Monday, November 07, 2005

DAY SEVEN - High Level Design
So I'm doing my first 8 hour day on design for the new 3rd party project. I already have the 'big concept' done, now its the tricky bit. There's basically 3 aspects to game design. Part 1 is "lets do a game about running a city". That's a very important bit, and it can me make or break bit, and its really where the big chunk of originality comes in, but not neccesarily the hardest bit or the most important bit.
Part 2 is "how on earth would that work?" and Part 3 is "What should the cost of a coal power plant be then?" I'm pretty good at 1 and 2, not so good at 3. Some people (big famous designers normally) excel at 1, and sometimes at 2. There are a lot of unsung heroes who excel at 3. The problem is, for a game to really be cool, you need to be good at 1,2 and 3. good at 1 gets you nowhere. Good at 1 and 2 gets you sales, and angry customers with an unbaalnced game. Good at 1,2 and 3 gets you Sim City.
Unless you sit and think about it, you don't realise how much of '2' there is to do for any game. Heres some examples:

In Sim City, do you actually have to build plumbing? or do we ignore that? Do we get money from central government? or is it all local taxes? Do we get voted out as mayor? or are we always in charge? Are there city limits and bordering towns already in place? Can we just compulsory purchase private land when we want?

In the Movies, do you hire actors on a salary or pay them per picture? Do actors always do what they are told? do you have location shots? do actors earn royalty points?

These are all the big decisions that spread out like a flowchart to effect everything that gets coded and designed for the game. It's big decision time. At this point, everything is up for grabs, the game is still vague. Its both exciting but scary. At least I can ignore 3 :D

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