On design improvements

“you know this can make a whole blog on its own”

-me trying to figure out what to write.

Unlike every other media out there, videogames have the verry unique posibility of being dynamicaly designed, that is that the plan can change allong the way, and that the complete product could be really diferent from the original idea. To call out an example “The Elder Scrolls” specially the first entry on the saga, “Arena”, was planned as a game where you fought against diferent enemys on a gladiator fashion, and only moved from town to town to get to diferent arenas, however at some point the developers realized that they enjoyed a lot more to explore and mess arround the world so they changed the focus on the game and ended up developing one of the most well known videogames sagas and worlds that just wouldn’t be as fun if they had stuck with the initial design.

However it is vital to note that this is verry diferent than not having an initial design in mind, wich is acording to almost every experienced designer I’ve heard of one of the worst things to do, think of it, how can something evolve if it doesnt exists? it can’t, and if well creating a concept is posible that would render almost certainly your whole previous work useless, perhaps an aset or 2 or an small script but that is all and im pretty sure those would be scrapted later on, anyway.

For the last week I have looked trought the design process of multiple games and media, and working on my own to make sure I can organize a full plan on how to make my dream game and realized just how bad it would have been if i had just went on with the process and figured out things on the go, and while it will change as I go the changes should be small each time and allow me to actually progress. so now i feel a lot more prepared to kick this right and, in a way, I’m almost happy I lost the previous data of my game.

Not long ago I discovered a YouTube channel called extra credits, and would like to recomend you their “Making your first videogame” videos, actually their whole channel, i sat in front of my computer with a notebook and a pencil in hand and watched every video ever made by them taking notes on every tip  that coud be usefull for my particular game, and from that alone i improved a great deal, of course i looked trought a lot of other pages but most of them agree on some points already made on that video:

  1. Keep your scope small, that is to say do something realistic, your first game is not going to be great or even good, it is going to be more of a learning experience, no matter if you are alone like me or have 100 friends helping you out, if it is the first game you make it should be a simple game with a focus on learning how making a game actually works.
  2. Design arround your skils, don’t be afroid of learning other parts, but focus on the things you are good at and enjoy doing, nobody does absolutly everything in a game project and understanding where is better to ask people for help.
  3. Look for help and tutorials on the things that you dont know how to do, if you dont know where to start search for help on the internet, somebody is bound to know exactly what you ask, just organize your thoughts and ask specific questions.
  4. Be consistent, if you do something every day or even every week you are bound to finish eventually, so keep at it and dont get yourself frutrated.
  5. Set small archivable milestones, things you think you can do in a short time, remember you are learning rather than doing, but try to set yourself some milestones just so you can see what you are actually capable of and improve from there, so doesn’t mather if you dont archive the milestones on time, this too is a learning excersise on its own, but can keep you on track.
  6. Get people to try your game, it can be hard when you know you didnt do something great, but once you do something you should get people to try it and embrace the feedback, that is key to do a good game someday, and don’t fear people stealing your ideas, anybody has ideas of their own and you are already closer to archive them than anybody else.
So what does all that mean for my own game? did i ditch the project for until I have the experience? hell no! all I did was change my focus, now the project is way clearer on its bases and can develop on a more realistic way, I intuited most of those things so in a way i had already started but now I am working from the real bases on smaller side projects that help me learn the bassics and latter implementing them I am working bit by bit as ofthen as I can and plan on develop a playable build soon and hopefully release it here it wont be fancy but will be playable, i still expect that it will take me 5 or so years and know it will be big and nicelly done.
There are various things to adjust and specifics to decide but since the main features are completly planned out I should be able to try stuff in no time and then develop the other things, the main isn’t  so simple but i should getting it working on week and a half if i devote myself to it, I wont publish it yet but soon, as for now id like my friends and close familly to try it first.
I guess that is all for now, I’ll see you next week.

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