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Design Community vs Seclusion

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 11/24/2009

This is my 3rd subsequent account on BGDF, I was formerly triktrak, and Hjort before that. I guess the accounts were inactive enough to warrant their disposal, but there is good reason for this due to the way my mind works when designing a game (not that I have had any real success yet). Maybe you are like this too. Tell me what you think.

On the one hand, I like the community support when someone says, "Hey that's a cool idea, you should try it out", this sometimes energizes me enough to keep working on a game in spite of my pessimistic nature. It is also nice to know I am not alone in my aspirations.

On the other hand, I find it very important to not talk about game design too much so that I don't get trapped in the hidden assumptions that run through most boardgames. I feel that in order to create things that are uniquely mine, I must keep my mind and my core ideas clean of any influences. I must become the mad hermit, to try and discover things that others have not.

Then in order to playtest you have to swing right around and become very social again. I must see if my ideas are too "out there" or if I have achieved a balance between novelty and familiarity.

Anyhow, does anyone else have the same experience?


End of Time Games
End of Time Games's picture
Joined: 04/16/2009
Everything that is yours is out there

It sounds like your going through "instant gratification deficiancy".

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
- Before composing music, you

- Before composing music, you should listen to music.
- Before writting a book, you should read books.
- Before designing games, you should play games.

I can compared my design ideas before and after I was introduced to the world of euro games and my designs are totally different.

Yes it could have an influence on me, but I still think I kept up my roots. I think I am trying to take the best of anything else i have seen. So I took the good stuff from the euro games and discarded the rest

Seeing other games influences you but also tells you what are the errors not to repeat.

Like litterature current, I could say that there game design currents and I think these should be followed else you could cut yourself some audiance.

For example, in old games combat tables where cool and OK. Now if you make a game with a combat table, people will almost run away.

So do not close you mind, have an open mind and keep you roots and you will still create inovative concepts.

Arvin's picture
Joined: 05/29/2009

I do the same way too... I visit this site when it is needed but as much as possible I want to generate Ideas all on my own, that way originality stands out.

Joined: 11/24/2009
Yes and No

Yes, I have played enough games, and still continue to do so on a regular basis that I know what's going on. But when I get into design, I largely shut these things out. I have often been working on a game, and a new one will come out that is enough like my own idea that I abandon it. Had I not had that knowledge and just kept working, my end product would probably have been quite different and acceptable.
Other than mechanics, I feel that the deeper and more useful knowledge of what you like about a game can give you a focus that doesn't necessarily focus on any one mechanic. For example, when playing favorite game, what happened to make people laugh, groan in despair, gloat, frantically and desperately try to salvage their position, etc. I think knowing what you like about the player interaction of a game can leave things broad enough that the specifics of other people's mechanics ideas just get in the way. Well, If I ever get published I'll know I'm right. Until then I appreciate your comments.

red hare
red hare's picture
Joined: 11/09/2009
don't re-invent the hammer

I tend to block out other games when I'm in design mode so that my game will develop naturally, but that doesn't mean not talking about games in general. This forum is like a pub where we can hang out and talk shop. That being said, I prefer to work on something privately until it's finished before I look for input. That's just my process.

But about playing other games and studying rulebooks to discover cool game mechanics, I would agree that it's like an education. Why re-invent the hammer when it's right there on the shelf if you need it?

Joined: 03/04/2009

I'm a very lucky person. Me and my friend both love creating games. We have since we were about 10 and 12. Every game I've ever created he's been a co-designer of. So we get the best of both worlds, we get to be cut off from other influences, while at the same time, having someone to talk to and help refine ideas. I can't imagine creating a game by myself.

unicornucopia's picture
Joined: 04/10/2010
Lurker for Life

larienna wrote:
- Before composing music, you should listen to music.

Wow I am the exact opposite in this regard. I have my core set of stuff I listen too, but I purposely avoid the radio and any sort of music TV like the plague. My most recent flirtation with the radio was many moons ago when I heard a little band called the White Stripes, and then I started hearing the White Stripes everywhere, and then I realized that wasn't the White Stripes and either was that... or that. Yikes!

I have also had several accounts here, in the same boat, same reasoning. I definitely prefer to work alone in a vacuum with only the occasional reference to BGDF and BGG to seek specific solutions or references. This combined with my penchant for perfectionism, and my illusions of paradigm shifting originality, have evoked some of the slickest most bullet proof games (and songs)... that no one will ever see (or hear).

The moral of my story is... be wary of the double edge sword that is "cloistered creationism", a burden I continue to happily bear to this day... for now anyway.

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
Learn, Work, Share

You know what happens when you don't learn form others?
You know what happens when you don't finish things up?
You know what happens when you don't share?


This goes for pretty much every aspect in your life.
"Nothing" it's not essencially bad, it's just not fun at all.

Keep thinking!

Joined: 06/02/2010

I think you are very experienced. I am just a newbie :)

Joined: 12/16/2009
Agreed with yhort

I tend to agree with the OP. I too prefer to develop free of other influences when I can. It just makes the final product feel like more of a personal accomplishment when you can do it entirely on your own. That being said however I believe nothing great is ever created in a void.

When doing art work for a game you do need to have a good volume of knowledge of what is being used out there. Inspiration in art and the layout of that art are essential to a winning product imho.

I come here to keep informed on things, but to be honest I have seen very little here to inspire my own personal work. However there is a big volume of useful experience here when it comes to business matters associated with game design.

The only caveat with depending on forums of any kind is that some times very opinionated and negative individuals can effect your work in a destructive way. But that is the risk you take with public interaction on most any level. The difference is that on a public internet forum that one hate filled person can destroy your game production efforts.

Overall BDGF It is an interesting community of small developers. If members of such a community can help each other to success then that is a good thing.

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