You know your mom’s a game designer when…
I gave my kid a few pieces of the recent shipment of game bits I received, and all on her own without any suggestion from me, she created this for her brother and sister. It’s a classic “race to the end” with 2d6. Not bad for a 7 year old kid. I suppose I should be a good mom and teach her a few mechanics to go with this particular paradigm, though.
As a note, if you’re considering creating a non-digital game prototype just to get yourself into the regular habit of making games – any kind of games – “race to the end” is the easiest paradigm to start with. It fits with many different themes, and the mechanics that go with it are obvious.
- Slow the player down
- Speed the player up
- Block other players
- Trade places with another player
Beyond these, other mechanics will suggest themselves through the narrative. For instance, imagine if this board game were Mario Kart. You’d be able to shoot at the people in front of you and do all the things you actually do in Mario Kart, albeit without electricity.
Question: “Brenda, aren’t you a video game designer?”
Answer: “Yes, but I’m going through a very non-digital phase. Many designers were non-digital designers before they started designing on a computer. Besides, it’s incredibly fun and rewarding.”
In other news, it’s almost finals week, so I’m pretty consumed with my students’ final designs. This particular game is from my Abstract Systems Simulation class. As the big project, they are tasked with creating a fully functional RPG system from the ground up.
In total, there are five groups working on five separate games. We will hold our first true test tomorrow when each group turns their creations over to another group to see just how understandable their designs are to people not on their team.
This is usually a telling moment for designers. What seems to make perfect sense to one’s fellow team members is utter chaos for another. I’m hoping for better than that, though. The students in this course have taken pretty much every design course I’ve offered, so they should have that part down by now.