Hey-o! Another month in the bag. Holy impending deadlines, Batman! My school project, RPG Library, is maybe 70% done. I need to finish out the quest system and port it to HTML. The quest system I feel pretty good about. Most of the quests don’t have a lot of moving parts. There is a bug where once you complete a quest the icon sticks around. So, that’s mostly grunt programming and design.
The porting to HTML can die and burn in a hell of its own creation (likely without text and a bucket full of timeout errors).
“My name is Daniel and I volunteered to make my teams GDD.”
So I tried making my project on loose Google Docs, Trello, and Spreadsheets alone. I failed. Now I have a Game Design Document. Besides the fact that I feel so accomplished that I think I can just upload it to Steam now, I feel like I am on the path to not-failure.
After talking a lot about game design I thought I would discuss some practical project planning aspects this week. To start I wanted to discuss feature creep and setting goals. One of the most important things we did to help get our studio going was to set a very attainable bar for our game.
On an earlier entry, I talked about Far Away Land RPG’s co-op world building tool. I played a session with a bunch of friends and used the results to create the backstory for a Sleepy Dev project. We’re still checking legal claims and such on the project’s name to make sure it is clear for our use–so I can’t announce it just yet but I can share the lore my friends and I created (which I promptly stole… er, borrowed) for it.
Our game takes place in a world called Tavern and this is its history so far. It only goes to the Seventh Age because I had to leave around then. However here is what I know so far of the world in a sort-of historical fashion. This co-op storytelling helped get me out of my writer’s block funk that I had been for the project.
I’ve been working on an intellectual property for several years now that is a comedy fantasy world. We chose to work within it for our upcoming twin-stick-shooter. The setting was always murky because to us it was just where things happened. That was okay for a while but it quickly became problematic when I was designing levels.
What places were around the area? What what the culture? Who were the gods? Were their gods?
All these questions were holding back my design. Even when I was designing I would create hollow unfinished gamescapes. Worse yet–I was drawing a blank on how to create a functional(ish) world in a comedy setting. That is, until I started playing Far Away Land with some friends.
Or a really pretentious way of saying “does your game work?” This is something that is important to me on a design level: is the game fun and does it do its job? Which in this case is be fun. To find out what is fun and what isn’t for my games I try the game out, watch others try it out, tweak rules, play again, play games like my game, and repeat. Play testing is a never-ending cycle of assessment in ludology.