Edoiki Design Improvements and Developer Role Talk

Edoiki gameplay benefited from the presentation

Yesterday I presented Edoiki in a Finnish game design event and while my presentation was simply a white board with green and red dots I got some great feedback and ideas. In the first game mode – without revealing too much – there is going to be an assassin which will try to eliminate civilians.

A very simple idea that I got from Eero Tuovinen (a real mastermind when it comes to game design) was this: “How about giving different targets for the assassin, not just civilians but buildings?” He suggested that assassin could bomb a building and when he the assassin is setting a bomb he becomes visible (normally assassin is invisible to guards). This was a very simple idea (like good ideas always are, right?) but it adds great variety and another strategical dimension in the game. I’m sure that will be added in the gameplay in some way.

I have a list of about 20 new ideas with me and can’t wait to start implementing those.

Funny how people think they are special

Since the event was focused about game design it was natural to hear designers’ point-of-views and arguments. I heard arguments stating how “core gameplay and a good design is probably the thing that makes a game fun”.

I’ve heard different points from somewhere else, and I couldn’t help thinking an imaginary conversation between different game developers. If a game designer, programmer, artist, marketing specialist and a game producer would sit around a table, the conversation might go something like this:

  • “If the core game mechanism isn’t designed well, no matter how nice graphics you have it simply won’t work”, the designer starts.
  • Programmer would interfere by saying: “everybody can get ideas, but somebody must actually take action and code those features to make sure the game ever sees daylight”.
  • Graphics and sound artist would continue: “okay, you’ve got some boxes moving on the screen but without great voice acting, music and sounds it’s not possible to reach a great level of immersion – game needs to be visually stunning to work. Without artists you cannot reach that level.”.
  • Marketers adds “okay, you might have the greatest game play, the greatest code and the greatest visuals but if you lack marketing – who will buy your product? Marketing is the most important part to make the game sell“.
  • Game producer or team leader would add: “Okay, you got all the different pieces – but who is going to make all the parts work together and make sure the project is actually finished before the next ice age? Without a great leader, a project won’t succeed”

Who is right?

I believe everybody is right. Producing a video game is teamwork. I think the designer is right about stating that the gameplay and mechanism must be designed properly. Every game production team will benefit from having a designer in the team or at least reading about game design.

The programmer is also right. If project is just about having nice ideas it won’t get very far. Programmer is definitely a key person in the team.

What about artists then? Some people might say that they aren’t needed (and all 3D games should be done in 2D) but I believe there is no reason why game couldn’t look good. And nowadays art and visuals can actually play a big role in games: shadows and lights are good examples about the artistic elements that can be used in gameplay and to add depth in the game. I think artist is right here as well.

And so is the marketer. He is right: if your game is not promoted in any way, and nobody knows about it – then it won’t sell. It might be a fine game, but it won’t be a very successful product if it lacks marketing.

Are game producers needed? Well, yes. Somebody must take the lead and manage the project and lead the people. Producer is also right. Sometimes there must be somebody who says what happens next and makes sure the project is finished.

Naturally in indie (and other) projects one man can have several roles: artist, designer, marketer, programmer and producer hat might be worn depending on the situation. Whenever you need more than one person in a project, it will change. There aren’t (always) no right or wrong answers, and there doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t really matter whether the designer is right or the programmer is right, what matters is that the project is done and finished.

I believe everybody is right.

2 thoughts on “Edoiki Design Improvements and Developer Role Talk

  1. Pingback: GameProducer.Net » 14 Ways to Motivate Yourself

  2. Jare

    One caveat: if the producer (or project lead) is responsible for ensuring that the other roles are properly carried out, then anyone’s failure is ALSO his failure. “With great power comes great responsability” and all that crap. ;)

    Reply

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