in Game Design

I am going to discuss different models for designing games and for publishing games that were mentioned in the horseshoe conference.

Game Design Models

Traditional design

A traditional model for designing games

The red lines represent how much money it takes to develop a game with this model. A designer using this model will start creating a game, and then if the game doesn’t meet expectations it is redesigned until it is successful. This method of designing costs a lot and is inferior to the newer methods I present below.

Incremental builds

The incremental game design model

The incremental game design model

Unrealistic scope, feature creep, cutting features, and delays can be solved if the game is created incrementally. Start simple. Test the game. Fix bugs. Then once everything works go onto to the next stage of production. Example: You’re making a racing game with different cars, fancy upgrades, cool sound effects, and online multiplayer functionality. It may all seem possible to you when you start, but make sure you do not fail by taking things one step at a time. Start by creating the car, track, and physics before you go on to add additional features. If the designers see that the game is not going to meet its deadline the designers can change which features are to be included in the next stage of production. It takes longer to do this up front, but it allows for a lot of flexibility in being able to cut out features when time is short before any work has been started on these features. This will save time when it is most needed.

Game Publishers

Traditional Design

Traditional design for publishers of games

Traditional design for publishers of games

Traditional design has a green light stage where only projects that meet specifications go on to become games. Many of these games will fail but there will be a few successful games that will keep the publisher profitable.

Stage Gate Process

Traditional design for publishers of games

Traditional design for publishers of games

The Stage Gate process encourages teams to use incremental builds. The stage gate process has a green light stage, but it goes farther and will stop games from finishing in the middle of production if certain goals are not met, or if little progress has been made on a project. In the stage gate process there are more games that get past the green light stage, and if these games prove themselves to be successful they are allowed to continue, otherwise production is halted. This model allows more ideas to be cultivated and should theoretically yield a higher rate of success.

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