Make sure your game concept is well defined.
And that you’re ready to throw it away.
Because it’s going to fail.
Just fail faster and don’t get attached.
Heard of Fail Faster? No?
Then go look it up. Yes, now.
There is no instant win
I know. Your game idea doesn’t need to change. It’s already perfect. Yet it IS going to change. Because the truth is right now, it sucks! You just don’t know it yet. So get ready for things to fail at first. What you need is a process to figure out what’s wrong with it and how to fix it.
Game ideas need to be tested. And fast. That’s why they need to come in small chunks and be clearly prioritized. So you can build a small part of it quickly and examine the result. That’s how you learn. Learn what’s fun and what’s not so you can perfect your idea and turn it into a fun game. Iterate, iterate, iterate.
So here’s how I’ll start building my game concept.
First, by describing the fantasy. Outlining the kind of experience I wish the player to have. This vision of the end result will serve as a guide for evaluating if ideas are pushing the game in the right direction or not. Second, by making a series of game design assumptions about how I could execute this vision and test them out. Finally, I’ll iterate over and over again until I figure out how to make it fun.
Project Name: All Hands On Deck! (AHOD!)
Take command of a spaceship and lead your crew as it battles against other spaceships. You’re charged with the safety of your crew and your ship. Everything comes down to your ability to make the right decisions in time to lead your crew to victory.
High level pitch
Play as the Commander of your spaceship and battle against other Commanders in simultaneous 1v1 turn-based (also known as phase-based or We-Go) in the style of pirate ships sea battles.
Here’s a reference from Star Wars Episode III’s opening scene:
Core gameplay loop
Each Turn, players give 1 Order:
- Fire – Opens fire on the enemy spaceship and stops incoming enemy Fire. Consumes 1 Charge.
- Shield – Activates the spaceship’s shield to deflect an incoming attack.
- Charge – Refills the spaceship’s energy which is needed to Fire.
Turns are simultaneous and last 3 seconds. Meaning players give their orders at the same time and only have 3 seconds to make a decision.
At the end of each turn, the orders are executed. This is non-interactive. If no order was given, the spaceship takes 1 Hit.
The same order can not be given 3 times in a row. Doing so will result in a mechanical failure and the spaceship takes 1 Hit.
Ships are vulnerable during Charge. If the Fire order is given while the opponent orders to Charge, the charging ship takes 1 Hit.
A spaceship can take up to 3 hits. The first player to hit the other spaceship 3 times wins.
This is how it begins. Let’s see where this journey will take it. Time to execute.