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The Seven Starting Questions

September 3rd, 2007 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Design

From Game, Set, Watch I see that Warren Spector has a design blog now. His latest post has the Seven Questions that, in his mind, can help a designer decide whether or not to even bother with the next step.

1. What are we trying to do? What’s the core idea?
2. What’s the potential? Why do this game over all the others we could do?
3. What are the development challenges? Really hard stuff is fine — impossible or unfundable? Not so good…
4. Has anyone done this before? If so, what can we learn from them? If not, what does that tell us?
5. How well-suited to games is the idea? There are some things we’re just not good at and shouldn’t even attempt. A love story, for example!
6. What’s the player fantasy and does that lead to good player goals? If the fantasy and the goals aren’t there, it’s a bad idea.
7. What does the player do? What are the “verbs” of the game?

The first and seventh questions are, to my mind, the real starting points of game design. Most “game ideas” that you encounter on the worldwide idea factory of the Internet are barely answers to number 1. They almost never answer number 7. But these are what games are – core concepts and actions.

Are games bad at love stories? Wasn’t Shadow of the Colossus a love story in which you spent all your time jumping around?


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