Game-design galore!

edited January 2012 in Story Games
I've published no games the last years. This has made me think that my creative spirit has been in decline ...
- but then I got the idea to count the publications in the "5-minute challenge"-thread, and by doing that conceiving the idea to count my own designs the last years too ...
- it helped.
A lot!

I've designed a total of 63 games the last five years. Most of them are insignificant trifles, but there are some small jewels amongst them, in my view. Amongst them is my discovery of role-playing poems.

The sheer amount of games made me think, once I counted them; maybe such an approach towards game-design is a road towards excellence? I've made some pretty good games already, from first to last:
- by opening up for total intuitive design: Muu (published 1989, classical rpg, GM and players)
- by simple and intelligent experimentation: Pervo (published 1996, classical rpg, GM and players)
- by hard work: Fabula (1995-2012, published 1999, classical rpg, GM and players)
- and by applying methods discovered by others: Livets Høst (2006, modern rpg, players).

The last one is a bit back in time now; Livets Høst was designed in 2006, and is still not published. It actually signaled something new in my game-design; a serious intent to change/help humans. I want to try help people become better versions of themselves, by playing games. I want my games to have this quality; this potential, in the hands of average people.

It's a tall order! Some will say it's an absurd goal, or totally un-realistic for a game-designer. I do not know.

I am ready to give it a try, though, on behalf of my game Livets Høst. That game seems to have this quality. But it lacks a functional framework to be published in. It lacks an established "field of operation", both in terms of where it fits into society, and in terms of where it fits into game-design and publishing.

So what I've done since 2006 has been to bide my time, in a way. Initially it was very frustrating to have a game like Livets Høst, and nowhere to go with it. I tried making more games of the same sort, and succeeded partially. I tried to gather funding to design and publish a series of games like this, actually planning two series of 18 games in total, but failed to get any funding for them. It was frustrating, and in the end I gave up on it. Kind of ...

What I did do, after a while, was starting to design a lot of games. 63 games in total the last five years. It's not been a conscious choice. It just happened, maybe due to the frustration; I just needed to went my creativity. Still; now I believe it has been necessary, not only as a went, but as a way forward. It has certainly been very fruitful. And more important: I have learned a lot by designing all these games. It's been like soaking my brain in a design cauldron.

It's made me a more experienced and mindful designer, and a much more efficient one. I'm more efficient now, both in terms of finishing games, and in terms of making my methods work in liege with the vision of the games I design. If I want my players to cry, I'm better equipped to make them, by game-design. If I want them to laugh, I'm better at that too.

And when I think back; it is not all that hard doing it. 63 games has been easy to make, actually. The key is not to be too concerned about the spelling, the methodic qualities, or if someone is going to play it. Design in itself is the road forward. Here is how YOU may do it:
- Give yourself a narrow framework to work in; a time-limit or a certain field of design you want to explore, and DO it!
Don't hold back; DO it, and file the game as finished. Finishing a game has its own reward. You will be surprised by the ease it may be done, and the experience that may be had by doing it.

You should really try it!

And me; where will I go from here?
- I'm convinced now, that to design a lot of games really is a road towards excellence. And I certainly need excellence to have a go at my tall design goal; to make games that may change humans. I want to do it, and I believe this is the year I will start working towards it, in an organized and directed way. I believe the world is ready for such games now. I hope I've got the excellence to make it happen ...

Wish me luck!

Comments

  • Reading about your 63 designs made me think..

    The software community has github, a place where people continuously work on their code, and publish and share small nuggets of content continuously. You can subscribe to other people and can see their work as it evolves. Products have closure, but at the same time they can be continuously evolved.

    In the open source world github created both a cambrian explosion of designs and greater focus and collaboration on some projects.

    I wonder if we need - or could use - something like that.
  • Why not use github? All it really is, is a document versioning service. I know that Quinn Murphy (gamerfiend) has talked some about using it to house some of his ideas.
  • @jbmannon

    You are right, of course.
    The main problem is the lack of a usable interface to push/pull the changes. Even the graphical ones are far too complicated.
    Do you know any good interface to github that does not expose complexity? Something almost as simple as dropbox, unless you need otherwise?

    Saying that, it's easier to rewrite an interface than to rewrite github ;-)

    --i
  • I have written a lot of little games myself. Most of them I never get to play and most I never post anywhere. I think your right though, quick designs and small games are a great place to test out ideas and hone your writing skills. I may take the Games Galor idea and challenge myself to write one game a month that I post somewhere.
  • Sorry to intrude.
    I have read the expression a few time here, but I still wonder what are "role-playing poems"? (the poem part puzzle me)
    (To avoid derailing the discussion, just a link toward a presentation of the concept is fine)
    thanks.
  • Good point, Tomas. I don't have the time to devote to designing/writing/editing/publishing "full" story games. But I've been able to stay creative in the hobby by working on roleplaying poems and by writing playsets for Fiasco. The bite-sized pieces keep the content coming and don't require extensive editing or layout.
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: Caesar_XI've been able to stay creative in the hobby by working on roleplaying poems and by writing playsets for Fiasco.
    I'm a bit curious about that game, and those "playsets". Seems to me there is a lot of them floating around. What are they?

    To keep your pen active is important. There is no free ride towards excellence. Training is essential. But designing many small games may be considered a short-cut towards some of the excellence we need; better prose and more functional methods. It may even be the best way towards innovative game-design ...

    Forcing yourself to make split second decisions, and produce something of coherence within the confines of, say, a forum post, is a good way to train the skills you need for greater projects. And it may give you the wisdom/insights to make your games both smaller and simpler, and better still!
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: JBMannonI have written a lot of little games myself. Most of them I never get to play and most I never post anywhere.
    Post them!
    Posting games has its own perks;
    - someone might like them, and comment, even play them
    - you spread your ideas, and initiate discourse based on them
    - you will see your own game differently, when posting/publishing it
    - it gives a better sense of closure, even though it's just posting on a forum
  • Posted By: TomasHVMPosted By: JBMannonI have written a lot of little games myself. Most of them I never get to play and most I never post anywhere.
    Post them!
    Posting games has its own perks;
    - someone might like them, and comment, even play them
    - you spread your ideas, and initiate discourse based on them
    - you will see your own game differently, when posting/publishing it
    - it gives a better sense of closure, even though it's just posting on a forum

    I am! Twelve games in twelve months throughout 2012. I even stole your thread name (kinda) Games Galore 2012! January's game is in the process now.
  • BRAVO!

    Have a happy year! May you design from one end of the year, to the other!
  • edited January 2012
    Posted By: TomasHVMI'm a bit curious about that game, and those "playsets". Seems to me there is a lot of them floating around. What are they?
    Semi-random lists of plot hooks and relationships that the players are challenged into crafting a story from. Re-usable, thematic, and ideal for pick up games.
    --
    TAZ
  • Ah, simple input. The return of lists!
  • I'm taking JBMannon up on the game design challenge, as well. He already posted about my first effort, School Daze, in the What to Watch in January 2012 thread. I've got enough ideas lined up right now to get me through June. I am sure more will be forthcoming.

    I'm looking forward to the challenge and excitement of getting content out where people can see it.
  • edited January 2012
    Ideas and work is the parents of more ideas. Staying in the creative field will help you come up with more games to make, Tracy. Good luck!
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