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11. Oktober 2018
Michael asks: „Do you create a plan/schedule for a new game in development, or rather keep on working until the game is ready?“
my process of creating a game is a mixture of a clear plan on one side and creative chaos on the other. It might not be the best way but works for me. You have to keep in mind that i mostly work alone on the idea and the prototype. This phase is pretty chaotic and i just bang my head against a new idea unitl i can clearly say „Yes, this is a concept that is worth working on.“ or „No, even though this concept is interesting i can not make it work.“. Especially the second part, the failed attempts, are difficult to master since you need to know when to stop working on an idea. There is no best way to do this and it’s mostly a thing that you will get better with the more you do it.
After the prototype proved worthy i start to create a rough schedule on what features (besides the core game) the game should have and which would be nice to have. For working with my contributors i mostly use a mix of Trello, Google Docs or plain Emails with a rough guideline on what needs to be worked on next. For my games i’m also the project manager and most of the things are in my head. It’s great if you can work with people who have experience with the game making process, because they can also contribute to scheduling and time management. For the type of games i make and from the experience i had so far i’d say 6-8 Month of production are optimal, anything longer will make the development more difficult. Again, there’s no real solution to this, because some games take longer than others, but i’ve developed a pretty good sense for when a game is taking too long to release.
Sean asks: „When testing out a new card game, what would you say are the first game mechanics that you try to get right in order for the game to continue to grow in a positive way?“
each idea is different, but relies on a specific core mechanic to work. For me it’s mostly about analyzing the parts of your idea that are very crucial for the game to create the experience that you are looking for.
For example in Card Thief i wanted to create the experience of sneaking around and hiding in the shadows as the core of the game. I took me several month to find a proper core mechanic, the path that connects several cards and increases the value of them based on the number of steps you’ve taken. Once i’ve had this set of core interactions that built the core mechanic (select cards to form a path) i could build everything else around it.
I’ve learned a lot through Keith Burgun’s work on the Core Mechanic, the one central idea in a game, that should inform every other part of your design in a meaning full way. I highly recommend checking out his 3-Minute Game Design series on Youtube and also read his book Clockwork Gamedesign that goes into great detail about creating the core of your game.
9. Oktober 2018
Tau asks: „How do you prototype your ideas? Do you ever make paper prototypes or do you go directly on a computer?“
at this point i’m only using my computer to prototype. The great thing about digital prototyping or using code to prototype is that you have to really think about your idea on a whole different level in terms of rules and structure. Since a computer is super strict about how things work you can’t just type in some stuff and it works. You have to be super precise about everything and that moment in prototyping is really amazing since you have to exactly formulate each part of your idea in code. This will mostly reveal a lot of flaws in your original design and will either push you forward fast or make you abandon an idea quickly.
6. Oktober 2018
Yuri asks: „What are the odds of a Nintendo Switch port of Tiny Touch Tales games?“
to be honest i would love to see my games on the Switch as it seems to be a super cool platform. But the big issue for me would be certification for these kinds of platforms. It’s super hard to live up to Nintendos standards and with me being a self taught programmer (and a not very good one) i don’t think i would be able to get my games in a state where they could be released on any console like environment.
1. Oktober 2018
Ejder asks: „I always wonder how to get a deck that has a nice well balanced amount of cards. How did you set the decks up for your games?“
balancing a game is very difficult and there are people who exclusively work on this, so i can only give you a few tips on how to approach balancing in general.
For my games i mostly play test a lot and try to observe which rules/mechanics/parts of my games make it easier and which make it harder to win. This can be done on a very general level like are there too many cards that hurt the player or are there too many cards that can swing the game in one direction. After i have identified the parts that need change, i either remove or add more of it to the game. Then i play test again unit it feels right. The problem here is that you always need some kind of outside validation, for example other play testers, but you mainly need to rely on your own judgement if a game is too hard or too easy. I mostly go by feel because i always assume that i am the target group of my games. I think a well balanced game is a game where if the player loses he can exactly pin point the moment he could have done something else to win.
Another trick that i use, as described here, is to create a card dealing logic for my games that also works in favor of the players. Often you just need the one crucial card to either win or lose a game. That’s why i mostly try to balance out the card drawing itself as well.
In terms of amount of cards i basically look at the playtime per session. If it takes longer than 7-10mins i will remove cards to cut down the length of one game and rebalance the difficulty accordingly.
30. September 2018
Aaron asks: „I know you have stated you are not a programmer and used Stencyl previously. Were these recent games a custom engine or something else?“
all my recent games are made with Unity3d.com. It’s one of the most common game engines around. The great thing about Unity is that most beginner questions and problems are already solved and can be googled. In addition to that you can use the integrated asset store to solve the other 10% of issues you might have. For example: for all of my 2D game and UI stuff i use a great plugin called 2D Toolkit, which has helped me tremendously in building my games.
24. September 2018
Kyle asks: „I’m an aspiring artist and I hope to one day get into comic art or game design. I was wondering if your team has any ideas or tips for me.“
i’m not sure how old you are, but when i was younger i would have loved to get this „tip“ from
someone more experienced like me. There is only one thing in any creative field that you need to know:
There are two kinds of people, those who aspire to do something creative, art, music, games and go around places to ask how to get into the field and those who just do it.
The secret to all succsessful creative people is that they never ask how to do anything they just start doing it. They pour their heart and soul into their craft and maybe one day they get into it. There is not one specific way, just a big open road with multiple pathways and opportunities left and right.If you really feel any creative drive you should be listening to that inner voice and start creating stuff right now.
For me personally i always wanted to create games but couldn’t because i had no programming skills. So i sat down and searched the internet for ways to create games without being able to program. After a short time i started making games using a visual programming game engine called www.stencyl.com.
My creative drive to create games pushed me through many failed attempts of making shitty uninteresting things, but that’s just part of the experience. Someone way smarter than me once said „Being bad as something is the first step to being good at it“.
So my advice is to stop worrying about how others did it and start creating now.