Game Design: Small Steps

It’s been a while since I’ve written a game-design essay.  I’ve had a lot on my mind.

So: Shattered Vistas.  The problem I run into is not a mental block, per se, but a vast empty mental plain.  Perhaps a mental highway interchange.  It’s not that I have no idea where to go next, it’s that I have too many ideas where to go next, and suffer a crippling inability to follow up on any of them.

Am I trying to do too much?

Shattered Vistas has some big goals, and one of them is being a definitive modern work of gamism-oriented gaming.  That’s… a tall order, especially for my first full length game.  Much better I think, to start small.

I’ve *done* five page high-concept.  (Hell, with Kingdom of Bluuud!!!!, I’ve done three page, really-high-concept.)  With Rummy Fight!, I’ve done pamphlet-sized playable.  Council of Magisters is easily PDF-playable, although it lacks refinement.

What I need now, is a Fantasy Heartbreaker, preferably without the heartbreak.

I suspect, given my relative inexperience, that whatever I put out there is going to be an unpolished, but lovable, mess.  Rather than going for a grand opus to change the way I look at gaming, maybe it would be better to make a game more within the lines, and save the showstoppers for an older, wiser, more experienced future-Willow?

I’m pretty sure I have the perfect premise for a decent fantasy heartbreaker:  the Age of Air.


2 thoughts on “Game Design: Small Steps

  1. Tim says:

    My first thought on reading Age of Air was that it would make an awesome Magic: the Gathering expansion.

    It seems to me that you are focusing a lot on setting for a gamist agenda. Shouldn’t you start with concepts for conflict strategies, resources and combatants? Envision the gameplay and types of battles you want, and then craft a setting to make them happen.

  2. Willow says:

    Who said anything about creative agendae?

    All I said was I want to write a game! Right now I’m shifting gears from a high-falutin’ theoretical agenda to a low-down, practical, “actually publish something” agenda.

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