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generic design tool: not reasonable

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ddyer
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Joined: 12/31/1969

As a software developer and game programmer for many years, it is my opinion that the best tools for designing a new game are felt tip pens, some cardboard, and a pair of scissors.

If your game is designed and play tested to the point where only some fine-tuning is being considered, then start thinking about software.

RookieDesign
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Joined: 12/31/1969
generic design tool: not reasonable

The goal isn't a design tool. Pen & paper are a very good method to design them.

This is a tool to play the game once you've complete certain steps and want to start play testing it.

ddyer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Generic tools vs specific tools

If your game fits one of a few very specific moulds, there are tools that can get a prototype flying with relatively small effort. Perhaps the best example is ZOG for standard board games. It's really pretty amazing how many games have been implemented using ZOG. Even there you're talking about a pretty serious effort by a programmer familiar with the tool. I'm sure there are some other examples of highly evolved tools for specific types of games, but most of them will be in-house tools not publicly available products. (Ie; The people who do Sim-xx have great tools for whipping out another sim game.)

However, no mater how you slice it, thse aren't tools that are appropriate for much experimentation. To use them, you have to incur costs in time and either money or your own effort that are a substantal part of the effort to produce a finished product.

If your game doesn't fit into one of these ZOG-like moulds, you're even further back. I can guarantee that anyone who has ever programmed any game immdiately starts thinking about creating generic tools to do more of the same kind of games, but it's a really, really hard thing to actually do. My best advice would be to lay hands on the sources for any game with anything like a similar structure, and start there.

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
generic design tool: not reasonable

For clarification, the goal of this project isn't a computer-playable version of a board game, but rather, a generic interface that allows you to manipulate the components of a game in a virtual tabletop environment. The application wouldn't "know" anything about the game; it would just allow you to move the components around, and do certain standard things with them, like shuffling cards or rolling dice.

This may still be difficult, but there's no question it would be fully generic for games that used only pawns, dice, boards, cards, and tiles.

-Jeff

ddyer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
see "Tools for Collaboration"

see the other thread I just started, "Tools for Collaboaration"

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
generic design tool: not reasonable

That's certainly one very fiddly way to playtest, but obviously it would be better to have an application that is actually designed for the virtual playtesting of games; that way, several BDGF members from all over the world could get together and playtest a game while all looking at the same "board", rather than having to use a PBEM-like approach that a digital camera/chat application would represent. Some of the folk here believe they have the expertise to pull such a thing off. Is there anything you actually want to add to the discussion of how to achieve it?

-Jeff

ddyer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Giant Shared Whiteboard

It sounds like the general idea you're aiming at is a giant shared
whiteboard, which would let you load pieces of artwork and move
them around. With a chat window. Maybe a "dice" widget you
could use, etc. Certainly would be doable. I don't think I"ve ever
seen one.

ddyer
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Joined: 12/31/1969
possible tool: Coccinella

Interestingly, I looked around a little and found this tool "Coccinella"
http://hem.fyristorg.com/matben/
which is a jabber client with a whiteboard attachment. It seems
to have a lot of the basic capabilities you'd want, though not featurized
in this exact direction. It's GPL'd so in principle it could be a starting
point.

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