A Week of Contemplation

So most of the work done on the project this week didn't involve programming or art. I've neglected talking about design here, and the importance of it. I've designed a few table top games, mostly for my personal DnD crew, to add new experiences into our campaign. What I've realized is game design is probably the hardest part. It's not something as tangible as, say, coding a ball to move. Does it Move? Yes or no. "Is it fun?" is soooo subjective. We can all agree when a ball moves. Ask what game is fun on the internet though and you can start a small war.

Thinking about what makes a game fun, what is the goal of this game has kind of been my focus this week. I started by asking myself a few questions.

The first question: Is there a story I want to tell or do I want the player to tell his own story?

There's stories I want to tell, and there are worlds I want to create so you can tell your own. Great, so I want to do both. I'm just starting however and I think the open world may be the tougher of the two to make. The more systems interacting with each other, the more chances for chaos and bugs. So maybe the focus behind telling a story is the way to go for my first attempt. Verdict: STORY

Second Question:   What systems (ways for players to interact with the world) am I going to try to tell this story with?

First I'm leaning towards RPG. I've been a huge Final Fantasy fan since the original Nintendo, I've played every single one, even the MMO's. When I think giant epic story, that's where my brain goes first. They are a bit like movies though, you have a course you are traveling through in this world, there's going to be a big final battle, you'll kill the big bad guy. Those things are set the second you start playing. What's a fun way to spice that up? What if the big bad changed depending on you? The Shadow's of Mordor Nemesis system was a thing of beauty. That might be something we can borrow some systems from. 

All my current story telling is being done at DnD night. My players don't have dialog trees but they do have social interaction skills and alignments that go towards making their decisions. Maybe this is something that can be worked in to the game to give the character you play more personality.

Combat. Is combat even a thing in my story? Probably. I love the idea of a Gone Home, or Undertale, games where there's no combat or  where all conflict can be resolved without bloodshed, but I don't think this is going to be one of those games. So what will it be like? Turn-Based and quick, like Final Fantasy X. I don't want players to watch a meter charge, or set an auto attack and walk away. I want them to be engaged strategically, but no twitch combat. Like I said, RPG. I do think each combat will be a special thing, and not a random encounter. You can murder everyone in the world if that appeals to you, but I'll have consequences. 

Well, that's probably enough of my ramblings. Hopefully you were able to ask yourself some questions if you are designing your own game.