And I’m one of the cofounders of Urustar, a small game design studio located in genova,Italy.
A game is a system capable to generate emotions through agency in a ritual space.Here is our little deﬁnition of what a game is. That’s just what a game is for us, and it deﬁneswhat kind of games we love and we want to make.
How we (don’t) work.So, how we do game design? Let’s start saying how we don’t (always) work.
The Game BibleWe kinda hate the whole concept of Game Bible.
We feel it’s an enormous waste of paper and energy
Rule #1 NOBODY reads the Game Bible.That’s because of various reasons. First one is that you get always the feelings nobody reallyreads the Bible. Actually, is very difficult to cover all the complexity of a game system in alinear document. Even the game designers are often puzzled when reading the bible.
Rule #2 The Game Bible is NEVER in sync with the project.Secondly, it’s very hard to keep the documentation up to date.
Rule #3 You write the game OR you write the Bible.Third, you tend to write documentation when you have to write gameplay instead.
How we REALLY work.Now, here’s how we are trying to work now.
The FIELD NOTES METHOD (still experimental)This is our experimental method.
We took inspiration from the voyages of the Beagle
Where a young Charles Darwin was doing what every science and naturalist does.
To observe, take note and learn from what they see. Our methods works in a same way. Theproject is conducted in an iterative fashion. For each iteration the game designer publishes adocument divided into two parts. Each part is further divided into two paragraphs.
DescriptionFirst part is descriptive. Here the game designer observes and describes how the game is like.
#1 Observations (What is right? What wrong?)The designer start with general observations about what is right and what is wrong in agame.
#2 Results (What has been achieved?)Then they state the results. What goals the team achieved with this release?
PrescriptionThe second part is dedicated to prescriptions: how the designer intends to address problemsand improve the game?
#3 Hypotheses (What possibilities emerged?)First, they state the hypotheses: what new things could the team add to the game? What stuffseems to make sense now?
#4 Corrections (What will be done next?)Then, the corrections. Each problem emerged in the ﬁrst part is now addressed with apossible solution.
Only two rules 1- Each part of the ﬁeld note is open for comments. 2- Only the game designer can publish a new ﬁeld note.All this stuff has just these two simple rules.
The TINY GAME DESIGN TOOLAnother little thing we produced is the Tiny Game design tool
It’s a small tool meant to be used by beginners and in game jams.
For further information about this one, have a look at http://tinygdtool.urustar.net.