Welcome Gamers and Players,
I assume that, at this point, you have a flowchart of your gamificable business activities, a lot of brainstorming ideas and a simple draft that describe the game (a draft maybe similar to this one or this one or even more detailed if you are able to).
Now we have to create the game. It’s a difficult step, indeed. The best is to start with a meeting involving Programmers, Marketing, Communication, Ceo, Cio and so on. Anyone who will had a role in developing or launching product shall, al least, know what’s moving on. Probably, you will take more critiques than greetings from this meeting: this is good, because allow you to focus on what needs a fix.
After collecting feedback from your co-workers, that will help you to further improve your first draft, you need to create a game system and make the most important choose of all the development process (with support of your ICT division). What “kind” of game is better, and on what device.
The following are self-explaining question and statement about game-design mission and strategy. Following this question and giving them answers, you can figure out what is the best systems and the best channel for your game. The sentences have to be a little generic because at this point you can be interested in developing any possible game on any possible platform… so you have to choose what do not fit with your strategies.
What channel and technologies your game is developed for?
It will be better to release a game on Mobile? On a social network? As a “classic” game (board game or tabletop) and, only after customer’s feedback, developing it as an App?
This is probably the most important decision you have to make during the whole development. This decision will have huge effects on your game systems, so try to figure out what is the best way-to-market strategy.
After decision, start to creeate mechanics. Keep them simple (it helps to develop a multi-platform project or to port it from a platform to another one), keep focus on requirement, keep in mind that any platform favour a kind of game or another, and you can achieve your goals.
Creativity is your best friend… and your worst enemy!
Writing a game systems is creative stuff, so many designers have very different ideas: someone says it’s impossible to create something new; someone else says any game is, in its own way, a new game.
Finding a balance point is the most useful way. You don’t need to be creative at all cost: instead you need that your mechanics is useful for your double target: engaging players, fulfill business requirement.
So don’t try to be an innovator at all cost. Before starting to write down mechanics always check very well if any existing game can be used, if it fit to your requirements.
Don’t fall in the “I’m the best” syndrome. Probably, someone else before you has got the same ideas. Any creative work hide the potential for an ego-explosion: gamification and game-design even a lot more. When gamifing, players is your target… you are creating a game for them, not for you.
What is your game about?
A game is about something… I don’t means that, sic and simpliciter, it talks about “something”… It’s also about feelings, emotions, creativity, hope and so on.
Keep in mind the feeling you want to create, and be sure that the system is the best to improve and support that (check out, on previous post, some strategies to achieve this goals).
Don’t go too fast, or you can’t turn
Take the right amount of time for playtesting (we’ll see better this stage in next post) and overall quality control of your game: usually time is always short, so having some extra time when planning is usually a good thing: for sure you will need it for playtest or fixing… and even if anything is good at first try, you can use provided time for marketing and promotion assistance.
Game-design is a matter of team
You will never work alone when creating a game: in fact, you will (probably) have a staff that has to bring your ideas and game concept into life. So, communicate, talk, write, show and tell as much as you can. You have to be sure that what is inside your mind, as “finished game” is shared to the executive and programming level. That is the best way to avoid problem and misunderstanding later.
So you have your game… in the next post we’ll look to how playtest it!