Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games

Great Dane Games - all things gamerelated

This weblog is the digital playground for Anders Højsted. I'm a philosopher, indie gamedeveloper, writer & all-round renaissance man.

The Plan

Game DesignPosted by Anders Højsted Fri, October 09, 2009 15:12
It's been a while since I've updated the blog and a lot of things have happened - most of them not game- or design-related. I've been unable to find a design-job in the games-industry in Denmark - although I've been to a few interviews - and with companies folding left, right and centre I'm now competing with a lot of experienced people about the positions, so jobhunting haven't gotten easier.

I'll continue to look for jobs inside or outside the industry and have done a few freelancer jobs, but have decided to start making my own games. I talked to Petri Purho (Crayon Physics) and Kyle Gabler (World of Goo) at the Nordic Game conference in may. They did a very entertaining presentation about being an independent game developer and it could be boiled down to one sentence: Just Do It <TM Nike>.

I feel that I know enough already about PR, distribution, production-management, gamedesign, - all the periferal skills. But I lack in production-skills. I can't program, do art or make audio. I have worked with a few editors; made a few levels in CryEd, some demoes in Gamemaker and a movie in Hammer's Faceposer editor. So I've not completely lost.

So all I need now is a plan. I want to use make projects where I use the process to become familiar with an editor, but also end up with a product.

I've have a mindmap - aptly titled X - where I write down my ideas as I come up with them (I use the open source mindmanager program Freemind). Currently there is 9 categories in it (with corresponding amount of ideas): art (3), analog games (4), books (12), RPG Scenarios (6), Magazines (2), Digital Games (27), Drama (11), Scientif Articles (9) and a catch-all category of Weird Stuff (8).

The Digital Games category is subdivided into Mods(3), Transgenerational Games (3), Demo(11), Full Games(11).

The strategy is to analyse these ideas on two criteria: technical innovation & creatity. Technical innovation is hard to perform as I'm not a programmer yet, so I have to focus on the ideas that can be implemented fairly easy (relative to the editor). Creativity is based on the stuff that's out there, - how novel is the idea? (Se Coming Up With Ideas-post to read about my distinction between innovation and creativity).

I'm starting out with GameMaker; - I'n not quite ready to go 3d yet. I have to use the existing interface (keyboard, mouse), so the concepts I'm looking for is 2d games that can be played with a normal interface, but that are novel in one way or other.

This leaves the following list of concepts:
Apocalypse! - I'll start with this.
Two Hearts
Evolution (this needs more work on the concept; I'm probably going to make a boardgame-prototype)

Apocalypse! is satire and doesn't have commercial potential, Two Hearts might be interesting (especially on WiiWare) and I don't know what the potential is in Evolution. Let's see what happens when I get pluggin'.

My developmentmethod will be rapid prototyping with user tests, combined with early stage concept test (ESCT?) based on the methods we developed in our thesis Big Game: Formalizing Test Methods for Computer Game Concepts.

So there you go :)

A.

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