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Is there another way to use my game design skills than creating games?

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larienna
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Note: Very long post, I include both board game and video game design.

I love game design, it's pretty much like solving a puzzle that can be played once completed. It also touch various aspect from computer programming to artwork which is perfect for a Jack of all trades like me who likes to do varied tasks. Unfortunately, Game Design is also a curse, not a gift. Because you are constantly thinking about it, even when you don't want to. So I cannot prevent my self from getting new ideas, they comes in when I have not even finished producing my previous idea.

Lately with my lack of time, my low amount of completed games, and my huge amount of ideas, I have been questioning myself again if I have been doing things correctly in the recent years. Many years ago I tried to stop board game design and focus on video game design as it offered more chance getting revenue and they were less restrictive than board game design.

Now this morning I remembered something that somewhat explained everything. Many years ago I passed some profile tests, and besides learning that I am a Jack of all trades, I also remembered in one of the test that in the "Production" vs "Prestige" axis, I just sucked at both. So this could be why I fail at creating games, it's not because I don't have the skill to design or program those games, it's because I suck at production in general.

Unfortunately, game design requires production. You can design a piece of art or music and try to sell it on shutterstock or any appropriate web site, but you cannot simply write down a game idea and sell it. That idea must be produced to know if it can actually works, you have to be a genius to design a game without any playtesting at all. Now what's unfortunate, is not only I like game design but improved my skills a lot in the recent 10 years, but have have little idea how to benefit from those skills.

It's also very frustrating, because I have more than 100 game ideas on my list, and they will never be completed. They are remaining idle on my todo list which constantly haunt me even more as they never get completed and removed from my todo list.

So my question is:

"Is there another way I can use my game design skills without producing any games?"


I generally have an attention span of 2-4 weeks when I work on a project, Then I jump on the next project. I generally have the "Do and forget" mindset when I accomplish work. I tried various technique to help improve productivity and they have vaguely paid off:

  • Work on smaller projects: That seems logical, if the project is smaller, it should be finishable in a smaller time frame. Now the problem is that very simple ideas could end up very complicated to design. It's very hard to predict how much time it will take do design a game. Production is predictable, but not design. It reminds me of my Stock Market game idea that was very simple and offered a bit more strategy than St0ck T!cker. Even with a computer program to generate game outcome, it took me more than month to just balance the behavior of the stock market and there is still work to do. I can hardly design faster once you are assisted by computers.

  • Divide and conquer: Separate the projects in various milestone. For example, the game design, the artwork, the interface, etc. That would allow jumping from a game idea to another by completing different milestone on each project according to my mood. For example, I am in the mood to do art, I check which game idea requiring art and complete it. Still the divide and conquer works when you are in production status, the design phase can still last indefinitely.

  • Order of dependencies: Sometime programming or designing certain games can help in the production of other games. So the idea would be to determine which project to complete and in what order to make early project help later project. This could be a way to distribute the work overtime. It's like using games as milestone, still sometimes the most simple game will not be completable within a month.

Monetization is also a problem. People are not willing to pay for a small game with low quality artwork. I could probably do an Atari style game within a month, but are people willing to pay for it since I can hardly go lower than 1$. There is so much competition out there, especially in the app world, that it's hard not having a competitor that can do better than you.

There is also the "too many game syndrome" where I keep wondering if my game ideas are really worth publishing, as it might either not get any attention or simply be done by somebody else in the first place. Even I have a hard time keeping up with the so many games out there as a player, so I feel guilty in trying to add more games to the list. If I design a game, I need to bring something that did not exist before, or something that nobody else can successfully design. Recently I tried "Undermine" and realized that it was partially one of the game idea I had. I think any of my game idea could get produced by somebody else eventually, so why bother putting the effort.

The only way I could see my design see the light is if I work for a game company or if I am rich enough to pay people to do the work for me. Both cases are very unlikely to happen.


One idea I had is to maybe do blogging or something similar because I like teaching and experimenting. For example, I programmed a pass code system to generate passwords like old NES video games. It's a project that lasted 2 weeks. So writing blog post about it and post my test results is actually possible in 1 month. I also have another ideas to see how I could make a map generator. That should also be a small project that could last around a month. So in this case, I would be experimenting with video game concepts without programming any game in itself.

Some bloggers manage to gain small revenue from blogging, but it generally requires a lot of view (1000+ per day) still I don't need to sell anything. Also it might be more suitable to game programming rather than game design. I could for example post by results for balancing my stock market game, but I would have never though of doing that balance in the first place without trying to design a game. So it's unlikely to do post strictly on game design.

The other drawback, it that my 100+ game ideas remains in limbo. Another idea was to use those ideas as fake games. For example, in the "Arcadecraft" indie game, you had various arcade and game titles with themes, but you could not actually play those games. You just presume they work. If I was a better artist, I could make game covers for games that does not exists. Or assemble screen shots or make prototype of a game that does not exist or work. I don't know if there are other ways to use game ideas as fake games.

Else the only projects I could consider keeping floating are lifetime projects like my "Wizardry Legacy" video game. I generally have no pressure to complete the game, because it's a life time project and it's open source. I can also get support from the community if I need it because it's an open source game. WizCiv, my master of magic remake, would also fit in the same category.

So I am open to comments and ideas. Let me know what you think. Maybe there are some people in the same situation as I am and found another way to get around it.

questccg
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It's a bit a "strange" road...

It's taken my KickStarter of "TradeWorlds" (May 2017) over 3+ years to be on-road to production. We're probably only a month or so away. But my initial concept for the game started way back in June 2013. The game will be received by the Backers in 2021. It's been a LONG road...

I may not have 100 games in queue... But I do have some that I BELIEVE have more promise (in terms of uniqueness of the Design). For me, it is paramount to design DIFFERENT games with all kinds of Mechanics for various themes.

TradeWorlds is a Space-Battle Deck-Building Game. As such, no more Sci-Fi games on the horizon ... One is enough. I still have 3 more expansion ideas which could interest newer publishers (or a couple older ones).

Quest Adventure Cards(tm) was a "Collectible Card Game". It was a first try into Designing Games... It wasn't the best and it was a costly lesson to learn. But it was Fantasy "Quest"-ing and my response is that I WANT to design a Second Edition ... To vindicate the brand. I have some STELLAR ideas... But the artwork alone will cost about $25,000 CAD to make (270 unique cards -- as per the German "black" core plate count).

Crystal Heroes is a "Area Control", Game Tile Game which will follow the XTG3 concept (Like LCG), so hopefully some re-occurring revenue if players LIKE the game. Feedback has been positive even on BGG (What a surprise!)

And then I have other designs in various stages. Probably in total about 10 designs.

Maybe this can HELP you... IDK. But it WORKS for me:

Go to "Bureau En Gros" (Staples) and buy the Hilroy 5 Subject Notebooks 300 pages. 60 pages per section. Now EACH "Section" is reserved for ONE GAME! And only 1. You write notes down, your thoughts, ideas, mechanics, etc. And yes sometimes I fill up a notebook with STALE ideas and come back and think: "Hmm... That's not so stupid after all...!"

The other good thing is those Notebooks come in various colors: Red, Green, Blue, Black, and Cyan (I believe). So if you finish ONE section, you can always write in ANOTHER section in another Notebook.

So AT LEAST what you produce is some THOUGHTS, IDEAS and GENERALLY real UNIQUE content. I almost LOST one of my Notebooks -- and let me tell you it was going to be the END-OF-THE-WORLD! Those notebooks are FILLED with amazing content... Or so for me, they are valuable.

To another person, maybe they'd understand or just think it's "mumbo-jumbo"... The bottom line is there is a TON of information to go through.

That's one WAY to focus your energies, ONE SECTION AT A TIME.


I haven't forged into Video Game Design... But no doubt that a project could take like 2 years to make... Which is why I am VERY hesitant to go into that direction. For now I will stick to the "Game Maker" tutorials and feel confident that I know some way (actually doing it) of making a game (even if it is not my own -- I am following along with another Game Designer/Coder).


Bottom line: Notebooks serve a good way of cataloging and organizing your thoughts into BLOCKS of content. If you use a computer, this would be another medium ... And it works for me. Even though I do use my laptop to take notes and write stuff about my Designs. In the evenings, I enjoy reviewing my Notebook and seeing what NEW ideas I may have to OLDER problems... Or INCOMPLETE designs (like the 100+ you have swirling around).

Just my $0.05 with regards to helping focus your efforts and creativity.

questccg
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I think ... from what I understand about memory and psychology

Is that by re-reading and focusing on something in the past... That may SPARK "NEW" ideas. It's like a puzzle. You only have some pieces together at some point in time, but then you get a bunch of pieces together and realize that you've advanced on assembling the GIANT puzzle.

But going back to Designs in your Notebooks ... Re-hashes OLD ideas and categorizes them in NEW ideas. It may not happen IMMEDIATELY when you sit in bed reading your notebook. But generally speaking it really helps to "crystallize" a design: go from point A to point B.

Generally speaking I focus on my notebooks and sometimes IF some AMAZING idea for a game pops into my mind (it happens every now and then -- You probably more-so... But your ideas must be more vague and not as detailed such that you can finalize the game concept), maybe it's worthwhile thinking about FURTHER.

But because I'm re-hashing OLD ideas, it reminds me of the PROBLEMS that a design has. Because that's the REAL SECRET to games: how to overcome all the details and issues with a DESIGN such that it WORKS(!) But the notebooks help in focusing on remembering older challenges and part solutions that I'm working on and not 100% satisfied with.

You should try it and see if it WORKS for you or not.

It's kinda like READING that SAME BOOK OVER AND OVER AND OVER. Eventually the clouds part and sometimes you can think of a REAL GEM of concept that just alters you Design and helps you figure out something that will help you finish that design.

Note #1: On some nights, I review and try to pen some "new" ideas... But often I have none. So I'll review my notes to REMEMBER what makes me stuck. And then the next day I'll be washing dishes and WOW! Got an idea for Game "X" with problem "Y"... It all doesn't happen at the SAME time... Takes time for the mind to THINK and process both consciously and sub-consciously ...

Like many other DESIGNERS have said: To Design you need to PRACTICE. It's not like it happens all the time... You need to work on the craft and go from AN IDEA into a fully designed game.

questccg
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Maybe it works for you or ... maybe not.

I think by focusing on older content may allow you to channel your thoughts on EXISTING problems rather than having your mind create NEW ones. Because you don't let your mind wander into the new ideas, when you have like 10 or so other ones that you have been reading up on and remembering the various difficulties you were having with THOSE designs.

Like I said, it MAY allow you to FOCUS on challenges and troubles with the current designs that you have cataloged.

This way your mind is not "open" to newer ideas, it has been told to worry about old ideas and challenges that you have yet to overcome. Because I seriously doubt your game ideas (100+) are all so amazing and work as a completed game ... Otherwise you'd by like Reiner Knizia and have published a ton of game.

What you probably have are some IDEAS about games and maybe some mechanics that you may want to use. Or some novel idea about "how to use some dice" or FRESH ideas but not completed game designs.

Again maybe some ideas are more mature than others and that is normal. I'm sure there are some designs you would like to work more on than others. Again notebooks and writing about the concepts you prefer ... Will probably allow you to channel more of your thinking on those particular game ideas.

Like I said, most game ideas have a fundamental problem: they are NOT games. They are concepts... Which lack concrete implementation and usually have inherent flaws in the design ("X" doesn't work or "Y" does NOT go with the theme, etc.)

So it's not like you have 100+ games. You maybe have like 10 of those 100 concepts which are more the ones you LIKE or had more inspiration with. I would focus on fleshing out OLD notes on those 10 (out of 100) designs. It will take 2 notebooks (since they are 5 subjects each)... And you can continue you Game Designer career with more confidence that your mind will be focused on the things YOU prioritize.

Cheers @Eric!

X3M
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Be part of a team

Not going into details.

But try to get connections.
That would allow you to help adjusting existing games.
Maybe be an admin.
Catch cheaters with the knowledge you have.
Lighten workload of others that are actively working on a game.

Stuff like that.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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I'm sort of in the same boat

I have tons of ideas, spend time fleshing out and prototyping, but I don't have the time right now to play test my creations (full time job and a 5 and 2 year old). I am working and saving like crazy so I will have time and money to hire the lawyers, CPAs, artist, production people and most importantly sales people to advance my designs past prototyping at some point. The only way I know how to transfer the problem solving skills into a marketable asset is in engineering. See a problem -> figure out multiple solutions -> cost benefit analysis -> design.

As far as 100+ game ideas, can you create an expandable computer game where one of your video game ideas becomes a mini game in the bigger game. I have an idea for you along this line, but no time to develop it. I think that would be a really good way to test the popularity of a game in an already established environment.

questccg
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You don't need to save too much.

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
I am working and saving like crazy so I will have time and money to hire the lawyers, CPAs, artist, production people and most importantly sales people to advance my designs past prototyping at some point.

Actually you need a Tax Accountant who is capable of filing Corporate Taxes (LLC) and submitting your articles of incorporation and that's pretty much all (Forming of a company). Then from the production side you will need a Graphic Designer and an Artist and/or Illustrator. If you plan to Kickstart, you no doubt will need to become more familiar with Kickstarter. But have your production team (Graphic Designer and Artist) to work with you to produce the KS page and the various artifacts used by it. Ideally you can work collaboratively with your Graphic Designer to produce the rulebook and box used by the game. Using Adobe Illustrator, you should also be able to design the "VacTray" (Black plastic insert) used for the inside of your box.

For manufacturing, you will need to put together a quote spreadsheet with all of the components required by your game. (If you need a sample -- I might have one lying around...) You will also need to warehouse and find a fulfillment partner (both together warehouse + fulfillment) who is probably based in the USA but can ship around the world.

All of that needs to be handled by YOU. You need to LEARN everything and in my particular case, for my 3rd game -- I am looking to use "The Game Crafter" (TGC). This will simplify the warehousing (none) and fulfillment (direct ship) parts using a bulk order. So once I familiarize myself with BackerKit (Pledge Manager) and bulk orders from TGC... That should be enough "learning" for one go.

You don't need a lot of people ... Like I said what you really need is those three (3) people and/or connections I mentioned above. And obviously YOU need to play a big part in getting everything running correctly towards the creation of your game/product. You need to be the captain of "the ship" and ensure everyone is producing what matters to you and your project.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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@questccg

You're preaching to the choir. I know there is a LOT I don't know. So thank you for the advice. Yes, please, if you have samples of any part of the process (including quote spreadsheets), I am always eager to learn.

Thanks,
Adam

let-off studios
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Glut of Games

larienna wrote:
There is also the "too many game syndrome" where I keep wondering if my game ideas are really worth publishing, as it might either not get any attention or simply be done by somebody else in the first place. [...] I think any of my game idea could get produced by somebody else eventually, so why bother putting the effort.
I feel this way rather deeply. Not sure how to beat it, either. It's a major point of discouraging me from attempting full-time game design. I do have a couple points to bring up for consideration.

- Personally, these days I find myself enjoying the process of playtesting and providing feedback for others, more so than designing my own games. I find this very fulfilling: I practice my social skills, I engage in problem solving and critical thinking, I learn while doing, I see someone's projects progressing - at least in part because of my own contributions - and I am shown appreciation for my time spent.

- Video game making is also a hobby of mine, and that market has been flooded for what seems like ages, even longer than with tabletop games. Now that game-making tools like Unity, Fusion, and Game Maker Studio are out there, the playing field has exponentially more game makers, all scrambling for either publishing deals or the dollars from game players.

- The trend of increasing the size of target markets and broadening the base of game players is an outgrowth of this excessive supply in games available, and I sometimes feel like when I attend a game convention or ask to speak with a publisher at a game designer event or even a cold or follow-up email, that I'm contributing to this "consume, consume, consume" treadmill. I don't like doing that at all, personally. It's like I enjoy only part of the hobby, as opposed to everything about it.

Fortunately for me, I am able to infuse my day job with both tabletop game design and video game design. I educate adults in a non-profit setting, and I admit my position is incredibly rare and caters to my diverse skillset. This is likely the primary reason I am able to feed my addiction to game design, because otherwise I would likely have become burned-out and discouraged to the point of dropping it entirely.

Maybe this is a solution for you. Is there a way you can create games that simulate some aspect of your workplace and the way you make a living, either for cultivating customers or developing the effectiveness of your fellow staff members?

larienna
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I am very sorry for the late

I am very sorry for the late reply, I was having an intense discussion on BGG located here:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2498066/there-another-way-use-my-ga...

Here is a summary of what I have been said over there.

I generally stop working on a game idea due to some form of mind exhaustion that makes me stuck and prevent me from progressing further.

I tried to focus on small projects to have a feeling of progression and get a form of positive reinforcement. But right now, the ideas pile up faster than the production of those ideas.

Fun should be the main criteria for something to be a hobby. Since game design has been lately more work and frustration than fun, then I should stop.

I could be on the edge of a burnout, so I need to drop things from my todo list. Not thinking about game design could help.

Maybe I should be more focussing on exploration, rather than production, for the fun of it.

Since I hate selling stuff, money has never been my primary objective. I always tried to make games I like and not games that will generate income.

It seems I could be more skilled as a playtester since I have an ease in finding issues in game. But I might not be suited to design games from scratch. So becomming a playtester could be an idea.

It seems I could be more skilled at redesigning games that already exist, or creating variants since I already have a game to work with. I did a couple of redesign and variants already and it generally went well.

Another idea would be to become a game reviewer. Due to my lack of space, I would review digital board games and strategy video games.

I would need a lot of changes in my life to gain the time needed to design games. Some changes could occur in the years to come while other could never happen.

So for now, I should stick only to my 2 lifetime projects Wizardry Legacy and WizCiv.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Almost sounds like you could use some goal setting direction

I think I understand what you are going through. I'm not to the point of being burned out, but I do have more ideas than time and energy to fully explore them. I wonder if you had an outside party to help you prioritize (like your play group). They can identify which ones are most interesting and focus your efforts. It also gives me the "second wind" energy to rework popular projects.

Another option would be to maybe try partnering with another designer who compliments where you struggle. I would love to team up with someone (like Evan or Quest) to design with since they have the knowledge to move the design from play test to market. If anyone wants to build a design team, I'm happy to try.

larienna
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Right now, I am not sure

Right now, I am not sure which direction I will take. I could in the future decide to make small video games when I have more free time. Else if I end up not able to type on a keyboard anymore, I am looking for alternatives input devices. So maybe doing audio/video reviews of video games could be another idea.

My only worries with doing reviews is that first I am a brutal reviewer, and second I am not a native English speaker so I will have an accent. Still, I could do my reviews both in English and French if there is a demand for it.

questccg
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Just waiting to be discovered

larienna wrote:
...Unfortunately, Game Design is also a curse, not a gift. Because you are constantly thinking about it, even when you don't want to. So I cannot prevent my self from getting new ideas, they comes in when I have not even finished producing my previous idea...

This "curse" as you call it is an expression of your "creative" being. Being a producer vs a consumer is a very highly regarded distinction. It means that you contribute to the world around you ... in the special way that is your own.

Two (2) things I wanted to bring up:

1> I already mentioned using a Notebook to FOCUS your efforts on a limited set of designs... Re-iteration is the path to 90%+ completion... And it allows you to channel your thoughts on earlier designs rather than new ones.

2> This is something that I find DIFFICULT myself. There really are very limited amount of "creative" jobs in the world. Most that I know, are self-made. Like if you are into Jewelry... Making your own is most likely the only way you'll ever get to use your talents. Very few people actually get "Designer" jobs. And sometimes in some sectors reserved for the very wealthy (like Fashion Designers).

What troubles me... Is WHY can't I find a "Game Designer" job over a Ubisoft?! There are "design-related" jobs but most are technical. The closest that I have seen is "Level Designer" or "Weapons Designer". But in truth most of these positions are "TECHNICAL" not creative. I'm NOT saying that there is NOT a "creative" angle... There is. But there is a far cry difference between "Game Designer" and "Level Designer".

It's as if you need to be higher in the echelon. Maybe "Game Producer"... But this is like the "Fashion Designer" ... How do you get this kind of position because I NEVER see those advertised.

My guess is that TECHNICAL or perhaps better "non-creative" job positions exist higher into the company which are more "leadership" roles. I don't want to be some kind of "Director"... I want to CREATE GAMES! As a Director will no doubt need to supervise people ... And truth be told, I'm not the greatest "communicator" out-there.

So somehow Leadership roles have been blended into "creative"-oriented RESPONSIBILITIES. Nobody is going to PAY me to "Design Games". That sounds about RIGHT... But from the REALISTIC Point-of-View sounds RIDICULOUS... Who else is going to design games BESIDES the "Game Designer"?!?!

I just wanted to point out that generally speaking "creatives" have a harder time finding RELEVANT work. Probably because it's a question of money: the more senior roles are the ones DOING the "creating" as per my understanding. So for you to become a part of a firm, it means you need some higher skill set in something like Accounting (CFO), Management (CEO), Technology (CTO) or Production (COO). Or know of someone who IS and works for a Game Company to offer you to work on ONE (1) of your designs.

Last thing, TableTop Game Design is the CHANCE of you being your own BOSS. If you don't have the skills for one of the four (4) positions I've mentioned above (CEO, CFO, CTO or COO)... Well you need to work on MORE games and MAKING THEM A REALITY not just ideas or concepts. Without this nobody is going to believe you are a "Game Designer".

Why is this important?! Well on my own resume, I list experience volunteering and the games that I've brought to market. The more of these that I have... The more SERIOUSLY people will believe that I am a "Game Designer".

There was an old debate that had me arguing that everyone who comes to BGDF.com is NOT a "Game Designer". And another member argued: "Let people be who they want to be." So, his position was anyone one who designs a game whether completed or not is a "Game Designer". My argument against this is exactly why this comment is relevant: "If everyone is considered a Game Designer, how could we judge this to be accurate."

I think my answer would be "accomplishments". Like: "How many games have you had got into the hands of consumers???" My answer would be 2 consumer games (Quest and TradeWorlds) -- Of course TradeWorlds is NOT yet done... So that's my own problem. When will it get done!? The answer is hopefully soon...

But then this isn't really just when we think of all the Game Designers that design PNPs for FREE. What about them???

So I think all of this COMPLICATION around who and what qualifies someone as a Game Designer is the EXACT reason why there are so few "Game Designer" positions in the market. Everyone has IDEAS and everyone can spend some time developing them. And if that make THEM "Game Designers", the qualifications are too easy to earn the right to a title which could allow them to flourish in the marketplace (business) or on their own.

However we know how HARD it is to earn monies from "Game Design".

I'll let you all know in 5 years when I have 4 or 5 designs completed ... What people will think THEN. IDK to be honest. I feel like a waiter trying to make it in Holywood as an actor: we've all got to do other jobs until such time someone decides we are worthy for something better...

Just my $0.05 cents... @Eric.

questccg
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I wanted to add something

I've been searching Montreal for a Job as a "Game Designer". One place which is 10 minutes away from my home by car is a "Game Publisher". I contacted them to ask if they might be interested in "Publishing" TradeWorlds. I got a response e-mail from someone who ORDERED "TradeWorlds" via Kickstarter asking me about the game: "Will it be made? When do you think? etc."

This allowed me to have an HONEST conversation. Firstly he said that "TradeWorlds" looked to be awesome. I responded "Do you have any positions available for a Game Designer?" His response was a bit "discouraging" in that he told me: "They only design KIDS games." Nothing like Adult games such as TradeWorlds.

Generally speaking I contacted other Publishers in Montreal and got similar responses. This means that ALL the ADULT games are being made OUTSIDE of Montreal. This probably includes France, Germany and the USA.

So it seems that while there IS a "consumer" market for the games that I design, there is no LAB or company that PRODUCES them in Montreal. Which is in a way ODD!

Just wanted to share with you my extra "research" into "Game Design" and the kind of jobs available to "Game Designers" in Montreal. Cheers!

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Hey Quest

questccg wrote:
Nobody is going to PAY me to "Design Games".

Actually, that is something I will eventually be looking for. It's several years out, but I would love to build a small team to actually create games. To bring not only my ideas to fruition, but have the team develop their own ideas too. My long term plans are to establish my retirement, then focus my efforts on building the game company. I have calculated out that I should be able to launch when I am 56 (+/- 4 years). But at 35, I still have a ways to go.

questccg
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Cool beans!

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
Actually, that is something I will eventually be looking for.

Wow @Adam that is real neat that you put it into that kind of perspective. I do have a nest egg ... but nothing enough to retire on ... Or build a company with. My goal ATM is to finish up some more design and get the games out to the public. 35 to 56 is a lot of time! I didn't know people plan that far ahead. In my own case, it's more of a Try-And-See philosophy.

Meaning it will be my third (3rd) game "Crystal Heroes" (CH) and if I CAN'T make any revenue (I'm all invested on art and everything production)... So we'll see if that game will spark an interest and people buy it. If that happens GREAT. I have a fourth (4th) game and of course will by that time be looking for another Publisher for "TradeWorlds".

It's really a "no-brainer" TBH. The game is finished. All I need is someone who wants to re-sell it to distributors. Hmm... That gives me an idea. Maybe I can partner with someone and make it myself. The question is "orders", can we get a SOLID commitment from some distributors?!?!

See that's the deal. With the game finished, all I need to do is some "re-packaging" and have a "core" and "expansion" game. Two (2) games each sold separately. Obviously you need the "core" to play the "expansion" ... But maybe we can start small and go with the "core" FIRST!

We'll see ... What can be done.

With regards to your PLAN, that's very ambitious ... But I must say I'm impressed at your attitude. Congrats on the entrepreneurial spirit! Cheers.

nswoll
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Join a playtest group

I don't have a good answer to your actual question. In fact, I'm not sure what you mean by skills as a game designer. Having a bunch of ideas isn't special. Almost anyone who plays hobby board games has a hundred ideas for a good game. You say you love game design but 90% of game design is iteration - making a physical copy, playing it 50 times, and constantly updating it. If you have 0 games ready to show to a publisher than I question what you mean when you say you love game design. (Unless you just started of course)

Anyway, I've found that the best way to get over the hump of transferring an idea from the mind to the table is to join a playtesting group. Post online and get 4 or 5 people that like making or playtesting games together to meet up twice a month. Playing other people's prototypes is a great incentive to bring your own I've found.

questccg
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Actually "we" used to belong to a local group

I say "we" because I only attended one meeting. But @Larienna had a group of 4 Designers named "Game Designers Montreal" (a Yahoo Group). Here's the banner I designed for the group:

I know there was some discussions on the Yahoo Group. But not too much. It felt like the other designers weren't all that interested in designing... Maybe because of other commitments.

From what I have seen ... Not too many people get together to discuss and playtest games (in Montreal). Especially NOW with COVID-19... It's not wise to go to group events. We're being asked to have "bubbles" or groups if you prefer that you socialize with. Those bubbles should restrict themselves to ONLY those chosen people...

Anyhow I don't think the Yahoo Group is still "alive". I think Yahoo Groups ended a few years back (not 100% sure... But I remembered some End of Terms of Services ... Saying they were going to discontinue ...) but I may be incorrect.

I think ONLINE ... is the best solution. But as you can see there are only a couple dozen regulars and we are the LARGEST "Game Design" forum in the World...

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Thanks Quest

I appreciate the kind words. But if planning out 30+ years and retiring a little early to start a company is ambitious, that is concerning for my generation. I guess with an Architect personality type, I shouldn't be too surprised.

Even with those goals in mind, I still want to progress my ideas as much as possible as early as possible. That's why I have started upping my contribution on here. I want to build relations with as many people here as possible, so when a am ready to launch, I have a pool of interested talent to provide an opportunity to. I don't know how many on here will still be on here in about 20 years, but hopefully we can build relations beyond this site.

Thanks again.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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@larienna Would you be interested?

I have an online game idea that I think may be popular. If you want to explore designing someone else's project, I'd be happy to provide the concept and material. If you like it, feel free to develop it and try to profit from it. I won't ask for any money from the first iteration. I mainly would just like to see it come to life.

I actually have two game ideas, but would only focus on the one you would be interested in.

questccg
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Is this an "existential question"???

AdamRobinGames-ARG wrote:
I have an online game idea that I think may be popular... I actually have two game ideas, but would only focus on the one you would be interested in.

I think @larienna stated that he had TOO MANY ideas to start with. Instead of sharing YOUR OWN ideas... Maybe he is looking for people to HELP him with his 100+ ideas that exist ALREADY and have a bit of design work already done...!

  • I suggested notebooks to focus energies and thinking on EXISTING problems and not new projects (It works for me!).

  • @X3M suggested helping other with their games and generally working with other people.

  • @let-off suggested playtesting other people's games (a bit like @X3M) and to avoid consumerism. I think designing games is the opposite, you are producing a product... But he worries about over-consumption.

  • @nswoll suggested joining a group... Which ATM with COVID-19 is a really bad idea. Also there was a design group (as I mentioned) but the members had vague orientations and there seemed to be limited progression.

  • @Adam suggest working on a couple of his ideas... As a way to think about something other than your own 100+ game ideas.

You yourself suggested MAYBE becoming a "reviewer" but believe me there are already TOO MANY reviewers. Plus you tend to be biased and critical which is something most people don't want. They want more neutral voices that give pros AND cons ... by walking a fine line to HELP the people developing the product. Generally speaking you want to stay neutral but also paint the product in a "good light". Bad reviews are not good for anyone... And if you start with bad reviews, not many people will like that and nobody will ask you to continue to review their products...

This to me sounded to be an "existential question" TBH. But I'm not sure anymore...

larienna
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You are right about

You are right about reviewing, I might need to "neutralize" my tone. I generally give both the positive and negative. It is possible to "cheat" and only select games I am sure they are going to end up positive.

It was an interesting option as it could be done with only audio and I would nt need to type anything. But I'll have to spend time playing (of course) and probably researching (which I am not a fan)

Quote:
In fact, I'm not sure what you mean by skills as a game designer. Having a bunch of ideas isn't special.

I have more than just ideas. I have been into hundreds of iterations with many different game ideas. Only a small number of games made it to the end, and sometimes they were not entirely complete.

It's just that when I am iterating slowly on all those games, the ideas still continues to stack up.

Maybe I should make a web page with one liner game ideas that people could use to create game of their own when they lack of imagination instead of making another clone of Mah-Jong Solitaire. It could be a way of helping others.

questccg
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Attribution but free for commercial use

larienna wrote:
Maybe I should make a web page with one liner game ideas that people could use to create game of their own when they lack of imagination instead of making another clone of Mah-Jong Solitaire. It could be a way of helping others.

That's reasonable. But use something like a Creative Commons License. Something like you can use any or all ideas in this "page" (even for commercial purposes) but you must credit the original content creator (YOU).

This way it BOOSTs you "own achievements" if other people develop the ideas further.

That could be a good way of SHARING your ideas with other people.

They do this with other creative products like Game Icons.Net. You can use any and all icons, all they ask is for you to credit them... And you can do so in a rulebook (for example).

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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Outside pressure to meet goals

I know for some people it is easier to focus and finish when someone is counting on you to meet a deadline. Working on someone else's idea and/or working with someone on an idea might help you stay on task by holding each other to deadlines. @lariena, maybe try posting your games and a brief description with an open invitation to collaborate with a clear understanding of roles, expectations, and if it makes money how it would be divided up. Then have them hold you accountable (like they were your boss) and vice versa for their part.

X3M and Quest are doing a short form of this in the polyhedral dice discussion, where X3M is just requesting credit. I know, I know, I'm pushing for my ideas a bit too much, but you never know till you ask.

nswoll
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questccg wrote: You yourself

questccg wrote:

You yourself suggested MAYBE becoming a "reviewer" but believe me there are already TOO MANY reviewers. Plus you tend to be biased and critical which is something most people don't want. They want more neutral voices that give pros AND cons ... by walking a fine line to HELP the people developing the product. Generally speaking you want to stay neutral but also paint the product in a "good light". Bad reviews are not good for anyone... And if you start with bad reviews, not many people will like that and nobody will ask you to continue to review their products...

Eh, I strongly disagree with you here. First, I really prefer reviewers that do bad reviews. If I check out your review blog and I can't find a review of something you disliked then I have zero interest in your reviews. To me, if you don't rate something 1 star every once in a while you aren't being honest. Whereas if you give a lot of bad reviews then I have a strong reason to trust you when you give a good review. Your good reviews carry much more weight when balanced with bad reviews.
So, in light of that, I actually don't think there are many reviewers out there with this approach. Most reviewers just tell you about the game, there's very little opinion. But it's much easier to know if I will like a game if you have strong opinions and I already know I agree with your opinions, rather than just trying to guess if I will like it based on your unbiased review.

questccg
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We'll see if you like getting a 1/5 or 1/10

nswoll wrote:
Eh, I strongly disagree with you here. First, I really prefer reviewers that do bad reviews. If I check out your review blog and I can't find a review of something you disliked then I have zero interest in your reviews. To me, if you don't rate something 1 star every once in a while you aren't being honest...

Okay ... We'll see if you like one of your own games being given a 1 star. Sure it might be appropriate for other people's games... But when it becomes personal... I'd probably like to bet that you wouldn't be all that happy about it.

Secondly, IF you are producing a review for the general public... I feel like a 5/10 should be the lowest score. It means a mediocre game. I've got ratings for TradeWorlds for 1/10 or 2/10 just because the game is a late delivery. It has nothing to do with the game itself. So, it's just some people who are not happy waiting for the game to be produced.

It bugs me that I've gotten 1/10... When the game is stellar.

Of course you cannot really give it a 1/5 stars because like I said, YOU may not like it... But someone else may. So I would say 2.5/5 should be the lowest.

Again just my opinion. And it is based on giving games a fair break to succeed and not fail considering all the effort and work put into making the game...

Note #1: It's also like the yearly Car Guide. They give you pros and cons and rate various aspect to get a overall score. It is very RARE that you see 1/10 or 2/10. It would mean some serious design defect in the years model... Rarely happens. Sure some cars do better than mediocre ... But many on average have a 5/10 or 6/10... The exceptional years models go HIGHER!

Note #2: Also by you making a rating of 1/5 or 1/10 ... This is you personal rating. But as a Reviewer you owe something to the designer (to acknowledge all the effort put into the design). Quest Adventure Cards(tm) got a 3/10 ... And I was very disappointed. The art was very nice, the game was a playable game ... It was my first game... And I honest feel it should have gotten a 5/10.

You also need to consider the financial investment in making the game. Some are self-published and the designer may have used his own savings to make the game. And I say this because Quest AC was played by many kids and NO KID didn't like the game. How do I know this??? Because I ask: "Do you want to play again?" And all kids wanted to play the game again. I did live demos in FLGSs with all kinds of kids.

So while a 3/10 is good for Adults, I think the reviewer did not consider a game for KIDS to play... That's why I say it should have been a 5/10...

Like I said, because you don't like the game ... doesn't mean that there is not a AUDIENCE for the game! Younger kids play simpler games...

Note #3: And I'm not speaking through my HAT. Father Geek is a very well known reviewer. Cyrus has a good system for reviewing games that takes into consideration KIDS, PARENTS and ADULTS. To be Father Geek "Approved" ... All three categories need to give a Thumbs Up to the game... Meaning that KIDS, PARENTS and ADULTS ALL ENJOY playing the game. Some game might be good for KIDS and PARENTS ... But not ADULTS and as such don't get the Father Geek approval.

Just as a plug: TradeWorlds is Father Geek Approved.

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

I've gotten several requests to make "Quest AC" available to purchase. That is my point in terms of there being an "Audience" for the game. Parents with Kids will love the game... Because it's all about "Quests" and adventures. This has solidified my belief that a Second Edition (2nd) could merit a better gameplay structure/engine and still have Geof's amazing hand drawn artwork. I would of course TRY to recycle as much ART as possible and then have Geof complete the remainder (which is probably 70% to be done).

So, you see EVEN with a 3/10 ... I've been asked if the game is currently available to purchase... Because some "people" have asked where they could buy a copy.

You don't have to agree with me... I'm just presenting my own facts and experience which may vary from your own. Cheers!

Note #1: The main problem with a 2nd Edition is achieving a BALANCE between too simple and too complex. If I want the CCG to be of interest to kids and adults (Parents usually like games their kids can play -- and there is no violence, nudity or coarse references) I need something that BOTH groups will like. And believe it or not that can be HARD to achieve...

questccg
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Furthermore...

I really "dislike" people who vote 1/5 or 1/10 for a game that has only great reviews (8/10 to 10/10)... I've seen this on BGG and it seems like there is always a group of "haters" that don't want games to get TOO HIGH of a score. There is also supposed to by some kind of BGG mechanic that INSERTS a bunch of 5/10 votes to ensure that New games don't skew the rankings of the remainder of the games.

So like it or not... We're all going to get a BUNCH of 5/10 because that is how BGG keeps their rankings sane. 8/10 for 10 people padded with a bunch of 5/10 will probably net you a 6/10... Whereas 8/10 for 1,000 people will hold TRUE ... Even if padded with a bunch of 5/10...

I'm not inventing this up. It's true, I was discussing it with a BGG admin about the ranking/rating system. And the solution was to PAD any NEW games with 5/10 to LOWER their rankings because they don't have an established crowd yet...

larienna
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Quote:@lariena, maybe try

Quote:
@lariena, maybe try posting your games and a brief description with an open invitation to collaborate with a clear understanding of roles, expectations, and if it makes money how it would be divided up. Then have them hold you accountable (like they were your boss) and vice versa for their part.

That could be interesting. I had a similar idea but I was not sure there would be any interest for it. Especially if it's an idea that has not been proven to work. It's like giving the blue print of machine that does not work and requires design.

Quote:
First, I really prefer reviewers that do bad reviews.

Interesting. So my harsh review could have some interest. Even for bad games, I always evaluate the pro and cons. It's just that some games have more cons than pros.

Quote:
I feel like a 5/10 should be the lowest score.

I rated 1/10 a lot. Especially for board games. Look at my BGG ratings, I have a normal curve between 1 and 10. Compare to others that have a normal curve between 5 and 10.

Quote:
I really "dislike" people who vote 1/5 or 1/10 for a game that has only great reviews (8/10 to 10/10)... I've seen this on BGG and it seems like there is always a group of "haters" that don't want games to get TOO HIGH of a score

Board games have polarised reviews, some will say it's the best game in the world while other will say it's the worst game in the world. In video games, normally when most people agree a game is good, everybody seems to follow unless it's really not your genre of game or you have certain issues. But in BG, it's 50/50. Take a look at "covert action", worst game in the world from my POV, some might say it's not even a game, but some say it's an awesome game.

AdamRobinGames-ARG
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If you want to send me a list

Since I want to learn how to manage others for when I start a business, would you be willing to try an experiment with me? I will review your projects and select one to help you focus on to finish. I will direct your efforts and expect updates to help you stay on task (i.e. act like a boss). Since it is an experiment, I will not ask for any of the profits (it'll be all yours) and I will not be responsible for any costs. I would only ask for a thanks in the rules and (only if you start making money off it) 1 free copy, nothing else. This would be a great learning oppurtunity for me and hopefully help you direct your efforts and give you a renewed interest.

If it sounds crazy or you have no interest, your not going to hurt my feelings by saying so. Or if you are interested, then at any time if either of us change our mind, no worries, we'll alert the other and break it off. No obligations with this experiment.

questccg
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Do you plan to do a lot of micro-managing?

This is an honest question. And not any reflection on what you are asking. I just get the feeling that by "bossing" you'd have "hard-deadlines" and "stress" and things like that. When in TRUTH, the ideal type of a business is more of a "LAB" setting, where ideas are shared, work is tracked through "soft-deadlines" and peer mentoring. The experience should be organic and progress reported in percentages of accomplished goals.

Trust me having an organic type of work place is much better when it comes to creatives and achieving success with millennials. Not that this really matters but I had an office with two junior resources working with me. Can you be patient and wait for an employee to take rest because he was playing WOW all night long and came to work exhausted he needed 2 hours of paid sleep so that he could resume his duties?!

This is part of what is hard about dealing with people. You have to be VERY sympathetic or you will never get anywhere with them. Or they'll label you a Neo-Nazi and refuse to do their "best work" or worst quit in the middle of a project.

I get the impression that you expect your day job bosses to be an influence in your own company. If this is even partially true, you should re-evaluate the people you would want to emulate better. No corporate boss is fit to drive the creative juices of other "creatives". Like I said, you literally need to throw the "old rules" of managing aside and treat your employees like people... Or as an exercise maybe family. There is bound to be dysfunctionality in cookie-cutter type management.

It's really about approach each person as an individual and asking them: "What can you do for me today?" Because Millennials are so different from the Gen-X or Baby Boomers ... You literally need to be very patient and understand IF today is a "Bad Day" ... Don't expect much work to be done.

And if you are contracting with creatives, remember they may be occupying there time with more lucrative (but more boring) work also. Like my own artist/illustrator I am using for "Crystal Heroes". She has a book illustration deal ... But the subject matter is not at all as engrossing as my own game. However she has limited amount of time, so it takes her longer to complete illustrations than any of my previous artists/illustrators. And I'm fine about that. The way we work it is she provides me with milestones art: sketches, draft colors and final copy. In the process, she includes different "concepts" or ideas for the art and allows me to choose what I like best or what direction she should explore further. I think this type of management-style is best ... And not trying to control her schedule or have "hard-deadlines" and/or micro-manage the entire process.

I am very liberal (in terms of working with people). My ex-boss was like: "We need the software to do X." I would go into my own world, define some goals and a timeline that I saw fit (not some project manager) and then I would flesh out details on my own and report progress. I most always was on-time or early in my work. Even when we got feature requests from customers, I took the requests, prioritized them as I saw fit and then implement them within the time frame that I established.

Those are the good jobs. I've consulted for a few clients with little scruples. Force you attend aimless meetings, force you to meet a specific deadline, transfer you around to different teams on various projects, etc. The list can go on about wrongful management.

The bottom line is nothing in Corporate America should be used as a model for a "creatives" Lab. Fair warning. You should also work with Graphic Designers (for rules layouts and Kickstarter pages) ... That could be an excellent learning in how to work with other creatives. Also hiring a artist/illustrator is another contractual resource you can learn how to work with them also.

Just some background information. I've worked with 4 Graphic Artists, 3 Artists/illustrators and 2 Programmers. This is for my own projects for my company. The experiences vary ... but have taught me to be patient with people (that's the greatest lesson that I have learned).

Cheers and don't be at all discouraged. Go forth and experience LIFE!

Note #1: All the people that I listed that I worked with were ALL on "contractual" basis. I could never afford to pay someone full-time wages. Also because they are smaller sized projects, each resource has A> a lot of lea-way B> a lot of responsibility. So it's not like you can "replace" an Artist half-way through a project. That would be CATASTROPHIC. Same goes with a Graphic Designer that you've spent weeks working with. People working in these situations have much more leverage than your average full-time worker in a team with "replaceable" members... Your vision needs to be to focus on the END-PRODUCT and do what is best in achieving it. It's very different from Corporate America.

Note #2: And what do I know about Corporate America... I used to consult for Fortune 500/1000s. On software in the $1M+ department. How many? About half a dozen (some biggies like Fannie May, Citigroup, Mass-Mutual) in addition to Blue Chip Canadian companies (Hydro Quebec, National Bank, Videotron, SAQ, SaskTel to name a few). So I'm aware of what it's like to be a "disposable" consultant in many big companies.

Note #3: Just as a FYI, on one project the resources were so lost that months were being wasted doing nothing. I re-planned the entire project from start to ending with timelines and goals... Only to be told by the Project Manager thanks... But I wasn't going to be on the implementation team. Talk about gratitude! Bah.

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