Top 5 Ways to Keep your Game Design on

5:55 PM Friday, November 13, 2015

Are you someone who does the easy parts of a project first or the hardest? Do you keep a steady pace or tend to slow down after the excitement of "new" has fizzled out?

When you're working independently or on a small team like myself, there is really no one but yourself holding you accountable. So, as a game designer, here are a few tips to increase your game-making productivity:

1. Schedule Playtesting. Right. Now.
You will glean the most valuable information from playtesting regardless of what stage of development your game is in. It will very quickly show you what is working and what is not working. They say that one hour of playtesting = one day of design.

Scheduling playtesting also holds you accountable to others for making alterations and updates to your game in a timely manner according to your playtesting schedule.

2. Get Organized
When things get disorganized, they become unwieldy and hard to manage. Don't be hard on yourself. Invest in organizational tools that will help you. This could mean binders, card sleeves, planners, oh my! Organizational apps can be a real help, too, like Evernote and Wunderlist.

To go a step further, don't just organize for yourself, organize with others in mind. If someone else were to pick up your game, would they understand what was going on? For months, I had my cards sprawled out on tables where I knew where everything was but to anyone else, it was just a collection of piles. Getting my cards organized in a way that made sense to myself AND others was actually super rewarding and helps the project along at every step.

3. Gamify Game-making
This goes hand in hand with getting organized. Why is Wunderlist so successful? It's just a list-making app. I think a lot of it has to do with the happy Ding sound that happens every time you check something off of your list. It cues you up for that good feeling and sense of satisfaction you have when you've gotten something done, even if it's just a small thing.

Games are everywhere. Social media is a game you're playing. Post something, get likes, hearts, followers! Little rewards go a long way so start seeing more aspects of your project as a game. It'll keep the excitement and momentum moving.

4. Be Part of a Community
Join meetups, online forums, and other communities where you can interact with people who are doing the same thing or have the same interests as you. This will give you the opportunity to learn from others, get feedback, as well as contribute and be a resource for others.

5. One Thing or One Hour
Finally, if you just don't have a lot of time to dedicate to your game due to work, family, etc, do this. Each day, spend an hour on it or do just one thing that will progress you forward. That thing could be anything from getting the word out using forums or social media to reading about game design to studying other games (and I mean studying, not just playing ).

If you guys have some more advice about what you think is most helpful for your game-making productivity, leave us a comment!

Thanks for reading!

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New Mechanics and Black Stag

2:20 PM Monday, November 2, 2015

This is the art for one of our latest cards loaded up with a new mechanic.

As much as new mechanics can excite people, you can't overwhelm players with so much "new" that it becomes frustrating or daunting. That's one reason I love card games.

There are general rules, which are clear and simple enough, but if ever, or I should say, whenever, the card rules conflict with the general rules, card rules take precedence.

This allows for new rules and new mechanics to come into play in the base set of cards as well as any additions or expansions that may arise at a rate that's actually digestible. Hooray complexity!

In Ark Rift, we've got a lot of new mechanics and keywords that plaeyrs may discover as they play. One of the new keywords is "MOUNT." This means that other creatures and sometimes characters can hop onto the MOUNT and be kept safe until their mount is killed.