Wednesday 28 December 2016

Publishing Advice #20: Deceptive Love in Game Design

It's natural that mother loves her baby. And it's quite common that creator loves his creation! While loving a child will be fruitful and will bring a lot of joy, loving our inventions will give us nothing, or even worse - can be harmful! I'm not saying to hate our designs! I'm not stating that liking what we are doing or what we created is bad! I'm writing about a kind of love which stops us from making better games.

My old RPG system

When I was a youngster, I was a big fan of traditional RPGs. I was a very imaginative person. One of the greatest things I started as a child was my RPG system which I was creating for 15 years! For the most of the time, we were playing the game 1-2 times per week. Years and years of testing! I loved it! It was my "beautiful" baby!

About year ago, I destroyed everything I made during those 15 years! Why would I do that?

Reasons I decided to get rid of my game:

1. I realised that my RPG system and the whole universe didn't change that much in that 15 years; there was a very slow progress, my universe was not growing.

2. I felt the whole system bounded me. I couldn't go beyond it! I wanted to start creating new things without any influence from my old system.

3. I knew I could create something way better.

It's not easy to get rid of the fruit of your hard work! It was painful; I felt a bit devastated! I felt like throwing away a part of me. But no one said it's gonna be easy!

The draft of destructive love:

1. The designer creates a game. He accidentally fell in love with it!

Be aware that everyone is vulnerable to "falling in love", so just keep that in mind.

2. The mechanism of the game doesn't work that well. The game needs significant changes to fix it, make it more playable and ready for further testing and improvements.

3. The designer loves his game, and unfortunately, he loves not working mechanic as well. He believes in it, and he is 100% sure that the mechanic is enjoyable and working. He doesn't want to change the mechanism but prefers to do small changes in other places to keep it as it is, or he's trying to modify it slightly. He's finding excuses why the actual mechanic is great and fun. He's trying to sort out the issue without touching the root of the problem. Maybe his real problem is his love?

Remember the love can be incredibly strong and blind!

4. After weeks the game is better, but it's still quite in the same place. Other parts of the game improved, but one causing the problem is still there!

So how I can deal with this love?

- Have a distance to your game, don't worship or love it.

- If something is not working, don't be afraid that you will lose something if you get rid of it or change it. You can always come back to the old version if you wish!

- In my experience when I change something to my beloved game, most of the time the new thing is much better, I'm more than happy with the results.

- Stay always on track of your love level - when it happens you'll be ready!

Ooh, I didn't tell you yet what happened after I throw away my old game, didn't I?

I know it sounds strange, but something clicked in my head! It's like I'd released some space on my personal hard drive. I don't wanna glorify that throwing things away will change your life, but I feel it was helpful. Maybe it's my subjective feeling, but I think saying to my RPG system "bye" was one of the things that helped me in my board game design and writing this blog! And I have a full head of new ideas for games and much much more. Actually, I don't have enough time to work on all of my ideas!


Did you ever get rid of something you loved? Leave a comment if you wish!


If you enjoyed my post, you could like my other articles about Design and Publishing!