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What gets YOU designing?

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Knicksen's picture
Joined: 05/18/2011
Charging Scots Warrior

I've ignored the (practical and correct) advice for my current design Magic Maelstrom) and started with theme then built my game. In this case it has worked out, what about you?

I've posted a bit on my blog which has turned in to part one, be interested in what my fellow designers think:

Game Design Inspirations, plus miniature figure designs and more. See here:

MoldtDK's picture
Joined: 06/19/2013
I don't think there is

I don't think there is anything wrong with starting with the theme. In fact that is what I do every time. To me, designing a game is a process where I come to think that a certain thing would be interesting to do (For example: Being a general, being a national leader or whatever else you can imagine) Then once I have something I would like to play then I try to think how I want to do that.

That way I usually make mechanics that fit the theme because I only impliment them BECAUSE of said theme and not because I want that mechanic in the game.

I fear that by starting with the mechanics that the theme would end up being pasted on and just be whatever the designer could make to fit.

So in my expirience I say Theme first and once you have a theme that you really want to play then the mechanics come easily

Corsaire's picture
Joined: 06/27/2013
Harmony, feel, and a specific

Harmony, feel, and a specific audience are more where I operate from. First full game I did was a video game in the early eighties called Ex-smurfinator because friends and I had a running gag about smurfs on BBSs. So, the audience w/ theme and the mechanic there was a Galaga style because of the tools I had. I did a fanatasy card game called Orc Wars in the late eighties because I had never seen a straight fantasy cards only game. Theme plus mechanic and finding how one complements the other there.

Frankly mechanic and theme is all stuff settled in the first hour of brainstorming. If I don't have a solid marriage of the two right up front, I don't have anything I want to work with. Sometimes the harmony leans one way or another, and I work it that way. But asking myself continuously will Person X enjoy this more or less guides me best, because an audience encapsulates.

I was inspired this summer to reboot game design into a serious focus by trying to create a game that my family would enjoy playing together and because my seven year old has some interest in designing games.

crenshal's picture
Joined: 09/30/2013
Three Starting Points

I sometimes start with a theme, a mechanic or a desired experience/story.

I don't think there is a right or wrong way to build a game. There was a Dice Tower podcast that said the great designers start with a desired experience and create a game from their. Having never tried that approach before I gave it a go and the game created from that approach is now what i call an "active"game. (I spend money and significant time on active games to make them "pitch-able and play-testable") However, I can not be sure I would not be able to get to the same game outline is I had started with a mechanic.

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