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Subject: Too Many Ideas! rss

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Odd Hackwelder
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First of all I am not posting this to say look at me, I'm so awesome. I am a teacher, I like to share ideas and inspire people. I have also been a graphic designer for 23 years, this is my life.

https://www.facebook.com/Hackogames

I am a very prolific game designer so far. Over 50 games in 6 months. I also do all the art. The problem is, it is hard to finish a game if you are always coming up with a new idea. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it's a problem. I like to enter design contests because I have to finish them, well close to finished. How about you? Do 30 games floating in your head, hurt your brain? It helps to write stuff down. I did that once before. Haha.

My art and graphic design.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/hackwelder/sets/

Please ask questions.
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Tim Murray
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Re: Check out how I design games!!!
How do you find time to playtest 50 games in 6 months?
I've only managed to get about 7 playtests of 1 game in the few months I've been playtesting it. Everytime it's tested, I go back and rework something that I didn't like.

How is it feasible to produce quality with such huge quantities?
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Steven Tu
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Re: Check out how I design games!!!
I have many ideas, and unfortunately I don't get time to playtest them all. Even a little :/

So yes, do you have a dedicated group? Or do you just kinda... Have ideas and not test them? Or are you actually... That holy grail full time... WITH PARTNERS!?

You do a heck of a lot of art too. Wow dude.
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Jeremy Lennert
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Re: Check out how I design games!!!
Most designers have more ideas than they have time to make.

So...your strategy for coping with that fact is to make roughly 2 games per week?

I can see how that would make it hard to finish anything.
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Gregg Jewell
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Re: Check out how I design games!!!
Starting out, I had a lot of ideas and couldn't finish one before thinking of a new one.

This still happens, but not to the same extent it used too. Lately, I have been circling back to my older "stuck" ideas instead of coming up with new ones.

This tames my "designer" needs while slowly making progress on existing projects.
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Odd Hackwelder
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Re: Check out how I design games!!!
Tim - the answer to your first question is I don't sleep much and the answer to your second question is experience.

Steven - I am in a game designers group we play test once a month.
I also teach 3 board game classes a week and I test them on my students.

Jeremy - my strategy is, if I have an idea, make it into a started project so I can go back and look at it later. If i just wrote the idea in a book it might get lost or forgotten.

Gregg - Yes I can see that. I do circle back. What I need is a reason to finish one. That is why I like contests. It pushes me to take ideas further. For me though, I don't think it will ever stop popping out new ideas. Because it is like that for me as a graphic designer and a painter/artist. I have designed about 3000 logos. My main focus for many years.

The key is to start simple.Half of the games I play test in my head and that's all I need.I know that is hard to believe, but that is just for playability.
You will always need to play test to see if people enjoy it.
I do get a chance to play these games at play test meetings but some of them have only been played once or twice.

Some of the games take other games and change them enough to be it's own game. This is a difficult task for a game designer. You don't want your game to be a copy of another. When I make games super simple I'm not even sure if it's been done before. There are so many games out there, it is possible. So there is a bigger challenge in simplicity.

It's extremely hard to keep all the rules straight in my head for 50 games. I have to admit I have lost my idea for a game a few times.
My game moogoo people was played at a game convention and my fellow designers made great suggestions and I totally lost it, sucks.
I know I should write everything down, but things get hectic.


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Odd Hackwelder
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Re: How I design games!!!
MicroStack Games wrote:
Shouldn't some of those games be play tested more than once or twice?

I've seen some games on kickstarter that have been under development for 2 or 3 years and have been tested hundreds of times.

Why not just focus on a handful instead of 50? Save the others for later as Gregg mentioned.

Even if they are micro games...anyways your passion and efforts are impressive. Keep up the good work and welcome feedback


The games that have been played once or twice maybe are ones that are being saved for later. If they are good they will progress given the timing and situation. Your contest is an example microstack, i have some to enter, your deadline is not close enough, I need pressure to make me work. Too many other things.

I think about a lot of things when I design games. For example my printer can make 77 square cards on a sheet. I have 3 games with square cards. So when I have enough to properly fit the cards on a sheet, I can do a print run and make 5-6 games at once. When that time comes I will have to work hard to finish all those games.

I am also a painter, I have made over 1000 paintings. There are over 30 different series/styles. Sometimes when i had an idea I would go buy canvas, paint the background and draw an outline sketch. It would take a lot of time to finish everything, so at least the idea is started. If I am asked to do an art show, I can go back and finish it for the show.
 
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Todd Zircher
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Re: How I design games!!!
Hackogames wrote:
It's extremely hard to keep all the rules straight in my head for 50 games. I have to admit I have lost my idea for a game a few times.
My game moogoo people was played at a game convention and my fellow designers made great suggestions and I totally lost it, sucks.
I know I should write everything down, but things get hectic.

I keep a Mead journal on hand for jotting down ideas and to-do lists. I've filled several of them up that way. It's a good habit to get into because it is also a way to measure progress and re-visit ideas.
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TAZ
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Odd Hackwelder
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Re: How I design games!!!
zircher wrote:
I keep a Mead journal on hand for jotting down ideas and to-do lists. I've filled several of them up that way. It's a good habit to get into because it is also a way to measure progress and re-visit ideas.


I have journals too, but I usually don't write in them while playing, I should start.
 
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Odd Hackwelder
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Re: What I do as a game designer is pretty crazy!!!
I wonder who has designed the most games in one year. I guess fished and published are different stories too. If you do microgames like I do it is easier to do more.
 
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Jon Moffat
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Re: What I do as a game designer is pretty crazy!!!
I think the "too many ideas to finish all and when I try another idea muscles into the brain" problem is fairly common in creative types.

I've found that other people become vital in paring down to a few priority projects (not that I toss out other ideas, I just shelve them). If you think a game through and get excited about it, then prototype it and nobody has fun playing it or it just doesn't 'click' with people the way you intended... there's a point at which it just doesn't merit my limited time.
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Koen Hendrix
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This is a common problem I think. I love wearing my Creative hat, where lots of ideas pop up, and I work on the cool stuff, and everything is great. After a playtest or two the game's problems become less creative, and if I'm still wearing the Creative hat, I might just jump to another cool idea.

But to get games published, you need to wear the Project Manager hat. Someone whose priority it is to Finish Stuff. Who harshly judges your projects on finishability and sellability.

Learning to wear the Project Manager hat is difficult. Most of us are in it for the love of creating board games, not to be hard taskmasters on ourselves! But I've learned (mainly through my job in the video game industry) that you need to be able to look at your project through non-game-designer eyes.

That's my experience at least.
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Koen Hendrix
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As for the OP's "I've designed 50 games but they're not finished" bit... There's a cool indie video game company called Vlambeer whom I've talked to, and they use a game design approach that might be compatable with yours.

Vlambeer creates LOTS of playable game prototypes. They put them together in about two days. They have an idea for a mechanic or some gameplay core, and they'll create prototype as quick as they can. Dozens in a few months. From those ideas, they'll select the most promising one, and give each of those a few weeks of work. Finally, from these games, they'll select the best and fine-tune and polish it for a year. ANOTHER FULL YEAR. The game is playable, it's being taken to conventions and everything, but it's not released until everything has been perfected and iterated on again and again. And when it is released, it is absolutely glorious.

It sounds to me, Hack, like you create a lot of small games quickly. That's great! I'm sure they are fun to play, but maybe you can look over the best of them and see which ones have the potential for true greatness in them, and focus on just that/those games for a few months.

Anyway, just an idea. You can design games however you like

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Odd Hackwelder
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Koen, Thanks for the wisdom.
I can't stop my ideas and why would I?
That is why I love contests. If it is a good idea it should be clear during the contest. Then I can choose to finish it or just work on it later. I can always go back to them. I am used to designing for deadline, another reason I like contests, pressure, love it. I will finish a bunch of small games and combine them into a set. So the more games I can do now the better, more selection. Also If you look at my logo pages on flickr, you can see I can never do one of anything. Too many ideas!!!
 
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