Thursday, April 14, 2005

Documenting the Design Process

I imagine several 'models' exist of the process of game design... certainly several exist in instructional design. However, I prefer to think of the process as a dynamic one... changing with each design team. While I'm not naive enough to believe that the process we use on our current game design will be the same one we use next time -- at least I'm hoping it won't be -- reflection will help me remember when inspiration struck, and which part of the processes bear repeating.

When we've finished a game, and we look back over the development cycle, it's impossible for me to remember how we made it through the process. The strange gift of retrospect makes it seem that the way the game ended up was exactly as we had planned it in the first place. Of course, this is not the case.

In viewing post-mortems other game developers write, I'm always a little surprised at how they remember what they were doing, how they thought of that idea, or why something didn't work. How do other game developers document their process? Are they somehow immune to the distorted memory I face?

I've challenged myself through this blog to document the process for a new pirate/science game we are working on. What design did we start with ... why? What tested well? What ideas did members of the focus group contribute? How did ideas evolve? I'm a little late... we're already a year in to the pirates game (more on that later!), but perhaps my colleagues will contribute to a collective blogging memory for all our current projects here. In reflecting on our ideas and processes, perhaps we'll find inspiration... not only for ideas to use in the game, but in the processes that lead to getting good ideas in the first place.


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