Anonymous asked: There's a pretty big gulf between "someone who enjoys games and thinks about what they like and don't like in games" and "someone who designs games", let alone good games. Do you have any comments for someone on the "plays and thinks and has ideas but they're not any good" side of the game design gulf? Is there a way to begin bridging the gap or is it just two different worlds?
Nope! What you need to do is go download any of the following free software:
And start making games. Start by taking one of these things and looking through the tutorial documentation. All of them come with example projects. Once you get a tiny grasp on the interface, take one of the example games and mess with it. Change out the art. Change some variables. Poke at it. Then build something on to it - make it not resemble the sample game at all. I don’t care if you want to be an artist, coder, designer, sound person, or what - it’s good to have a holistic idea of what goes into making games. It lets you communicate with others on your teams better, it lets you find your voice and screw around with smaller stuff on your own time so you can make easy mistakes, and it lets you understand what you’re asking of potential teammates a bit more.
THEN, you should have a bit of familiarity with these tools. The next thing you wanna do is make something from scratch. Think of an idea, and then distill it to the smallest possible gameplay element. Make that ONE element. Just that. Mess with it and see how you like it. Maybe slap in some art (if you’re not an artist check out opengameart so you can still make stuff pretty). Then decide if it’s worth exploring further, if not, do it again.
Keep doing this till you find something that really resonates with you, and then explore that further but still try and make a small to medium game out of it. Scope is the indie’s mortal enemy, it swoops down on us and devours us in it’s mighty jaws if we don’t carry pointy sticks (or have producers/project managers) to fend off our natural predators.
Repeat the process till you’re sure if you wanna keep doing this or not. Go to game jams. Meet other developers. Participate in online stuff. Maybe find some people to do small jams with. Show your work to anyone with eyeballs and get feedback. Ask for help if you need it.
That’s the advice I can give as a place to start. If ever you see a better path, and really think that it’s better for you, by all means explore it too. Be ok with failing. Like, a lot. Game designers are a lot like games themselves - we all thrive on iteration and experimentation. Sometimes this means failing, and that’s absolutely an ok thing to do.
And when you’ve made some stuff, show me :)