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To become a better game designer, ask, "How was this made?"

Started by droqen, May 13, 2023, 05:33:12 PM

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I was playing and thinking about Tears of the Kingdom (the sequel to Breath of the Wild) and it occurred to me that I wanted to do this with REDACTED so that we could discuss the nature of not the end result but so that we could seek what they tried to seek but not just seek as in strive to achieve the same thing using our own methods but seek in the way that they tried to seek.

I've been thinking about this since being exposed to the concept by Billy Dent's cohost post about open world games:

"open world games are made using certain tools, techniques and conventions, and I believe that these production-side characteristics are the main reason why they keep being made . . . [they make] open world games incredibly economical, if your goal is to create something BIG."

What are these tools, techniques, and conventions? I think that this is what every game designer on earth should be talking about: not for open world games, but for every genre, every game of note, everything that is out there.

What are the tools, techniques, and conventions that produced a game?

What were the goals for creating a game?

How did all these factors come together to produce this game, at this point in time? How is that beautiful, or how is it horrible? What can we appreciate, take away, swear off of forever, or build on top of as a foundation?

The conversations are happening, just more slowly than I'd like. People talk about crunch and say how bad it is. But beyond those spiky awful "Well that was a mistake let's never do that again" points that stick out, where are the eternal wisdoms that we learn and hold onto and never let go of, that we work with again and again for years, for generations, for millennia or at least until the last human being dies?

How was this made, and what's being said?

That is the only dialogic game design I care about.


"Have a story," they said. But you can't pursue having a story for story's sake, or your story isn't whyproof--something unnatural was introduced along the way. Thinking about this in my upcoming letterclub, too lazy to link