Opinion: Thinking inside the box


Editor’s note: The following blog was written by a NordicGameBits.com Opinion-blogger. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the individual writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of NordicGameBits or the other writers and authors of the community. 

When you’re working on a game it’s easy to end up designing without any reality check on what is possible. But how do we check what’s possible and what isn’t possible?

Build your own sandbox

Build your own sandbox

In Process we create boundaries for our own creative process by asking ourselves a lot of critical questions. This way we build our own sandbox that we can play in.

What kind of resources do you have?

When you look at it, everything is a resource. Your team members, the money you have, what kind of tools you know and have access to, and let us not forget time.

  • When must the game be ready, how much time do we have?
  • How many people do you have on the team?
  • What is your budget?
  • What kind of tools will we use to create the game?

These questions are broad and often creates even more questions. A lot of people get stressed by this part of the process because the team isn’t creating anything, and to them it can seem like waste of time. Just be patient and you will be rewarded later on in the process.

The team

The people around you is your most valuable resource, if you don’t have the people you don’t have a team. They are the people that will code, draw or design the game with you. Getting to know them is imperative for you.

  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What motivates them?
  • What makes them demotivated?
Everyone with their own superpower

Everyone with their own superpower

We spend a lot of time analyzing and talking openly about our own team. We want to make sure that we use people’s strengths so that we can get the best game out there. It can be a tough talk for a lot of people, but it’s important that you put your ego aside when you work with games.

The Tools

When we make games we use tools to help us get the job done. It doesn’t really matter what tool you use as long as you are aware of:

  • What can the tools do?
  • What are its limitations?
  • What is difficulty to do with the tool?
  • What is easy to do with the tool?
Make sure you use the right tool for the job

Make sure you use the right tool for the job

The tools you have will give the opportunity to create cool features, but they will also create a lot restrictions for you. It’s easy to start designing and hope that more features will be added to the tool and that your design will work. But what happens if that feature is never developed? You will have spent a lot of time trying to create something that isn’t possible, time that you could have used on creating something else.

Time and budget

Most designers doesn’t like to think about budget and time. Still, it has to be done because making games is expensive and time consuming. At times you are doing a game for a client that wants it ready for a specific time, and they pay you a set amount.

  • How long will it take to create the different parts of the game?
  • How many people do we need to create the game?
  • When must the game be ready?
  • Is there any features that are very expensive?

You need to figure out what you can do with the time and money you have at your disposal. Knowing the points above such as the team and tools will help a lot here. The better you know them the easier it is to estimate correctly.

Conclusion

Once you have answered many of these questions you can start to state your problems, and solve them with the resources you have. Ideas that goes outside the box can be re-designed or cut early making sure you do not spend a lot of time and money on something that cannot be done.

My personal advice is to design as much as you can with the tools you have in front of you right now.

I hope you had a good read, and I will write more about these issues in the months to come.

Go to www.processgames.no to read more

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Authors
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Dag-Erling

I'm the lead designer and CEO of Process . A small gaming company in Oslo - Norway

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