New to Game Design

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by deveras111, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. deveras111

    deveras111 Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    5
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hey everyone, I just wanted to post something about my plans for the rest of 2019 (the 4 months that are left anyway) game design-wise, and maybe ask for some advice. So, being as new to game design as I am, I am not that great at it yet. I've started using RPG maker MV since march of this year, and have been working on different random ideas that come to me in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. In truth, I've been using RPG maker MV as an introduction into actual coding, getting used to working hours on trying to make a certain mechanic work and trying to debug it for the 20th time when it still doesn't work.

    One of the points I have heard most from veteran game designers is that when starting out, the biggest issue is not being able to finish a game, however small. So in that spirit, back in June, I decided to begin a game a month project, where I would finish a game within a month, and do this for the rest of the year. The results so far have been interesting. I've learned a lot about rpg maker eventing, as well as about myself. My biggest issue seems to be, unsurprisingly, finishing the game. I'll want to add stuff, or I'll let other things get in the way and when the end of the month comes around, it either isn't fully playable or isn't done enough. I also have trouble flushing out game mechanic ideas it seems like.

    Any advice from people with more experience, or maybe people trying to get into game design as well? Thanks!
     
    #1
    VitaliaDi likes this.
  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    4,668
    Location:
    Riftverse
    First Language:
    Indonesian
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Knowing which features that are important to add into the game and the one that aren't, requires experience. People might start to suggest you strip down the feature bloat, the one that serves nothing. But let's be real if you're new to this you might have no idea when to back off, thus you keep adding stuff.

    Personally? Go nuts! Everyone's first game may not actually be a masterpiece. Accept the failure, and move forward. What was the mistake you did? What was the feature you thought it was cool, but it wasn't? Or better yet, go create multiple projects to try to experiment with a different idea. While completing a game has valuable experience on its own when you do actually finish it, creating multiple projects to test stuff on your mind isn't a bad idea either, probably, as long as you stay as a hobbyist (I couldn't say for professional).

    I'm already in the flip side of the coin where I keep stripping down my game features because they serve no real purpose other than making the game bloated and more complex than necessary. Especially the implementation time may take a while (not to mention, balancing and debugging) outweigh the impact to the game.
     
    #2
  3. PhxFire

    PhxFire The Eternal Flame Veteran

    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    57
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    One thing that really helped me when I started was to look at what others had created, I looked up maps from rpgmaker games and watched let's plays to find cool feature to add to my own games. Seeing what other people did and listen to an experienced player comment on what they like/ dislike can give you a huge head start when your just beginning. However aside from that you still are gonna need experience, and that just comes with time, so for now just have fun and be prepared to work out lots of bugs lol
     
    #3
    Black Pagan likes this.
  4. VitaliaDi

    VitaliaDi Jedi Master Veteran

    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    120
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    I've finished two games now after starting way more and I'd say that the hardest part in finishing a game is all the little stuff at the end. Refining bugs, playtesting, grammar checking, and all the rest of the tweaks. You just have to push through though and once you do finish a game it's so rewarding because you put so much work into it, and especially during the hard parts that drag on, it's all worth it.

    Some people keep daily checklists and just make sure they work on SOMETHING every day, that's one way to finish. I didn't give myself a time limit for finishing because deadlines often stunt my creativity and when it's a personal project sometimes I'll put it off longer f there's a deadline. Find what works for you, that's part of finishing your first game :)

    Don't be shy in these forums, they're very helpful and the people are motivating, idk if I would have finished without that support.

    And find a project you're excited about that you WANT to finish. If you don't like the project you will most likely ditch it for something else.
     
    #4
  5. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

    Messages:
    1,628
    Likes Received:
    2,935
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    The quantity of work required to finish a game is usually very big. It's something you can do in a short amount of time or by overworking for a week (unless it's a short game made in a game jam or something similar). So to be able fo finish the project you must have a kind of schedule: try working a bit on your project every day. If you do that for a year or two, chances are that you are going to finish your project, even if it's a big one.
     
    #5
    Finnuval and VitaliaDi like this.
  6. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    28,153
    Likes Received:
    6,375
    Location:
    Germany
    First Language:
    German
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    @deveras111
    you need to start planning before making the game.

    as people said above, developing "on the fly" will cause you to add things that are unplanned and always ending short of time.
    and that is even more short of time because you have not even once reached the point where the real finish work begins.

    here are two more things to consider:
    as a general guideline, 1 playing hour needs about 100 developing hours of work. This can be different depending on experience and type of game and other factors, but it should give you a point to start thinking.

    and full-time work is considered to be 168 hours per month. If you have anything else to do (work, school, whatever) it is almost impossible to work fulltime on your game, so you can't get more than one playing hour out of your project in a month.

    Use this to calculate and plan something that gives you a chance to complete in a month - but then don't abandon it if you can't finish it in a month, but finish it in the second month.

    Because the important thing is not to make a game in a month - the important thing is to finish a game, and then see how much extra time you needed for playtesting and bughunting.
     
    #6
    VitaliaDi and MushroomCake28 like this.
  7. LaFlibuste

    LaFlibuste Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    315
    First Language:
    French
    To add to what Andar said about planning:

    Start by defining your game's theme, its style, its feel, its intended gameplay. Then take the features you have or have been thinking about one by one and consider if they build towards that direction, reinforce those things, or detract from them.

    Let me give you an example: I have this one friend who decided to start developing a board game. It is this sort of 3-way rock-paper-scissor thing and he wanted it to be this short and fast party game type where people would backstab each others all the time and hijinks ensue, with a medieval warriors theme. Then to make it more interesting, he introduced this kind of money variable that increases each couple of rounds, and then created piles of equipments with variable amounts of defense, attack, some special skills, etc. It was not entirely uninteresting as it introduced a tactical element, but having to read through all that stuff, plan ahead, etc. really slowed the whole thing down and made this essentially luck-based game something much more strategic, something you might not want to play drunk with a bunch of goofy friends at 2AM. Which was kind of his objective to begin with.

    So decide on the feel, theme, style of your game, define what your objective is, and with each thing you add, consider if it goes in that direction or if it detracts from it. Corollary, look at what others have done, and think about what you could add in/do differently to reinforce your intended theme/style/feel. I've been talking mostly about mechanics but you can extend this line of thinking to art style, music, mapping, dialogs, plot, etc. This will make your game more cohesive, more focussed, more effective. And might stop you from adding stuff to no end and never being able to finish anything due to feature bloat.

    Also if you're new, give this a read, especially the ones on FF6, Chrono Trigger and FF7. Gives you an idea of how you can plan your game, what you can do. It was extremely enlightening for me, at least.
     
    #7
    Wavelength likes this.
  8. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

    Messages:
    4,076
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    I couldn't agree more with @LaFlibuste!! That's great advice, and to piggyback on it just a bit - keep in mind very clearly, from the very beginning, what you are hoping to deliver to your players. In what way, specifically, do you want your game to be fun and engaging?

    If you have a good answer to this, and you use that answer as your north star, you will either design truly great games, or you will learn a lot because what works and what doesn't work will present itself very clearly (and that way you can create great games next time). If you don't have a good answer to this, or you let that answer get confused by trying to incorporate mechanics that don't fit the dynamic you wanted to bring, then you'll create mediocre games (at best) that feel pointless.

    The MDA Framework (Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics of play) is a really good place to start if you want to truly design games rather than simply "make" them. Here's a good explanation in video form, and here's a good one in essay form.
     
    #8
  9. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

    Messages:
    1,190
    Likes Received:
    3,329
    First Language:
    Dutch
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    In addition to all the great advice already given I would add : talk to your fellow game-devs, bounce your ideas around with them, listen to their ideas, get feedback en give feedback to others, look at what others are doing and think what you would add or change if it was yours...
    You'll learn a lot of small bits and pieces that way you might never know when they'll be useful.

    Thats my 2 cents anyway
     
    #9
  10. CraneSoft

    CraneSoft Villager Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    2
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Like what some have already suggested, planning and trading feedbacks with fellow game-devs (especially the ones that create games with the similar nature to yours) and your target audience are almost mandatory if you want to succeed at finishing your first game with a quality above "College Student Assignment" level, especially if you don't have a team and you work alone. So there's not much to elaborate on that part.

    Now something from myself:
    In order to finish a game, you have to set a goal for yourself. What are you looking to achieve by finishing a game? Recognition? Profits? Or just as a personal hobby? Or you are just trying to finish a game for the sake of completion? You'll have to decide and work towards that.

    I'll be realistic here: Most projects don't get finished because there is no real merit in doing so unless it is commercial by nature, where you are looking to be rewarded for your hard work.. Sure, you are accumulating experience from all the years of RPGMaking, but ultimately you'll want to create something you can share to the world, that is the nature of game development. There is a limit of how much sheer determination / perseverance can carry one person through a long development cycle, regardless of how much you love game design.

    Once you have a clear goal to work for, you will be able to make better decisions on what you truly need for your current project and what is not, with the help of the people you engage with.

    TLDR: Setting a Goal + Engagement is key.
     
    #10

Share This Page