Anybody who has ever embarked upon or been part of a serious game design project knows what an enormous, complex and convoluted undertaking it is. Countless hours go into the development of any kind of decent game. But the really good ones make it all seem effortless. It is cumbersome, clunky mechanics that generally expose a bad or compromised game designer and/or a rushed project.
Some day, after a few casks of brew and a considerable bit of cajoling, this craftstroll might be convinced to share his own game design horror stories, working for that most reviled and abhorrent of game companies. Yes, that’s right… the one, the only, the original… TSR!
I don’t remember what “TSR” supposedly really stood for* – far too many floods and torrents have passed under that bridge (which I called home) over the decades – but I do remember it came to be known (with tongue lodged firmly in cheek) as “Terribly Shitty Rules.”**
And unfortunately, yours truly would have inadvertently contributed to the ironic infamy of that moniker, because once upon a time the Mayor was under contract to deliver a “cutting edge (insert genre here) role-playing game” for TSR. But, due to circumstances way beyond this troll’s control, I ended up having very little time in which to do it, and almost zero support from the company itself. In fact, it’s would be safe to say that many of my nominal “bosses” absolutely did not want to see said project come to successful fruition, for a wide variety of reasons I shan’t go into here.
The point being, and I digress, sorry…
Coming up with an innovative and cool game system that is not overly complicated or too cute by half is no small undertaking. But this article – actually the second part of a series – hones in on the specifics of how and why certain design decisions were made, and discusses all the development steps involved to “get there.” The game in question is actually a computer RPG that uses cards, but the lessons learned are interesting and applicable to any kind of game development project. Highly recommended!
*If you do, leave a comment below.
** Now I remember! I think. Er… wasn’t it Tactical Studies Rules?
– Lrak, Mayor of Trolltown
Go to my Scoop.it page for the whole article!