaped burning tree. I’ve got my stack of fuel cards. And I can already tell that there’s a pretty obvious mistake I’ve made.

I have no idea how this is supposed to work. So I step into the shoes of the first player.

Player 1: I go out in search for wood. (take a burning log)

*draws three cards

(… is it more exciting to not be able to reveal what you found?)

Player 2: I too go out to search for wood. (take burning log)

*draws three cards

(… hmmm, this is the same, isn’t it?)

Player 3: Uh…

BRRRNT! First problem. The third player is out of things to do. Even worse, there’s nowhere to go, strategically speaking. Either you go out and search for wood or… what?

Erase. Again.

So it’s the mechanics, by far, the piece of a game that needs the most attention in the early phases of development. I mean, really, right now? Aesthetics don’t matter. Technology doesn’t really matter unless a lack of it impedes the flow of the game. Story only matters insofar as it inspires interesting mechanics to play around with. Interplay between the mechanics and the story will drive development of the game forward.

If to write a mighty book you need a mighty theme, to develop a mighty game you probably need the same kind of thing, right? A resonant theme. That’s easier said than done. A strong theme drives a strong story, and from a strong story the inspiration for strong mechanics flows. I should get in the shoes of the cavemen and really try to capture what fire meant for them when they discovered it. It meant survival. It meant taking control of nature. It meant man at the top of the food chain. It’s fire that’s made man transcend the monkey and venture into the darkness of the night.

So I need to prey on my players. The hunted need to become the hunters. A victory condition could be to rewrite the food chain with them at the top. That’s interesting. Maybe they get chewed on during the first half of the game. And once fire is discovered, there’s their chance to make a break for it, so to speak.

#10 Holographic Design

#11 Unification

#12 Resonance

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