Creative process: Design first or resources first?

TheoAllen

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This is merely a curiosity.
I believe there are two types (or a mix of both) of the creative process (in the scope of RPG Maker).

We all know that we ourselves can not do everything so we look for the resources. By resources I mean, plugins, assets, the known capability/limit of the engine, or even your own/team skills. The amazing RPG Maker community contributed a lot to this overabundance of the resources pool that you could choose and pick to put into your game, however, sometimes you need a specific kind of resources that just doesn't exist in the already available resources pool for a sake of your game. So here is the question.

Do you design your game based on the available resources?
OR
Do you design your game first then look for the way how to implement it?

To give an example case, consider you found a large collection of libraries of plugins from many authors. If you're the first type, you gotta try most if not all those plugins and see what you can do with them. Ultimately, you're adding features because that is the available resources for you. You want a specific crafting system but there is no such crafting plugin, so you gotta deal with the available crafting plugin and design around it.

For the second case, you design a game, design a story, and all. However, you realized that you need a specific kind of resource. Whether that is to represent something (like a specific tileset, graphics), or you need a specific game design mechanic. But that kind of resource isn't available. Then you decide to make/learn to do it. Brute force by diving into seeking for a certain plugin, modifying the existing plugin even if it will take time to do so, or even pay someone. Either you succeed making that happen or ultimately dropped it because you just can't do it.
 
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Frostorm

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I do the latter, design first then scour for resources or ways to implement. This method is probably the slower of the 2 though...
 

fluffymonster

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I design the game first and look into further resources as I go if I need them.
 

CraneSoft

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Game first, implementation later. More room for growth and learning new skills. I lost count how many times I had to modify scripts and resources even if they are available. :kaoswt2:
 

JosephSeraph

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It really depends on my goals. Sometimes grounding yourself with "limits" (i say "limits" because that's a pretty stratospheric limit...) is a great way to keep an idea concise and to the point.
That's what I do when I'm programming anyway, I limit my scope to things that are easy to implement then try to think about the best way to make them fun or meaningful.

Both ways are great ways to tackle game development, but they have very distinct ups and downs.
 

Alphaistimz

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I usually design first, but I also look at what's available to use since I'm an artist but no coder. If the ones I need don't exist, I usually find workaround to get similar effects and that's where creativity is involved. :kaohi:
 

Kes

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Design first, then resources.

However, I think it would be wrong to limit this discussion just to plugins/scripts - though only thinking of plugins/scripts when it comes to design seems to be becoming the default thought mode, sadly.

Graphic resources can have a huge impact. There has been more than one occasion where what I wanted didn't exist, and was beyond my limited abilities. So then a choice - do I commission or do I adapt what I was going to do? Usually it's the second, but not always.

To convey depth and atmosphere, audio resources are essential (SEs and MEs are neglected in far too many games, imo). SEs I can do myself, but BGMs are beyond me. Here I am less likely to adapt my design and more likely to commission.
 

nio kasgami

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the rules of thumbs is not even going to design your story / game but to actually :
Prototype

you do actually just implement a prototype of an idea :
example : I want a tower defense where you place unit and fight in first person.
NO story at all anything you just implement and see if the gameplay is interesting

THEN you go and design a story if necessary or any extra features , art assets.
what's the point to do a big lore and all designed if the Core of the game is boring?
 

JosephSeraph

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Sometimes the core of the game is a good story.
 

TheoAllen

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@Kes I said resources which include asset, I guess that I wasn't clear enough to say that includes graphics and music. As well as your own skill to make something. What's the better word for it though?

EDIT:
@nio kasgami
You probably missed my point in this discussion.
Specifically your case, you want to make a tower defense. But you don't have enough the resource to build the prototype, in this case, the plugin itself.

The choice you have is
1. Build a different game mechanic that you could implement yourself easily.
2. Try harder to build it even if it cost your lifetime or money. You can't let go of the idea.

It is not about the design process which one you should do first. But acknowledging your own capability that you just can't implement a design with your current skill and resources.
 
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Kes

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@TheoAllen I was reacting more to the replies than to your post. I think 'Resources' is fine. It's the way it seemed to be narrowing down to just one type of resource that I thought was limiting.
 

MushroomCake28

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I'm definitely on team design first, find resources afterwards. However, I design stuff in general beforehand, then I take a look at resources, then I design the details.

For instance, the kind of resources I'm looking for are graphic assets (since I can only code and compose, can't draw). I design my story and its systems. Okay, so I have the story and I want to make a tactics game. Now, how am I going to do the battlers? I decide to go with characters on the map. Now before creating the enemies, I search for the resources online to see which enemies I can get in a chara version. I don't add enemies that I don't find characters for.
 

The Stranger

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I design something first, but try to keep available resources in mind. I've had to change various things about my setting and mechanics after discovering the lack of resources for what I wanted to create.
 

Oddball

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I do both at the same time
I design then look for resources i need to make the design work. Then design again, then look for resources to make it work
 

slimmmeiske2

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I'm also more of a Design first type of gal. Since I'm more graphically inclined, I have more of an issue with finding scripts that fit my ideas. (It's one of the reasons why I'm trying to learn Ruby again).

For jams though, I definitely look at resources first.
 

Finnuval

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Pretty much the same for me as @slimmmeiske2. Design first, can do art myself. No good at scripts so those I do look for when an idea hits me to see if its available or I try to adapt in some way, shape or form.

Music I always use for inspiration anyway so most dlc and free resources of that nature I Already got and know generally what's available :)
 

slimmmeiske2

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...Oh yeah, music xD (Totally forgot about that :aswt: )
Just like with scripts, I'm really not much of a music person, but I also have no specific ideas for it, so choosing music is pretty much "resources first" kind of deal for me.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I've always looked for resources and started putting things together before I actually finished my plotline/storyline and details for my game. This is most likely why I've never been able to finish a game.

Currently, I've been doing this again for current game project; however, I've decided to stop all work on my game within the maker until I have completely finished all the game design on paper.

I really want to finish a game. So far, going about it this way has helped me already trim some unnecessary fat from what I had doing in the maker. I've got a better idea of how my battle mechanics will work, how the characters should behave within the story, and a better grasp on level design within the context of the game. I've been able to whittle my enemy database down from over 100 to about 50, which will save me a lot of time in other areas of the database. I've come to the conclusion that nearly have the plugins I had in the project are not needed. I've found that my game does not need a crafting system, which will save me hours and hours of dev time.

Going over everything on paper and putting it into a spreadsheet has probably saved me hundreds of hours of dev time, helped me understand exactly how certain mechanics will fit together to create a more seamless game, and has probably given me the best chance of completing this game.

So now I am a big proponent of design first, gather resources and put it together in the maker second.
 

JosephSeraph

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Even though I pretty much always do 100% custom, even within this context I have a "Resources First" approach more often than not, and that shapes the direction of several things.

Mostly by taking into account how much I can invest of my time into making art for a given project, which makes me calculate which direction gives me the biggest bang for my buck.For the last thing I was playing around with a month ago, I decided to forego the large amount of time spent making tiles and maps and sub all maps for menu-like screens, for example. That definitely impacted the game's design pretty heavily.
 

Sharm

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I'll look at what's available, get a rough idea of what's possible without DIY or hiring, then design without limiting myself to what's there. I just want to be close so I'm not spending too much time or money on going out of bounds, but the wiggle room lets me do things outside of that too. I've got enough ability and reputation to either make or convince someone to do it for me without too much trouble, so I haven't run into any problems getting new things for the few unusual things I want.
 

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