Design Essentials


Storycrafters employ various methods to fashion tales. The mechanisms are called "devices", or "techniques", and comprise the inner workings of tales, giving each its own character. Stories can be spun without knowing the names of all the assorted gears and sprockets, but some basic familiarity with the widgets can enhance storycrafting skills. Passing down the knowledge from crafter to crafter is the very best of all.

Stories are a core element of game design but the art of storycrafting for games is truly arcane. This article looks at some kinds of story, their basic composition and how the types may apply to both development, presentation and play.

A discussion starter, from the unusual inspiration source, on the question: "What are elements of good gameplay?" Some example ideas are provided along with the application to different game forms.

Ever wonder why I might be using a reference book that I seem to disagree with on every other page as my topic guide? The first clue is in Chapter 3. That chapter contains a gem of an idea that was worth the whole of the book to me. It was a carrier of epiphany, something that proved valuable beyond the realm of fun and games. The mythical million-dollar-idea was offered up in the chapter attempting to debunk the very myth of the One Great Idea. And I do so love irony.

In game design terms, a game's focus is what is considered most important about the game. This article explores ideas on reasons for establishing focus and beneficial uses once it is established. An original example focus is provided for discussion and practice development.

Sharing some thoughts on analyzing games and game forms in the pursuit of honing design skills and improving end results. Come review the ideas and share some of your own!

A look at the process of coming up with ideas for games and adventures, both new and in progress. Come discuss starting points, things to consider in building on ideas and methods to improve the overall mesh for optimum results.

Installment-3 in the series of general game design discussion. An old interview of Sid Meier provides some "topic seeds" on taking play elements from one type of game and employing them in another format. The subject is developed with examples from Gamegrene contributors actively cultivating ideas on genre-splicing game designs.

Some of us are less game 'designers' than game 'providers'. In my castle, I am the master-at-arms of gaming and it is among my duties to seek and provide appropriate amusements. Some might say that makes me the jester or a common fool. The lady of the castle would likely not disagree with you. It is not a bad thing, laughter and fun are important things. But the kingdom's coffers and lady's leisure time are not endless. Great care must be taken in managing the entertainment provisions. And for this I depend on player analysis just as designers might.

Player Considerations is part-2 of the Design Essentials discussion series. The topic opens with the question of player analysis as an element for game design and works out toward identifying specific player interests and desires.

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