Making Games

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By Patrick Wyatt
July 02, 2020

So you came back to our site to discover what we're up to, and hoping to learn what game we're making... right?

The first rule of game development is: you do not talk about the game. No wait, that's too Fight Club. What I'm meaning to say is that we're not ready to talk about our game yet. So instead ... (furiously thumbing through blog-post ideas) ... let's talk about how we make games. See, I have a philosophy about how to make games. (Oh, here it comes... he's about to pontificate again, isn't he?!?).

Making games is... hard, I guess? So the way I go about it is to try to make the process of making games better, and then the game sort of, I don't know, pops out on its own?

Let me explain.

First, I don't think there's any one "right" way to make games, but there sure are a lot of wrong ways.

Some folks use a DESIGN BIBLE, where the game designer delivers a long screed that details all aspects of the game to be built. Then the dev team spends the next year or more building to that spec, and launches the result. The real problem with this approach is that designing fun ain't easy, and so the likelihood is that the design bible is -- at best -- misinformed, if not outright wrong.

Fun depends on your state of mind, what you're doing from moment to moment, and what goals you're pursuing. Creating a design document that describes all those things effectively and -- more to the point -- that actually >is< fun is infructuous -- "doesn't bear fruit". Yeah, I had to use the google to find a word that meant "Sisyphean" (pushing a giant boulder uphill) or "like herding cats'', but wasn't those because they're over-used, trite, banal, shopworn, cliché, worn-out, hackneyed. Okay, sorry -- I'm putting the thesaurus down now!

This strategy is frequently coupled with the dreaded OPEN BETA TEST, where the dev team tries to find all the bugs and balance the game, and the marketing team tries to sell the game, all at the SAME TIME. Brilliant strategy, right? Gosh, no!

By the time a game gets to OPEN BETA, it better be good & balanced. If you went looking right now, there are probably several hundred games you could be playing, for free, right now, that are already good & balanced. Why would you want to waste your time playing a buggy and not-balanced game? Well, joy of discovery, perhaps, or desire to be the first-to-finish, but mostly you don't.

Let's talk about a better way. I call it ALPHA-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT, or "ADD" for short. It's just like a BETA TEST, except you call it an ALPHA TEST. See how much better that is?

Well, that's about all the time I have today, but in my next post I'll actually talk about ADD.

Keep on playin'!


This chat widget is pretty, isn't it? It doesn't do anything, but does makes things look more official, yeah? We'll invite you to the soon!