SO YOU WANT TO MAKE A GAME? CHAPTER 2 – GETTING STARTED

This is Part 2 of the “SO YOU WANT TO MAKE A GAME?” series. Part 1 is here.

Sorry about the length between this and the last part.  With a new job, planning a wedding and running my web show, things got a little out of hand.

But have no fear! The next chapter is here!

Last time, we talked a bit about me and the game in general, so today, I’m going to talk about how to get started.

There are 2 things you need to get started.

The first, is an idea.

Once you have that spark of creativity that will blossom into your game, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will my game play?
  • Where/when is my game set?
  • Why would people play my game? (hint: “because it’s fun” is too subjective of an answer)
  • Who does it appeal to?
  • Has it been done before?

Yes… some of it will require some research, either by looking for data online, or even talking to your friends. Once your idea no longer starts with “Wouldn’t be cool if…” move on to the second thing… knowing how to use a spreadsheet.

I cannot stress enough how great it is using spreadsheets to lay out a game, particularly seeing as Arena: Warriors of the Sand is a card game.

Cause this is how Arena started:

Spreadsheets Everywhere

Yep. That’s how Arena sat for a very long time as I poured over the mechanics and math of it all.

With spreadsheets, it was incredibly easy to visualize the entirety of A:WotS’s statistics. In particular, creating a cost value for each card was hard but with the data laid out in this format, I could easily compare a card’s statistics and assign a cost value. Of course though, these values relied on a ‘gut-feel’ of the card’s abilities to balance them, which is something I’ll talk about in a later article.

I know it may sound nerdy but I cannot stress how important it is to break down your game into hard data so you can visualize it. It will help in the long run, particularly if you need to make changes. The ability to react and adapt will keep you focused and make the work you have to do between play-test sessions a lot less tiresome.

So that’s my little input on starting out. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, or you can hit me up on my Twitter, @AllOfTheD.

Next time, I’ll talk about the available mechanics to choose from or define your game (there surprisingly isn’t that many).

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