Hello Gamers and Game Makers!
In last weeks blog, I talked a bit about scope in video games and how to better manage that. This week, I'd like to follow in a similar topic by talking about how Game Designers need to fail as part of the game development process.
If you're anything like me, you get countless ideas a day for what could be a game. Now, 90% of those ideas are usually just terrible and somewhere in the other 10% might be a good idea. Filtering ideas and focusing on what could be a good idea isn't always easy. Most of the time, the best practice is to take the idea most developed in your head and see what you can do with it.
The problem I see a lot of the time is that a Game Developer will spend more time thinking about the idea, trying to perfect it before ever creating actual gameplay. This is the worst thing you can do. Admittedly, it's a mistake I've made in the past and one that on occasion I risk making again. As Game Designers, we spend a long time with our ideas, trying to figure out ways of making them perfect before we present them to the world.
When really the key to finding out if that idea is any good is to make it sooner rather than later. Ideas seem perfect in our heads because we can't see the flaws. The sooner you begin prototyping, the sooner you'll be able to see what works and what doesn't work. Keep it simple when starting. You don't need to worry about final art or sounds at this point. Simple shapes such as cubes and spheres will do the trick. The main goal at this point is to get the basic gameplay working so you can see if your idea at it's absolute core design is actually as good as you think it is.
The sooner you start testing ideas, the sooner you can make mistakes and learn from them. Ideas are nothing without execution. Prototyping your ideas as fast as possible will allow you to try different styles and approaches to gameplay. Also, don't be afraid to let people see your game early. Even if it's just a small group of people, the feedback and constructive criticism you get early on will make for a better game in the long run.
Try not to take feedback personally. I know that can be hard as a solo Game Developer but, take the feedback and remember that the constructive feedback makes you better.
So, to wrap up, take your idea and start prototyping it as soon as you can. Don't be afraid to let an idea fail. Sometimes ideas don't translate to games as well as hoped. Don't be afraid of criticism when it's constructive. Now go and make something awesome!