Game Design vs Gameplay

This article points out something that most people probably have experienced, but maybe haven’t realised applies on a larger scale.

http://www.yoyogames.com/tech_blog/135

The article talks about how game designers come across challenges while trying to do something, for example making an inventory system in a game, or even something as simple as drawing a black shape on the screen. To the average gamer, or even someone who doesn’t play games, these things seem mediocre and so common that they don’t deserve praise. However to he designer who wrote thousands of lines of code, spent hours debugging an changing things, and figured out a genius way to draw that shape, for it to actually end up working exactly as they wanted is a huge achievement for them.

It’s not just a matter of a lot of hidden work that no one else knows about, though. That would be like finally finishing your long math homework. It’s more like figuring out the shortest, most convenient way of solving all the problems on your math homework in one go, which also makes toast in the morning and does all your history homework too, all in one.

It’s also not just the fact that this genius solution does so much so well, it’s often the fact that the issue you were presented with was so hard to fix. You often find problems in game design and programming that just seem impossible, except for perhaps some undesirable workarounds that may involve sacrificing some other feature or just being worse in quality of performance. When you figure out how to avoid all that and instead get everything you want, that’s when you feel like a genius.

These two parts of these seemingly boring design achievements may sound like things that only extremely intelligent experts can do, but in fact another possible reason that these moments are so important to the designer is because they know that they’re not necessarily experts, they just put enough time into it and were both creative enough and just applied their intelligence enough to figure out the puzzle.

This puzzle is a common theme in sciences, math, and design. It’s really just a matter of logic that everyone from entrepreneurs to rocket scientists to event planners and anyone else can do. Most people give up because the solution is too hard, but when you do that extra work and get a perfect result, you know that you accomplished something amazing. Except no one else gets it and they think you’re lame.

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Posted in Game Philosophy
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