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League of Geeks => Off-Topic => Topic started by: CloudCuckooCountry on April 27, 2015, 07:23:47 PM

Title: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: CloudCuckooCountry on April 27, 2015, 07:23:47 PM
So this question has two interpretations.

The first is more of a general query about how Armello came to be after the team decided that it was a good idea to make it. What general steps did you guys go through to eventually making a full-time development team that had a reasonably sized following and a highly polished high-quality product?

The second part is more a personal request for advice, because I've wanted to create a boardgame myself. I have a small idea, which I don't expect to be good, or even really a playable idea, but I at least want to get past that first step of turning an idea into a prototype for play-testing and iterating. Unfortunately, I lack any sort of tangible game-making experience, even on an amateur level, so I've had the design doc kicking around my hard drive for a few odd months and all of the feedback from my friends has been somewhere in the realm of "It's a neat idea, but I don't know how it would play, I don't make games either".
Title: Re: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: Trendane on April 28, 2015, 02:34:53 AM
I have a small idea, which I don't expect to be good, or even really a playable idea

My first suggestion would be to never, ever think like that. You're going to have hurdles aplenty to overcome without throwing a bunch more in your path yourself.

If you don't expect it to be good, you'll never be able to sell the idea to anyone else either. This is not meant to sound snarky or mean. These are simply the issues which I see arising before you've even really made any headway which will undermine your efforts.
Title: Re: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: Snacuum on April 28, 2015, 04:23:05 PM
Dude, I wanna make what is effectively a massive AAA new IP that could be compared to a mashup of a furry mass effect/Zelda. So, like I'll happily believe it can't be done.

Title: Re: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: CloudCuckooCountry on April 28, 2015, 06:53:22 PM
Mine is just a party strategy game with cards and tokens.

I aim small.
Title: Re: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: DamienVaruska on April 29, 2015, 07:48:42 AM
I'm aware that you want more tangible advice than just encouragement (and I apologize if I'm beating the dead horse here) but I figured I'd throw my two cents in. Trendane hit the nail on the head.  Every creation, work of art, etc. starts with a small idea. It may not be fully fleshed out yet, but you nevertheless have something to grasp on to as you begin the creation process. And before I continue, I'm not a game maker, I'm a writer, so I can't really offer you any tangible advice when it comes to making games. With regards to the creative process, however, it's important to realize that regardless of the quality of that initial idea, you nevertheless have something that you can grasp on to, and shape in whichever way you see fit. And of course, you'll have moments when this works out quite well and you are able to make something exceptional, but there will be other times when it won't work out so well, in which case you need to go through what you have and figure out where it went wrong. I've had times where I've scrapped many pages of writing and have had to return to the core idea because what I had done didn't quite work. And, based on my experience with literature, I have confidence that I made the right decision in scrapping those pages because I trust in my ability to know what works and what doesn't work from both a readers perspective and an analytical/critical perspective. And this leads me to my next point.

Cloud, I've only been on this forum for a little while, but I have seen so many posts from you. You clearly play these kinds of strategy them, but not only that, you think deeply about how the mechanics work in different scenarios. So I think it's safe to say that you should trust your instincts and your ideas. And this leads me to some more concrete advice: you don't need to ask specifically about your idea in order to prove it (thought feedback is, of course, always essential). You post on this forum about Armello and consistently give your input on different game mechanics and facilitate discussion with other members. What's extremely useful to you about this, is that you are able to not only throw your ideas out there and get feedback, but also, you're able to read and learn from those who respond to you. So really, that's my main piece of advice: get feedback from your ideas, regardless of whether they are in the context of your own game, Armello, or some other games, and use those in addition to the ideas you believe work well in order to shape your idea until you can make something awesome. And of course, building a cheap prototype out of whatever materials you could find and giving it a test run couldn't hurt either.
Title: Re: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: dragoncrescent on April 29, 2015, 03:28:31 PM
If you do develop a prototype and decide you may want to publish, Kickstarter is a great haven for boardgame creators! ^_^
Title: Re: How do you make a game from an idea?
Post by: Blake Mizzi on April 30, 2015, 05:18:41 PM
Hey everyone,

This is a great post and topic!

I created some of the earliest Armello physical concepts and the 8-ish months we spent making paper prototypes was some of the most fun and best of times. The ultimate advice is ..... Just do it!

1. I have a heap of game design docs for boardgames that I've started on my PC and I usually find that they die a slow death.

2. The concepts that get somewhere are the ones I've scribbled a grid or hexes on cardboard or foam core and written a page of rules one afternoon.

3. My first rule of thumb AND I have a bunch of friends who we get together every fortnight to try out each others wargame designs etc... is... the one golden rule...... that.... your first prototype rules should be no longer than 1 double sided A4 (or Letter) sheet of paper! Any longer and it gets too messy and hard to test, too taunting to try etc... And that forces you to keep your rules tight and short.

4. If the rules are working you can then make edits and expand the game, but simple is ALWAYS better :)

5. Just do it! I remember rocking up to a design meeting with Trent, Jacek and Ty with a hex map, and 50 blank cards (just plain pieces of cardboard I had cut out with scissors) and right there in front of them with a beer next to me I wrote up 15 spells, 15 trickery cards and some other cards and we all played a fairly tight and fun, fairly balanced game by the end of the evening. Sure the eraser came out and a few cards got torn up, but we played it and had fun :)

More on the general Advice side:
When wanting to design a boardgame consider the gameplay mechanics can tell as much of a story as the theme of the cards ie. the way to play the mechanics WILL inject its own feel and theme into your game. A game of poker style, hide your hand of cards from your opponent might work wonderfully for a samurai or western shooter style stand-off game.

Think about the theme you want, build mechanics around the core that support the style of play and ....

My last trick try is to stay organic and create mechanics that allow players to take risks, stretch themselves and plan ahead.

Does anyone else have some great tips?