Thursday, July 09, 2009

Miscellaneous info and observations

Another of my articles (not directly relevant to game design) on GameCareerGuide (you can click the title of this post):

"Industry Hopefuls: Prepare Intelligently" 7 July 09


When it comes down to it, should a designer in playtest stages do what he wants with the rules of play, or what the playtesters recommend? Or what works out for the players in play, which may be a little different than the recommendations he gets?

I believe I'm very receptive to what players suggest (or what I see that they would prefer, as they play). If people take the time to play my game, I ought to be receptive, else why bother? I think playtesters may be more likely to offer suggestions if they know the designer is receptive to them.

I'll contrast this with, say, Microsoft's attitude that they really do know what's best for people, even when people say otherwise. I'm sure they often ignore the computer equivalent of playtesting input. The original huge controller for the XBox is a famous case. So is that Paperclip help in Microsoft Office that drove so many computer users right up the wall--they finally stopped making it the default.

I'll say this: if you're not willing to change your non-electronic game, you're more likely to end up with a "developer" who will change it as he likes regardless of your preferences.


Video game designers tend to say "I know what people will like". Non-electronic game designers tend to say "maybe people will like this, let's see." A harsh person might say that this the difference between the person who thinks he knows and the one who recognizes that wisdom comes from knowing what you do not know. More likely, though, it's a matter of necessity, the video game designer must plan all the details of the game before there's a game to play; the non-electronic game designer can make a playable prototype while still hazy about many of the details.

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