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Go Go Gadget Game Designer!. Working solo on games in a week. Let’s start with a joke,. So who is this guy?. So who is this guy?. Michael Todd. So who is this guy?. Michael Todd. So who is this guy?. Michael Todd.

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Go Go Gadget Game Designer!

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Go Go Gadget Game Designer!

Working solo on games in a week.


Let’s start with a joke,


So who is this guy?


So who is this guy?

Michael Todd


So who is this guy?

Michael Todd


So who is this guy?

Michael Todd


Blah blah!I’m here to talk about working solo on small games.How small you say? Very small!Games made in 7 days!


Lots of designers have publicly used this design method, Kyle Gabler & Petri Purho both do this, as do a whole bunch of other indie game designers.

But it’s still new on the scene,


Problems

  • No money.


Direct benefits

  • Less pressure

  • Feedback

  • Practice

  • Experimentation

  • It’s fun

  • Finishing stuff

  • Vibrant wackiness

  • Style


Less pressure

- So what, it’s only a week!

- If it’s bad, I don’t need to work on it for too long.


Less pressure

- So what, it’s only a week!

- If it’s bad, I don’t need to work on it for too long.

- Allows risk in gameplay & art style, which allows increased craziness, more personal touches, stronger personal style. You get to try whatever you want.


Less pressure

- So what, it’s only a week!

- If it’s bad, I don’t need to work on it for too long.

- Allows risk in gameplay & art style, which allows increased craziness, more personal touches, stronger personal style. You get to try whatever you want.

- Because there is less pressure, you can try whatever you want. Unlike in the large game companies where games are designed by 10+ designers that design by committee.


Feedback

- Game after game creates a feedback loop, improving each game.


Feedback

- Game after game creates a feedback loop, improving each game.

- Feedback becomes more relevant, because you made the choices less then a week ago, and you will be using the feedback to affect your future choices in less then a week. I learned a lot faster because of this.


Feedback

- Game after game creates a feedback loop, improving each game.

- Feedback becomes more relevant, because you made the choices less then a week ago, and you will be using the feedback to affect your future choices in less then a week. I learned a lot faster because of this.

- Immediate consequences. Miguel told me to learn colour theory, so I did. The next game had better colours.


Feedback

- Game after game creates a feedback loop, improving each game.

- Feedback becomes more relevant, because you made the choices less then a week ago, and you will be using the feedback to affect your future choices in less then a week. I learned a lot faster because of this.

- Immediate consequences. Miguel told me to learn colour theory, so I did. The next game had better colours.

  • - Rapid game design, rapid feedback, rapid improvement.


Practice

- It’s easy to practice programming, artwork or level design. It’s nearly impossible to practice game design. Making games in 7 days is a way to do this.


Practice

- It’s easy to practice programming, artwork or level design. It’s nearly impossible to practice game design. Making games in 7 days is a way to do this.

- Practice improves skill in conceptualizing, foresight & understanding of a project/idea.

This helps reduce the workload on your projects, by decreasing the amount of time spent on unforeseen problems & implications.


Practice

- It’s easy to practice programming, artwork or level design. It’s nearly impossible to practice game design. Making games in 7 days is a way to do this.

- Practice improves skill in conceptualizing, foresight & understanding of a project/idea.

This helps reduce the workload on your projects, by decreasing the amount of time spent on unforeseen problems & implications.

- Some lessons are learned once per project, no matter what size the project is.


Practice 2: Practice Harder!

- Practice vs. Natural talent. Everyone has natural talent, but so what! I’d rather work with someone who works hard and practices to improve, rather then just depending on their natural talent.


Practice 2: Practice Harder!

- Practice vs. Natural talent. Everyone has natural talent, but so what! I’d rather work with someone who works hard and practices to improve, rather then just depending on their natural talent.

- Practice has allowed me to make more in less time, mostly because my ideas have improved to fit my exact situation. They are getting better at exactly matching my resources and capabilities.


Practice 2: Practice Harder!

- Practice vs. Natural talent. Everyone has natural talent, but so what! I’d rather work with someone who works hard and practices to improve, rather then just depending on their natural talent.

- Practice has allowed me to make more in less time, mostly because my ideas have improved to fit my exact situation. They are getting better at exactly matching my resources and capabilities.

As an example of this, my first game-in-a-week was a 2D arcade shooter. My last was a 3D RTS.


Practice 3: Return of the Blob!

This is not because I worked harder, or am more skilled now. It was because the RTS was designed to best use what I’m capable of. The arcade shooter was not.


Practice 3: Return of the Blob!

This is not because I worked harder, or am more skilled now. It was because the RTS was designed to best use what I’m capable of. The arcade shooter was not.

No textures, abstract unit design, no animation, no voice work.


Practice 3: Return of the Blob!

This is not because I worked harder, or am more skilled now. It was because the RTS was designed to best use what I’m capable of. The arcade shooter was not.

No textures, abstract unit design, no animation, no voice work.

But I worked hard on the unit interactions, atmosphere, characters, colours and gameplay. I could work on the overall feel of the game because I had control of the code & the art.


Experimentation

- Combined with the low risk of games in a week, experimenting is great for the creation of unique gameplay types.


Experimentation

- Combined with the low risk of games in a week, experimenting is great for the creation of unique gameplay types.

- Combined with the concept of practice, this allows you to learn & expand in areas that no one else has skill in. Like the design of Dinosaur/Survival/FPS/RTS games.

,


Experimentation

- Combined with the low risk of games in a week, experimenting is great for the creation of unique gameplay types.

- Combined with the concept of practice, this allows you to learn & expand in areas that no one else has skill in. Like the design of Dinosaur/Survival/FPS/RTS games.

,

- You can shout things like “Life! Give my creation life!”


It’s fun

“Game design is still just a job. 98% of it is still boring, involving paper work or stuff that you don’t want to do.”

This quote is from a real person, a game designer at a large company who was interviewing me for a job in the states (I’m from Canada). He wanted to make sure that I knew real work was boring.

But if you set yourself boring tasks, life becomes boring.


It’s fun

“Game design is still just a job. 98% of it is still boring, involving paper work or stuff that you don’t want to do.”

This quote is from a real person, a game designer at a large company who was interviewing me for a job in the states (I’m from Canada). He wanted to make sure that I knew real work was boring.


It’s fun

Speaking for myself, my work is filled with happiness. I’d guess I’ve got around a 10% boring work percentage. I love making games. My games have no committee design, just my ideas, all the little worlds from my mind. I design my games so that I enjoy building them.

I just wanted to say that game design canbe fun.

Indies seem to have found this secret place, where life is great during work as well as on weekends.


Finishing stuff

It can be hard to finish a game.

Making small games allows a designer to reap all the lessons of a finished project, from self-confidence to PR. This is a great bonus for students, or people just starting out.


Vibrant wackiness

Don’t make dull games. Make fun-abstract-weird-amazing stuff instead.


Vibrant wackiness

Don’t make dull games. Make fun-abstract-weird-amazing stuff instead.

It’s potato vs. rock band.


Vibrant wackiness

Don’t make dull games. Make fun-abstract-weird-amazing stuff instead.

It’s potato vs. rock band.

The potato is all the generic games. People choose them based on price or availability.

The rock band is an original game. People will pay whatever it costs, because they want the music that speaks to their soul.

“Try to make less potato-like games.”

- Cliff Harris


Style

Building a style is not a dry & boring task like ‘building a brand’ is.

A style tends to appear when your games become a personal expression of some part of yourself.

Companies build on an IP, they make sequels. They design by committee.


But you, friend, are an indie!

You get to dance naked on the hilltops of France (if that’s your thing). You can code all night, you can have fun every day ‘at work’. You get to express yourself, rather then make a market-targeted product.


Style


Obligatory funny ending:


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