Archive for October, 2006

Form before function?

October 24, 2006

When I’m designing a game, I tend to come up with some sort of a basic idea for the setting of the game before I look too deeply into the actual mechanics and rules that will be used.

Once this basic idea is set, I can then start on fleshing out the game. Over the course of time, the basic premise tends to become slightly decoupled from the game itself, I find it rare that the initial idea is vital, as the game tends more towards the abstract.

I know that some games are designed the other way around, an idea occurs to the designer for some interesting rules or mechanics, an abstract game is written, and then they attempt to fix the game into a setting once it is complete.

I don’t tend to like this method, as the setting always feels more forced, elements are changed to match the abstract rules. If you have a setting to begin with, it can guide to creation of the rules at points of uncertainty, and so won’t feel so forced, even if it does end up that the game and the setting are only partially related.

If you write an abstract game, I think it’s generally best to leave it at that, and don’t try to force a setting, as it’s harder to do than having a setting and writing a game to match it.


Nanowrimo Games – Update

October 17, 2006

Well, November is shaping up to be really rather ridiculously busy, which is going to turn something that was only a bit of a challenge into a rather daunting epic. Oh well, such is life.

I’m currently leaning towards my Volcano idea, I’ve not tried one of these co-operative style games before, so it should be fun to add an extra learning curve to my schedule.

When doing official Nanowrimo, you are allowed to write story plans and plot outlines, but mustn’t let pen touch paper for the actual novel until 1st November. I don’t think that it suits my version to allow too much to be done beforehand, I’m not planning to  actually commit anything to paper other than the vague synopsis  I’ve already given,  but there are some thoughts floating around in my head, I’m sure I’ll be off to a quick start, and I hope I can maintain the pace throughout the month.

Nanowrimo Games

October 12, 2006

Nanowrimo is a national competition where you attempt to write an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November, from start to finish. I’m not really a novel writer, but I’m quite keen on designing games, so I’m thinking of trying to do a Nanowrimo Game, fully designed, play-tested and published in a month.

I’ve got two ideas at the moment, and I think I’ll run with whatever grabs me the most at the beginning of November.

  • Space Race – You are competing with the other players to build a Space programme from scratch, and to make money, by colonising space, selling your technology, and exploiting the resources of the Solar system.
  • Volcano – A co-operative game, players are a group of scientists, attempting to warn a community to the dangers of a volcano about to erupt in their midst, and trying to save as many people as possible from the lava.

I’m quite fond of both of these ideas, so the one that doesn’t get done as a Nanowrimo might find itself attacked in a more leisurely manner at a later date.