Saturday, May 14, 2016

You MUST be Able to Say WHY Your Game Design is as it Is

(See Patreon note below)

You MUST be Able to Say WHY Your Game Design is as it Is
Dr. Lewis Pulsipher
“Game Design” channel on YouTube

This is especially important if you’re trying to get a job as a game designer
But it’s also important in explaining a game to a potential publisher
(Probably not important for Kickstarter, given how that works)

If You Can’t . . .
If you cannot explain why an element is in the game, why it works as it does . . .
Shouldn’t you take that element out, or change how the game works?
Yes, this could be called an “engineering” point of view
But that’s how most employers and publishers are going to think about game designs
They can’t take on trust that your game is wonderful and they’ll see that sooner or later

Other “Methods?”
Unless the studio is in metric-cloud-cuckoo-land
Then they rely on metrics to determine how they put together their games
And in the extreme, may not hire any “game designers” at all
Metrics should be playtesting guides, not determiners of design
This is no better, no smarter, than those who throw things into a game, like throwing things against a wall, to see if they “stick”
With the metric “method” you get soul-less pandering to the micro-majorities
With “against the wall” you’re inefficient at best

Getting Hired?
If you apply to work in a video game studio, not only must you be able to show complete games;
You must be able to explain why they are designed as they are
Why? Game design is about critical thinking
Employers want to know that you are always thinking about WHY you do what you do
They don’t want to hire someone who cannot explain why
Especially if you’re working with a team

By the “Gut”?
Some designers depend heavily on their gut feelings
Maybe this works well for some; not for most
Unfortunately, “gut feelings” are hard to explain
The result: you might get poor results from employers and publishers, and even from programmers, artists, etc.
Why should they trust your gut feelings, after all?

Most every game involves both intellectual and emotional decisions. But most studios and publishers cannot rely on the inexplicable.

I have finally created a Patreon page to support my YouTube channel and blogging.  For those who don't know, Patreon is much like Kickstarter insofar as it enables individuals to support worthwhile projects. But unlike Kickstarter, this is continuing, monthly, support (at a level as low as $1 a month). Producing a video a week has interfered with my other activities (including text blogs), and may be one reason why it's taking me so long to get Britannia's new edition together. If I can attain a modicum of support via Patreon I can continue to justify the time I'm spending to produce free material. (I'd also like to get rid of the advertising on YouTube.)
I will appreciate any support I receive - and there are a few perks involved, as well. 

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