One of my favorite game designers, the amazing Beau Blyth, wrote a small article about a conversation we had last week.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the relationship between having an idea and executing it.
Personally, whenever I think of something I try to make it as soon as possible. Unless it’s the dead of night, then I’ll usually wait till morning. I feel that if you let ideas sit in your head for too long, you either forget about them, or they grow into these gargantuan and complex rich-feeling ideas that the moment you try to create them, feel out of reach. And not out of reach because of a large scope, but because of some indescribable feeling or detail. The problem with keeping ideas in your head is that you’ll never know if they work. If you become attached to them over time and you never sort them out on paper or prototype, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
I asked Rami Ismail about how long he lets ideas simmer before he executes them.
“I usually start right away, then keep an early version that I’m satisfied with around for a few days, usually two or three days. I’ll get some feedback on it in that period, not really to figure out whether it’s doing what I want it to do, but more to figure out what it is I want to achieve. If all of that falls into place and I end with a strong idea of what I want something to be, I keep going with it in the direction I established until it’s either done or failed.”
Rami also elaborated on how he handles such feedback. I had mentioned to him how people have suggested that I add high-powered weapons to Samurai Gunn, such as flamethrowers and rocket launchers. After I related to Rami how this was ridiculous and would break the game, he said that those moments are important and shouldn’t be dismissed.
“You”ll find yourself saying something like, ‘that doesn’t really fit the pacing I’m going for’ and then suddenly you know the pacing is important’”
Rami shed light on the importance of asking yourself why you respond certain ways to feedback. If you see a trend happening when you agree or disagree with people, you should take note, and help yourself solidify the direction you want your game to go.
So I feel it’s best to start prototyping your ideas early before they grow out of reach, and get feedback as soon as possible so you can realize where it is you really want to take them.
While I prefer to take the shortest route between ideas and execution, there are many different approaches to conceptualizing and development. In future posts I hope to explore these various techniques and points of view.