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How to stay on course

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ZamjoBrash
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How does everyone stay focused on your ideas?
As I keep writing or fixing mechanics new ideas suddenly pop up and that one change suddenly changes other things, sometimes including the theme.

Wondering if anyone has similar issues.

questccg
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Many designers

Dabble in multiple designs, meaning they work on different designs in-between a WIP. Having ideas that seem good as ideas is one thing, but applying them to a design is another. I find that personally, I get an idea that seems good and then when I try it out - oftentimes it is not so great.

But working on multiple designs helps to focus effort on different designs at very different times. And that I believe is beneficial... Because you don't have the feeling of "not advancing"... Something is moving forwards even if it is not your current WIP.

So the key is playtest OFTEN. Whenever you get a *new* idea, prototype it as fast as you can and then playtest it to see if it works. No point thinking about a mechanic that doesn't work in the context of your game.

My 2 cents...

ZamjoBrash
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Interesting mate thanks for

Interesting mate thanks for that, luckily Ive been "saving as" all my work and when something doesnt work I go back a few versions and update what worked/didnt work.

Def need to try more play testing.

let-off studios
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Big 3

I second the notion of working on several designs at once. Personally, I've settled on a "big three" that I've decided to stay fixated on until at least one of them is selected by a publisher.

I was in the habit of coming up with a new idea for a game, working on it for a few weeks, then coming up with another idea for a different game. I would put down the first game and switch to the second, until of course the idea for a third game came along and I hopped on to that train.

The end result is that I spent a lot of my limited funds on game bits, dice, blank cards, and figures, and I was surrounded by half-baked, nowhere-near-worth-showing-to-a-publisher designs. I could see that I had been working very hard, but not being very productive in terms of being successfully published.

I decided to switch my strategy and simply write down these new ideas in a notebook. I can come back to them later, once [at least] one of my big three is in the hands of a publisher. I've made it to the point that I am corresponding with a publisher for one of my big three, coming up with a new iteration of the game perhaps once a week. The other two of my big three are of lower priority, but I will switch to them before I reference my notebook for some of the dozen or so game ideas and sketches I've scribbled down since the beginning of this year.

Playtesting is also essential, so you can test ideas that you make manifest. If you can determine it's worth throwing out on your own that's great, but when you workshop your games you inevitably come across someone with an insight that helps your game design achieve a quantum leap forward in terms of quality and elegance. By narrowing down the number of designs that pick up these quantum leaps, I have the impression that it's simply a matter of time before a design you've focused your time, energy, and resources on is seen by a publisher and they won't be able to look away.

Good luck to you. :)

questccg
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Just remember...

let-off studios wrote:
I second the notion of working on several designs at once. Personally, I've settled on a "big three" that I've decided to stay fixated on until at least one of them is selected by a publisher...

You may also consider "self-publication" via "The Game Crafter" (TGC) as it may be simpler to "complete" a design, get it "out there" and then work on something new...

I've changed my *objectives* for my WIP ("Tradewars - Homeworld"), I am running a 1 month Crowd Sale where I hope to maybe get 50 people to buy a copy of my game. Why such a low objective? Well because this is, to me, the start of pushing the game into the market.

First we'll get some people playing the "core" game... Then we can put up a BGG page and ask some of the reviewers and other game designers who will have the game to share their thoughts about what they like in the game... It will also allow other designers to think up of scenario ideas or even possible expansions. I am open to discussing all these possibilities and an not on a *strict* agenda.

Once we get BGG exposure, we'll see what that translates to in terms of SALES.

Afterwards, I can ALSO pursue publication because unlike a Kickstarter, a TGC game can get picked up by Publishers. I PERSONALLY know one game that has done this and have heard that others have been able to do the same.

So in a way there is even LESS risk with TGC and possibly better outcome and control over how your game is made.

I've wanted to advocate dealing with China and all it's grey areas - but TGC is really a wonderful service. And it's not the END of your game - but only the beginning of it... As you can reach real agreements with Publishers who would prefer to PARTNER with a finished game than bet on a game idea.

Best of luck with your game(s)!!!

ElKobold
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Just write them all down.

Just write them all down. Then return to them after a while.

questccg
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I find...

ElKobold wrote:
Just write them all down. Then return to them after a while.

Using a 5 subject Notebook is a good way to keep things divided, with plenty of extra room for more note-taking. They usually have about 300 pages and are the size of a hardcover book.

I also like to keep consolidated "text" files in which I also take down notes and see what the overall result of refining mechanics or theme...

The notebooks are good - because it gives me down-time from using the computer... And sometimes you get flash ideas in the middle of the night. Also good to write those down in the notebook!

Cheers!

Experimental Designs
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As easily distracted as I am

As easily distracted as I am some ideas I can dismiss quickly if it has nothing do with the main project. Alas if the idea don't quit I will go out my way to document and run it through trails just to get it out of my head.

Usually any new ideas that pop into my head are related to the main project and are implemented or shelved for later use when the time comes. It is often that some scale variation or some advanced set of rules absorb the new ideas into the category. The best solution there is when you must add onto a project at least make it optional lest you have a convoluted mess on your hands.

I call this modulization.

As for new game ideas...well I have an entire filing cabinet full of those and they'll probably won't see the light of day.

ZamjoBrash
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Thanks a lot guys

Thanks a lot guys

JohnPace
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I often get inspiration while

I often get inspiration while in the middle of a project. Sometimes it is for the project I am working on and sometimes it is for something completely new. I find that if I do not think about it and ponder on the new idea for a while it will bug me until I do so this is kind of how I have learned to deal with it.

1) New idea - A new idea pops into my head, either for a new game or for the game I am working on

2) Think it out - At this stage it is just a thought so I normally stop what I am doing and give it some thought. I think about the idea and where the idea might go and any general directions the idea might take me

3) Write it down - If I have decided that the idea has merit I will write down the idea and see if it still makes sense. While I am writing down the idea I am also reading it and I have found that can help me decide if the idea translates well onto paper. If the idea is for a game I am working on I will often create a back up of the project, I normally use electronic format, and then copy the project into a new folder. This allows me to completely test out the new idea and write down the new direction and map it out. If it does not work out I still have the project safe in its original folder and have a back up.

4) Think about it some more - After I write out the idea I step away for a day or two and do other things then come back and read the idea and think about it some more. This time it would not be as long, it is just to see if the idea has merit and still sounds good.

5) Move forward or reject - At this stage I need to make a choice on if I am going to go forward with the idea or reject it.

This is just a over simplified version of what goes on when I have a new idea. Sometimes it takes just a couple of moments other times it can take weeks. For me I have found that if I do not spend time on the idea I will lose 3 times more time in the long run as I try to do other work but get distracted. In a odd way spending time on the new idea helps me focus and get back to what I was doing faster.

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