Design How to know if you're being too ambitious?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by OnLashoc, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. OnLashoc

    OnLashoc Member

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    Hello all,
    Just looking for some feedback as I work on my current game project.

    Some background, I've written / created a couple novels (one being a semi-graphic novel), developed and managed multiple gaming websites (one with having over 500k unqiue ip visitors and a return following in the hundreds), and have generally been into digital art with a strong art background.

    Last year I decided to make my own game, it WAS very ambitious, but was coming along pretty well as I learned GML and how games in general were made. It was quite the learning experience and one I hope to revisit and finish some day. However, a portion of the project relied on others with their own time schedules, families, etc to which ultimately the project came to a halt. I fault no one but myself, but they are factors of reality for something people are not immediately making money to support said families on.

    Several months after the project kinda halted, I upgraded my computer and unfortunately lost a months time of work (closes backup saved was about 3 or so weeks behind where the actual code was, again totally my fault and a learning experience going forward). Again, I will eventually circle back to that game as my understanding and GML ability grows, but for now it must remain where it's at firmly on the back shelf. You can see some of the work here:





    So moving forward, I've started a new project which is less ambitious (just cutting out multiplayer alone is a huge weight lifted among many other factors) but I'm just curious if I'm still being a bit ambitious? Am I stuck being, wanting, desiring more than my skills provide? I am still learning, but I am finding solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable just one year ago much quicker, & easier. I am finding that I am doing more things right the first time than I had in the past of spending hours of trial end error for one issue.

    How do you know when to quit with the feature creep, and plod ahead with what seems solid so far? Do you put your development out to the public to critique while still early in the development? Do you invite different ideas early, or do you just keep going till you think "Yea looks good to me". I've hit quite a few of these below with this current project and I'm moving towards the refine / redevelop art mode. Again any suggestions or tips are appreciated!

    Oscar Smith-Jones1 year ago
    i got a good tips for games design people, wherever your making board games or video games, there is this famous guy who made the mtg card game and he lists some very powerfull game mechanics for games, and theres these three well known game mechanics used in video games.

    I have listed all the best game mechanics here, you generally like a game beacuse of one of these: i hope you find this interesting.

    easy then suddenly hard- if a game is very easy, but then flicks to extream difficulty it creates addiction; games like flappy bird or keptchap games seem to have grips with this genre.

    random- random events naturally suprise players, its the equivelent to a climax in a book and can make a game loose it repetitive gameplay- first person shooters do this well.

    many options at once- making the player feel he has great control makes him feel more powerfull. Games like minecraft has several different options that are avalible at once(while in no mans sky, you can only dig or re-fuel).

    development- development in gameplay changes the game as it progresess, keeping the players interest.This can be incremental(like leveling up) or it the opposite( things getting worse for all the players) for the purpose of changing the gameplay as it progresess.

    overpower- making the player capable of causing great havoc or destroying large objects, probably the reason why bosses are popular. ragdoll games use this, and games were there are big power-ups available(like mario cart).

    context- having a good backstory makes the players feel apart of a different world, which might look fun to be in. avoid awkward titles, like 'kill the slug' no one wants to kill the slug or directly trigger horrible things.The medic game (whatever you call it) dosent use 'save the human' as a title.

    now im gonna put the three extra games design tips i found, which apply to board games as much as video games too(as do the things above):

    hierarchy- the feeling of being higher status, obviously quite enjoyable for a human.One way to do this is to have different rankings like in mine craft:(iron, silver,gold,diamond) this means a player can be better than a normal player.The obvious way to implement hierarchy is to have the ability to win in the game.

    context influence- the ability to change the plot of a story makes the player feel important.This is why skyrim might have many different options in speech to a npc, even though it literally makes no effect. Because sky rim always tries to express context influence. social reasons- the ability to really grind another player or work together with other player is fun.The extremes of social mechanics are fun- trolling or group work. MOBAS use this mechanic and it is also why gambling can have its appeal. Not everything is in all games, just think about these mechanics as useful colors in a color pallet,you definitely do not need to use all colours.

    Onnie
     
  2. Widget

    Widget Member

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    You know you're being to ambitious when you're planning things out which you clearly don't have the ability to do them (within whatever amount of time you set yourself to have). When you get better at those things, you're allowed to be more ambitious, so always try to improve when you can.

    I'm a hobbyist dev so I don't really have a deadline for anything, I just try to make my current project as best as it can before releasing. That's resulted in work I've done, be it art or code, to be either scrapped or replaced entirely because I'd look at it after a few months and go "Wow that looks bad" because I've improved so much since then.

    I do this because if I were to release it with outdated artwork for example, I'd be unhappy with the game in general, and was better off spending more time improving the game. As long as something is improving, be it my game or my skills, I'm not wasting my time.

    So yeah, I don't think my philosophy on game dev is going to work for most but there it is.
     
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  3. ajan-ko

    ajan-ko Member

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    Everybody is different. If it was me, my method is to make a prototype within 3 month. Then try it on public.
    If the feedback was good, just finish the game.
    If the prototype doesn't work in 3 month, it probably an overambitions, so you can abadon that project.

    Some people with do hardcore stuff like making 1 games per week, then abandon it.
     
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  4. maru_th_undrtkr

    maru_th_undrtkr Member

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    I can only talk for me. I been having a hard time with art in general. But, in my journey of learning how good art is made (still not getting all that great at it), I did learn some stuff. Do what you do well. Have placeholders for things you dont do well. Make it before you make it good. At the end of the day, its not anything knew; everyone says the same thing. Its all true tho.
     
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  5. OnLashoc

    OnLashoc Member

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    Thank you for the replies and philosophy! It really is motivating and helps me understand that I'm on the right track. I still have a bunch if not mostly place holders, but I have a pretty solid base after a few weeks of work and a month or so of writing and plotting.

    I really think the 3 month suggestion, put out to public for feedback and then decide to push forward or not is a really good idea!
     
  6. Yal

    Yal Member GMC Elder

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    I'd say you're too ambitious when a thing gets so complicated it cannot be described with a single sentence. (Using commas is cheating). Lots of big hits can be summed up in one sentence just fine:
    • "You attack everything by jumping or throwing your hat at them."
    • "You explore a city where everything represents the main character's grudges."
    • "An RPG where every fight can be resolved peacefully."
    What makes things too ambitious to be feasible are a combination of things... and so people do them all the time, for different reasons, even when they're aware of them:
    • Doing lots of different things that have nothing in common without realizing they're fundamentally different, thus designing them in ways that make them hard to work with
    • Not building systems in ways that make them easy to extend later when they get more ideas
    • Using every new cool idea without considering if it's worth the effort to implement it, or even what the effort would be
    • Forgetting that things go wrong and need debugging/fixing when planning
    • Doing stuff without knowing how to do them, then run into problems later
     
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  7. RangerX

    RangerX Member

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    You're probably too ambitious when you see your project stalling and taking so long to make. Sacrifices need to be made.
    I realise this myself with my own project taking forever. My personal problem though is that I try to much to have a life instead of making that damn game, another very bad flaw if you want to succeed. lol
     
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  8. GarlicGuy

    GarlicGuy Member

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    You're too ambitious when your project starts to frustrate you and runs your life.

    I've got a wife to spend time with, a mortgage to pay, a career to keep outside of this...And they will all come before this. So I plan projects I know I can finish with the small window of time I have, with the GML knowledge I've got.

    A bit of advice that I got a while back:

    Build your game from the inside out...Not the outside in. Work on your games core mechanics, then the more advanced mechanics, then figure out how your game will end (if it does), then add the polish once ABSOLUTELY everything else is done...There are lots of guys/gals who worry too much about perfecting every pixel/polygon before they even know what they're doing with their game as a whole...And they burn themselves out.
     
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  9. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

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    You know you're too ambitious when you resort to asking strangers if you are too ambitious, instead of letting your work tell you the fact.
     
  10. OnLashoc

    OnLashoc Member

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    Thanks for the advice!

    I think for my first project I was definitely too ambitious and had this glorious grand idea in my head and just took off running with it burning myself out. Spending hours just trying to figure out pretty simplistic stuff while learning GML at the same time.
     
  11. Mert

    Mert Member

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    Years of experience taught me one thing : If you finish your project, then you're ambitious.
     

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