Suggestions for organizing game design idea's?

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Tecknowolf 101 Oct 23, 2011 at 16:10

I have been writing down thoughts and game design idea’s for many years.

I am now wondering, what is the best way to organize and consolidate them? I am currently using MS Word but it is very clunky.

for reference, I am focusing on a niche MMO like Wurm and I have recently been invited to use HeroCloud.

Any suggestions would be great,
Thanks

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fireside 141 Oct 24, 2011 at 01:30

I personally think a text file is fine. I break it down in outline form.

Premise:

Characters:

Story:
1. Intro:
2.Main Quests:
3. Locations:
4.Conclusion:

Game Play:
1.goals:
2.obstacles:
3.rewards:
4.tools:
5.skills:

HUD:

Outlines are easy to add to or adjust.

I think it’s a waste of time to get too carried away with documentation because things change dramatically when you set up prototypes. For instance, I mainly design adventure games and I don’t design specific puzzles until after I’ve set up location maps because it’s just a lot easier to do it that way.

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Tecknowolf 101 Oct 24, 2011 at 02:40

cool, I will try that, thanks, and I am guessing at the bottom I can put in game mechanics i want to improve upon and how.

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fireside 141 Oct 24, 2011 at 10:59

You could add a section or just add sub categories in the game play section dealing with mechanics, or maybe even in the character section if it only applies to a specific type of character. You get more and more specific by adding sub categories. Those headings are things I think about but different genres will be different. Some games don’t even have a story.

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alphadog 101 Oct 24, 2011 at 13:12

Wikis. They’re great for collecting ideas. Ideas usually form an interconnected “web” of items that a hierarchical, static document will interfere with or limit. Also, look into mindmaps.

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rouncer 103 Oct 25, 2011 at 13:56

You should roughly design the technical aspects too… like what style of map creator are you going to use? (for example, doom sector based levels, minecraft world, etc)
whats the animation going to be like for the characters? do you want interchangable wearable items? facial customization?
give yourself an idea how your actually going to be coding it.

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fireside 141 Oct 25, 2011 at 17:17

“You should roughly design the technical aspects too…”

Myself, I don’t write those things down because I just play around with the engine or whatever and have a certain type of game in mind before I start. There are always going to be restrictions that you have to work under, so some things won’t be technically possible. That’s one of the things I’ve found have stopped a lot of people. They decide what the technical end will do before they have the skill to complete it, so they spend ages trying to do something like perfect lip synch, interchangeable body parts, fully destructible landscape etc and end up giving up on the whole thing. I know about this one guy that wanted some super artwork for a 2d game and kept trying to hire artists out of his personal money, which ran out fairly quickly. He’s probably still trying to write that game and it was years ago.
I usually have a small prototype working before I think about the game end of it. If I can’t do lip sync and voice acting, I’ll do speech boxes.

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rouncer 103 Oct 25, 2011 at 17:51

I spose if your using an engine, your limited to make the game how it works, but I still think you should draw up a plan how you would actually go about twisting the engines capabilities to make what you want, technically. I even mean the simplifications your going to be making too, like perhaps no facial animation and no fingers, even that should really be decided.

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fireside 141 Oct 25, 2011 at 21:38

“I even mean the simplifications your going to be making too, like perhaps no facial animation and no fingers, even that should really be decided.”

I decide that by playing around before I write the game. It’s like when you are going to do a carpentry project and you line up your tools. If you didn’t know how to use a tool, you wouldn’t lay it down there. If you did, you wouldn’t need to write about it. You’d just lay it in the tool pile. That’s why I play around and figure out what I’m capable of doing without writing anything. Why should I write down that I’m going to use text boxes if I already worked out that’s how I need to do dialogs? If I worked out a lip synch technique, I wouldn’t write that down either. I wouldn’t be writing a game unless I had figured those things out.

I guess it’s to each his own. It’s like writing a book and saying you are going to use a certain word processing program to me. What’s that got to do with the book? You work out characters and plot.

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Tecknowolf 101 Oct 30, 2011 at 04:57

@rouncer

I spose if your using an engine, your limited to make the game how it works, but I still think you should draw up a plan how you would actually go about twisting the engines capabilities to make what you want, technically. I even mean the simplifications your going to be making too, like perhaps no facial animation and no fingers, even that should really be decided.

I am planning on using Realm Crafter Pro, it is affordable, and with Pro I can customize a lot of the scripting.

Most of my notes center around what I plan to change from standard MMO’s and how, or what features I plan on to try using from other games. Like making persistent characters similar to The Sims, and what problems I might run into and how to fix them.

I see many games get a feature so well done, but the rest of the game is horrible. Like how Pirates of the Burning Sea, their ship combat was awesome, the rest was so so. Or how A Tale in the Desert IV has great crafting, or Wurm Online has very cool farming and animal husbandry, even their resources are done superbly. Why not put many of these features together, true, effort and money are good reasons.

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rouncer 103 Oct 30, 2011 at 05:19

Ill check out realmcrafter pro, sounds interesting. :yes:

All basicly an mmo is a chat channel with graphics and activities, make sure you have those 3 elements, and thats a skeletal beginning.

Realmcrafter looks fine, go for it.

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fireside 141 Oct 30, 2011 at 14:26

“Why not put many of these features together, true, effort and money are good reasons.”

Yes, those are very good reasons. It’s generally the difference between success and failure sticking to a small set of ideas or trying to combine a large number of ideas. If you start out with a core game idea, you can work it to perfection. The more scattered the ideas, the harder to get anywhere at all. On an indy level, the only way to compete is to come up with original concepts and use a smaller scope.

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Tecknowolf 101 Oct 31, 2011 at 02:41

I realize that, sadly. That is why I am going to decide on 3 core features for my game and then slowly work in others. We shall see how that does. Something simple.

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Ninja2dan 101 Jun 19, 2012 at 12:52

I got tired of having to flip through tons of pages in a notebook or tab through dozens of document files to keep my brainstorming ideas within reach. I tried a variety of methods to get better organized, but it just wasn’t producing the most effective workflow. A few days ago I found a program called Scrivener, and it rocks. It makes life so much easier being able to just bounce around, dragging and dropping little notes where I need them. It has so many features that the tutorial included to briefly explain the primary features takes around 20-30 minutes to complete. You should take a look, download the demo, see how it works for you.