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When a game project is put to sleep

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Johan's picture
Joined: 10/05/2008

Before I start, I have to describe a few things about my design process:
I always work on 4-5 games in parallel. There are in different state in the development process. (The games are always of different types (board games, tabletop, children games and card games)).
I keep a book over all game ides. When the real work on the game starts, I have a platform to start from.

Now to the issue:

Normally when I have put in a lot of work on a project (some hundreds of hours with rules creation, prototypes, alpha tests, beta tests and design), it is hard to drop the project. For me I have done it in one of two ways:
1. Drop the project and started with a new one. Always with the goal to come back to the old game (this will never happened and I will know it in my hart). After a year or two I found some pieces of the game and store it (I should complete this someday). Then I forget all about the game.
2. Be stubborn and force me to complete the game. The game will never be played (or once just to do it). I will always know that this was a not so good (read terrible) game.

I have therefore started a new way to handle games that reach the dead point of no return. Before I drop the game I will checkfor parts to be reused.

Last week one of my game that I been working on for 4 month was put to sleep. After a test session I discovered that the game mechanism was to slow for this type of game and something was missing.
The game was planned to six modules and I was ready with the first one (the rules, the artwork, all counters, quick reference and some army lists (it was a high level tabletop) was ready in a deliverable pdf format). I know that the other modules never would be completed.
I used about two hour (I had spend abut 200 hours to create the game), to decide what to do with the parts. The result was over the expectation.
Different parts and constellation of the game mechanism could be reused in other games. Most of the artwork and army list was moved as a platform for another game. All counters where reused. The only thing left was the quick reference (but it had only taken me 2-3 hours to create that one).
Four of my games took (in my book) a big step forward and two new game ideas where included.
This was not bad for two hours of extra work on a doomed game.

// Johan

When a game project is put to sleep

Nice post - it is always hard to watch an idea die, and it is nice when there are pieces that can be salvaged and fed into other games.

My design process looks much like yours - I always have several projects on the go at once, and I keep a logbook of notes and thoughts as I develop each game. Also, much like you, my games are always in different stages of development.

I find this helps create (warning, I

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