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Subject: Why I Hate All My Designs rss

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Agent J
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So, here I am, sitting here, desigining again, and suddenly it dawns upon me why every game I design is totally crappy.

Designing is fun because it's fun to design clever mechanisms to keep track of and do certain things.

Playing is fun because it's fun to make decisions and work within that mechanism.

When I'm designing, I'm focused on the cool mechanisms instead of all those interesting decisions that are supposed to come out of it!

So I'm ignoring the part that is going to make the game fun to play in favor of having fun designing.

This doesn't make designing any less fun, of course, but it does make playtesting suck, and may be why I end up with a ton of incomplete designs instead of good games.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share my epiphany, and now I'm going back to designing awesome mechanisms that will hopefully make for some interesting decisions, but probably won't.
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Michael Barlow
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Why not invest in a Piecepack set, so you have a nice set of stuff to fiddle with your mechanisms. Or a standard card deck or those plastic pyramid things...
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Matt Loomis
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First of all... love the avatar!

You've hit the nail on the head though. I'm sure we've all had the moments during playtesting a game where you see people struggling/hating your "clever" mechanism or solution to some perceived problem. But that's also one reason why playtesting is so important. Our jobs are to create clever/seamless solutions to problems that the players have, not the problems that we have as designers. It's a weird line, but when you succeed, it feels great!
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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I'm just glad I finally nailed down why things keep going wrong. At least, one reason. I'm working on a game and I keep thinking, oooo, cool mechanism... then thinking more about it and wondering if it isn't too complex. Well, less wondering, more knowing.
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Greg
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I think that a good mechanism makes players think "that's a good mechanism" but a great mechanism goes unnoticed.
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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x_equals_speed wrote:
I think that a good mechanism makes players think "that's a good mechanism" but a great mechanism goes unnoticed.


I'd be happy with an ok one for now.
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John A. White
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x_equals_speed wrote:
I think that a good mechanism makes players think "that's a good mechanism" but a great mechanism goes unnoticed.


Not always true...
Tzolkin's Way cool Mechanic has no Bering on the game as a whole. It is the sum of the other parts that equal the overall value.

It should not be judged on that mechanic of automating fiddley movement work. It should be judged on the amount of time investment to understand it and work with it.

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I know you seek the true value of a game, unique decision points. Failing in this regard and trying to get there puts you right in there with EVERYONE that knows what it is all really about in Pro Board game Development. Maybe just place a higher value on your good games when you make that kind of break through!

What you are after is found through original mechanics. Figure out what the results are (what the mechanic naturally renders) then develop contrasting/random secondary Mechanics, think "bottlenecks" ID what others have and what have you built to effect/control them.

I was hopping you were a secondary action/balance designer. I need to partner with a game developer.



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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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aVoidGames wrote:
x_equals_speed wrote:
I think that a good mechanism makes players think "that's a good mechanism" but a great mechanism goes unnoticed.


Not always true...
Tzolkin's Way cool Mechanic has no Bering on the game as a whole. It is the sum of the other parts that equal the overall value.

It should not be judged on that mechanic of automating fiddley movement work. It should be judged on the amount of time investment to understand it and work with it.

Back to Thread
I know you seek the true value of a game, unique decision points. Failing in this regard and trying to get there puts you right in there with EVERYONE that knows what it is all really about in Pro Board game Development. Maybe just place a higher value when you make that kind of break through!

What you are after is found through original mechanics. Figure out what the results are (what the mechanic naturally renders) then develop contrasting/random secondary Mechanics, think "bottlenecks" ID what others have and what have you built to effect/control them.

I was hopping you were a secondary action/balance designer. I need to partner with a game developer.





I wouldn't say I'm NOT a game developer, but I can say I'm not an EXPERIENCED game developer.
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John A. White
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Jythier wrote:
I wouldn't say I'm NOT a game developer, but I can say I'm not an EXPERIENCED game developer.


I am unpublished! so..
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Aaron Bohm
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I would say that, when it comes to solo design, this is probably always going to be the case. You're either going to come up with some interesting bones to a game, or some interesting skins, but rarely both.

Interestingly enough, a lot of games are sold on either but what I find works a ton better is to bounce your idea off of someone else and get them to put in their 2 cents. Many designers use some sort of collaboration or partnership to improve their ideas. Especially if you have a mechanic you like but without anything you'd think would be fun, it might be "fun" for someone to try and add the fun to a mechanic.


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Carl Nyberg
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Not that I have published anything yet, but the difficulty in making the game have good decisions AND good mechanics is why I try to playtest the game in my mind as much as possible before a prototype. What helps with this is to break the mechanic into as simple component parts as possible and test variants from there. Of course, if your mechanic is already really simple this may not work.
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Oliver Kiley
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Jythier wrote:
When I'm designing, I'm focused on the cool mechanisms instead of all those interesting decisions that are supposed to come out of it!

So I'm ignoring the part that is going to make the game fun to play in favor of having fun designing.


Here's what helps me the most during a design process:

(1) Understand + clarify how the game is won. The scoring system "IS" the game - and you should always keep your eye on that. It doesn't mean the scoring system won't change and evolve, but you need to have an idea of where the design is going.

(2) Establish a list of "experiential goals" that describes the type of gameplay you want. What types of tough decisions do you want players to grapple with? What tensions do you want to create? How much long-term versus short-term planning do you want players to do? And so on...

Once you have an understanding of what the point of the game is, how players win, and the type of experience you want to create along the way - THEN you can start playing around with mechanics that meet your design goals.
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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Money!

Product differentiation and quality/quantity investment. Bids on customers. Target markets.

Investments into new markets.

Etc.

I love business but it's hard to make a good game.

I have a business I'm going with now but that could change and that could change the game. Right now I have 4 product lines (two to start, two become available during the game) and 4 customers to sell to in an OEM market, and then an aftermarket area with higher returns but lower volume, which is mostly decided by what the OEMs buy. Basically the trick is to have enough stock for both the OEMs and the aftermarket business that will generate, but one also has to bid against the other players for that OEM business, and sell the OEM on even carrying your product at all.

So one might end up with a whole slew of calculations that will affect the different bids, but perhaps I can make it just price and quality. I really wanted staff management to be involved but that just might not be possible. Here I am cutting features I haven't even tested yet.
 
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Guillaume
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I'm right there with you, Jay.

In the 30+ years I've been playing with game ideas, the reason why I'm still unpublished is because I focus on neat mechanics, that are theme-related, realistic, and coherent, adding stuff to the point where the whole thing becomes unplayable (for those projects that reach play testing phase)

Hopefully I will finally learn my lesson someday. But for my current project, I'll be sure to read and re-read this threads 42 times

Keep on designing !

G.
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DoctorMike Reddy
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This might help:



Basically, the fact that you have the capacity to see the flaws in your designs is what qualifies you to keep going until you are experienced enough to not put them in in the first place, or to react positively to play testing and fix the ones that still sneak through.
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Tom Razo
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DoctorMikeReddy wrote:
This might help:



Basically, the fact that you have the capacity to see the flaws in your designs is what qualifies you to keep going until you are experienced enough to not put them in in the first place, or to react positively to play testing and fix the ones that still sneak through.


Thank you...
 
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R Moore
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DoctorMikeReddy wrote:
This might help:



Basically, the fact that you have the capacity to see the flaws in your designs is what qualifies you to keep going until you are experienced enough to not put them in in the first place, or to react positively to play testing and fix the ones that still sneak through.


Yeah.. thanks for that link.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Oliphant wrote:
Yeah.. thanks for that link.

It IS one of my favourites to show to game design students

DoctorMike
P.S. I love teaching game design. Dream job!
 
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Ryan Twombly
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http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/quote-of-the-mome...

I had a revelation some time ago with one of my designs. I'd solved all the problems -- non-designers don't have a clue how much effort goes into fair, seemingly organic tie-breaking -- but I realized that I had no idea if the game was actually fun.

Math is beautiful only to mathematicians.
 
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Guillaume
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Math is the poetry of life !
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
badge
He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
Avatar
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DoctorMikeReddy wrote:
This might help:



Basically, the fact that you have the capacity to see the flaws in your designs is what qualifies you to keep going until you are experienced enough to not put them in in the first place, or to react positively to play testing and fix the ones that still sneak through.


Finally watched that. Wow. Very discouraging and encouraging all at the same time.
 
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DoctorMike Reddy
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Jythier wrote:
Finally watched that. Wow. Very discouraging and encouraging all at the same time.

My students say that of me sometimes...
 
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
badge
He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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Still sitting on this same design after 3 years. I did work on it some this year, then, I played Arkwright and saw a lot of what I wanted there. I still think I can do something fun with this design that's different, but I probably won't be able to publish it. That's one of my main problems, too... I see things that are like what I was designing, and they do it better. Captains of Industry did this to me as well.
 
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patrick mullen
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I have similar issues. Lately I've been just generating ideas and working on them a short time until I decide that, while promising, I'm not the designer I need to be to develop this idea further right now. I have 2 designs now after a few months of throwing away 20, which I'm willing to put a bit more work into (i.e. actually take past solo playtesting). Maybe you've been holding onto one idea for too long to actually be able to move forward with it?
 
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
badge
He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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Naw, I just have kids.
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