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MCA keeps on Blogging

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MCA keeps on Blogging

Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Tue 6 April 2010, 20:48:38

Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

... and sharing his insights with those willing to listen.

<p style="margin-left:50px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;border-top-color:#ffffff;padding:5px;border-right-color:#bbbbbb;border-left-color:#ffffff;border-bottom-color:#bbbbbb;">How do you go about getting ideas into a cohesive format? And what methods do you use to start narrowing down what makes for a better design?

- Write one sentence about your game, tell it to someone you trust, then study their expressions to see if they get the hook. Repeat this to various people until you have a good sampling. Ideally, any game you do should be cool enough to explain why it's cool and fun in one sentence. If not, you may need to rethink the game... or the sentence.

- Even better, draw a sketch about your game and gameplay and show it to someone - if that immediately communicates why the game is fun, that's good. The reason I say sketch of the game is because I would play Psychonauts or Deathspank solely by looking at a character concept shot. Shallow, I know.

- After the steps above, choose 3 things about your game that you want to be the coolest things about it, and choose the priority of those cool things (1st, 2nd, and 3rd or A, B, and C priority). Do not choose more than 3. Arguably, I wouldn't recommend choosing more than one cool thing for your first outing - keep it manageable (see below).

- Once you have the coolest of the three ideas, do what you can to prototype that element first. Keep design documentation to a minimum until you get something working on screen, and the sooner, the better. (Doing design documentation, formulas, stat charts, etc. and even the story usually ends up being worthless once a sampling of the mechanisms and content are actually in the game - it's more important to get the basics in and be able to easily iterate on it). Also, don't have the tweakable numbers or the gameplay solely in the hands of programming, make sure they can expose the mechanics and values to you so you can play around with them. This is not to cut programming out of the loop, it's done so you don't have to bother them every single time you want to adjust the sword swing speed by a a few milliseconds.

- If you can't program or don't know enough about a toolset engine to do it yourself, grab a programmer who's excited about your idea. Then bring them cookies to help you out, if need be.

Spotted at: GB

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