Game Design Theory: Planning a Game and Implementing Features

development
#1

Disclaimer
Not all games take the same design process, and consumers are always moving on to new things, you should take it upon yourself to research the market you are entering and taking what you learn from this as pointers to how to apply what you find and study.

These concepts do not nessecarily apply to Roblox but game design in general that can be used outside of the platform such as Unity.

Who is this guide for?
This guide is for people who are having a hard time making design decisions such as adding or removing a feature from their game and don’t know how to constitute it. Typically even someone who wants implement common ideas to create their own narrative design.

Lastly
If you believe this guide has been useful to you or would be useful to someone else please share and rate this thread below. If it does will I may do more.

Game Design Document Template
https://devforum.roblox.com/t/open-source-game-design-document/61111/

Created by: @DieSoft

Planning Stage

Ask Questions, Create a Pitch, Get Inspired!

When you first start planning your game you are usually going to be look for a genre you want which will be enjoyable for you and your team. Usually different games require a broader expansion of features to work and while sometimes this is true you don’t have to actually implement everything immediantly. The first thing you should be focusing on is answering these questions.

Ask yourself:

  1. What target audience (age group, community) do I want to play my game?
  2. How high do I want my games learning curve to be? (Short, long?)
  3. Why should the player play my game than this other game? / What does my game do differently?
  4. What is the goals of the game, and how are you rewarded?
  5. What is the main anchoring feature of this game?
  6. Do I want this game to be social, competitive, etc.

Ex: My game is aimed towards an older audience of about 15-18, the learning curve of my game can be fairly long because the fun of this game is learning new strategies. Our game is different because it focuses on putting two people together who will build up their fortress. Their goal is to upgrade their defenses and unlock arsenals they can use against the other team, each team is rewarded with a better prize based on who does the most damage out of the other teams. The game consist of different round types that keep the game loop interesting such as infection, clone wars, and more. I intend for this game to be both a competitive and social experience through teamwork.

Do not:

  1. Focus on monetization – Your game should be fun and enjoyable, this can come after the implementation stage. Time spent worrying about this can be spent on designing the anchor features of your game.

  2. Plan for every feature – You must refer back to your initial questions you asked yourself, and start working on what is required to make this small pitch work. New features can come once your game is functional and shows potential as a concept.

  3. Worry about funding – There are a lot of free resources out there already uploaded, and the right friends will often help you the basics of your game. You don’t have to hire a 50k Builder or Scripter unless your concept you created requires a professional.

  4. Stress and Rush – You should take your time on this, a rushed project will lead to unforseen consequences. There is always going to be players read to try your game, they are going no where, and your game will not survive on a thrend alone if it isn’t organized and/or broken.

Concept Stage

Build, Script, Test!

After your understand the game you want and what you are trying to achieve you can start going to town on turning an idea on paper into something playable. Here is what I believe you should try that can help you be productive while not losing interesting – understand however you should do what you now works best for you.

I can’t stress this enough, treat this stage like its your rough draft and not your final essay – your planning stage was the talking points, we are jogging, not sprinting!

Note: This is based a little on how @Sharksie does it and depending on the scale of the feature this can sometimes work or not.

Don’t hurt me Sharksie

Original Post: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/time-frame-for-game-prototype-creation/61078/2

  1. Build the Game – It doesn’t matter you are a terrible builder, anyone can use the ROBLOX tools to put together a lobby or map, be it a box with no windows and plain colors, that is absolutely fine. Do not exhaust yourself with details, a scripter needs content to work with, not quality and we’re focused more on quality fun than pretty floors and walls.

  2. Script the Game – As you start getting the plot points of your game (lobby, and a single map) you should start getting the game scripted. Ultimately you may be tasked with learning something new you never tried and have to organize it for the full picture. During the concept you should try to aim more for getting an idea working than clean code because this is just a concept - we are not going to intend that this game will keep this feature or what else we may change to it!

  3. Test the Features as you go (Still fun?) – After a week of finally having finished your feature you need to realize if its still fun or becoming more trouble than its work. You will always make sacrifices and we will talk about how to deal with these later in this thread, just take note if it’s still fun to use or not.

  4. Get friends to play – This is where you want to get some friends in, once your game is mostly outlined into a playable state this is the first thing you need to do to get a first impression.

  5. Get feedback – You know this game and how it works better than anyone, but how does someone new feel? Is the game still meeting the answers you set for yourself way back? Ask your friends questions such as how difficult was learning the game, what was their favorite part of the game, and would they play it again. You can ask what would you like to see? but remember as the designer You are responsible for getting this game out the door and must stick with an achievable goal.

Review Stage

Find the Problems, Understand Why, Determine Solutions!

So we got concept made, awesome! We got feedback from our friends on how they feel about it. Now comes the hard part.

What do we keep, add, and remove?

Based on your data you gathered you should compare it to your questions you answered versus your responses. Here is a list of things you can look for to help you make a good judgement:

  1. Inconsistencies – If your game is failing to achieve a goal of keeping someone interested and its the result of a specific feature then try and understand why this is occuring. A difficult learning curve may require adding a tutorial, or removing some stats that make it overwhelming to keep up with.

  2. Undesired Behavior – Sometimes developers will pitch and sell a game with how players should be playing their game and that may not always work out. Usually in a stealth game you are being rewarded for being sneaky and although not punished for going guns blazing they aren’t getting a bonus out of it. Try not punishing the player but reward them for the behavior you want.

  3. Lack of Retention – This is based on how long a person plays your game, you want them to play as long as you can but sometimes you may have trouble doing that. Keeping people playing longer times can often come from being with friends, being rewarded for goals, and various other reasons. Ask yourself what is pushing players away or gaining the most attention, the most activity.

Now it comes down to you to figure out what you can do to fix this as the designer, gamers don’t always know what they want or what’s best for them and highly suggest you watch this:

Refurbishing Stage

Rebuild, Rescript and Pitch your Game!!

If you reached this stage you should officially have a playable demonstration you can show off to potential co-developers that will be more likely to join on board with your project (May cost to do so) and the reason you should sometimes wait to do this at this point is a few reasons.

  • Going all out in early development may crash as you manage too much to try to produce the full game early.
  • Not everyone wants to gamble on an idea guy who may not go all out on his own project or be competent enough to see it through.
  • Having a pitchable concept now can get you more credible hands on deck for music, art, and more than your game didn’t need until now.
  • The concept gives you a direction and a road map for what your game will be and improve on it and clean away the flaws.
  • It takes less effort to finish a concept finished to test its success before you fail trying to make a full game early with everyone disappointed.
  • Marketing is made much easier when you can show off what the whole picture is with images and videos of the demonstration.

When going after professional developers on forums such as Unity, DevForums, or anything else the biggest things to list out are the following:

  1. Your project name.
  2. A short summary (No more than a paragraph of about 5 sentences to 7).
  3. A pitch (One that answers the questions you gave yourself early on).
  4. The current team.
  5. Job openings and what they will do.
  6. Payment Type (Contract, Free, Royalty, etc.) – I don’t reccomend “contact me privately” if you want to get all eyes you possibly can.
  7. Your contact information (Discord, Roblox Username, etc.)
  8. Who you are and how you will contribute.
  9. Images and Videos of the Concept – Do not try to make it a super secret project, games are games, and you want people talking about your game, it doesn’t matter how cool and unique you think it is if no one else gets on board.

Beta Stage

Advertising, Testing, Socialize!

Alas here we are, our game was rebuild from the ground up, cleaned, and hopefully with few issues that were made avoidable. Now we have to go back out there and test our game again! Try whatever you can do to get your game out there – you may not always get backers but social media is on your side like Twitter where developers may share your post and hype up your game.

Ask friends to help by playing in the game, including clans you may be involved with or other communities. The more socially active you are the bigger chance of success you have with getting your game noticed and having server with players early on will help anchor the new players that come from roblox web advertisements or curious followers on twitter.

I highly suggest you give players a way to send you feedback through a Discord web hook:

Created by: @antonio6643

Also look into analytics tools to help you figure out where your players time is being spent and where they are spending as well:

Created by: @DeepBlueNoSpace

There are many other tools out there but these users created these guides for you to have an easier time during this stage.

By this point you should feel much more confident about adding onto your game with what people can do but just keep in mind you want to make sure the game stays balaced and the core game isn’t disrupted due to it.

Final Stage

On a site like roblox “Beta” is a title you may get stuck with for months to a year before you want to claim your game has reached what you intend for it to be – the full picture.

Use this title respectively has labels such as “Alpha” and “Beta” become overused buzzwords just to keep players around hoping for more.

This is a stage where your game is stable, and the original picture is finished, you are done creating your economy and there is no need to wipe players data.

The core job you will have here is simply maintaing the game as roblox releases updates and push out new content as you spend less time on big features which should not break your current stable game.

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59 Likes

Game Design Theory: Psychology of Feedback Loops and How to Make Them!
Game Development Resources [MEGA THREAD]
As a developer, how do you plan your games?
How do I come up with a good game idea?
#2

Great post. As an addition, DieSoft recently open-sourced a Game Design Document which may be of some use to anyone following this thread.

Thread here:

5 Likes

#3

Very nice thread, This would be very helpful for people trying to get into the gaming dev industry.

2 Likes

#4

When I went on projects in Unreal Engine and Unity the lead’s problem was usually when they started trying to pump out an amazing detailed level and expected it to be the best. That project died mainly in a few weeks due to miscommunication.

My biggest pet peev has been seeing job offer threads with little to no context or has some of the “contact me in private” attitudes that can rub someone the wrong way or make them believe that person isn’t confident in their project.

Pitches to me are vital to getting people so by principal I refuse to recruit with nothing but just an idea and no demonstration. If you ever seen threads like Unity or Unreal Engine, those are very common problems and the better the thread and professional the higher the chances of you getting an equal quality developer interested – and I hope this thread got that point across.

2 Likes

#5

I’m actually using that lol, I posted it in the thread above now – thanks for reminding me as it’s honestly the best thing anyone can do use to organize and apply what they learned here.

0 Likes

#6

I learned a few new things from this. Keep up the good work! :smile:

1 Like

#7

Great formatting, easy to follow steps, good examples, and overall an amazing tutorial! Keep up the good work.

1 Like

#8

Cool, Sharksie also made a thread killer on my thread a while back that elaborates further his approach: https://devforum.roblox.com/t/time-frame-for-game-prototype-creation/61078/2

1 Like

#9

Awesome stuff!

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#10

One of things about game development that I like is that people tend to have different methods for how they make a game. This is definitely awesome post and a good tutorial.

1 Like

#11

Wow okay so I’d like to receive R$100 at LEAST for using my tutorial in this

2 Likes

#12

Will that be paper or plastic?

2 Likes

#13

Very nice tutorial. I’ll try updating my tutorial on webhooks soon so it’s easier to read/up to date.

1 Like

#14

but thats just a theory

A Game Design Theory

2 Likes

#15

Ha, now I have a tag line for the next one.

0 Likes

#16

Next GDT: Crafting a Responsive Feedback (Audio, UI, etc.)

Going to cover my favorite thing in the world and that’s understand what sounds get used in games, when, where, and why.

A lot of people don’t realize they are unknowingly being trained to respond to distinguished sounds and why such as how sneaky lootboxes actually are.

Gotta love psychology.

3 Likes

#17

Hey, good old diet DevForum here. Can you share with us a slightly more public link. I’m interested in seeing what DieSoft has to say, as he always has been a great developer :slight_smile:

0 Likes

#18

Haha, no worries. Here is the link to the Open-Source Game Development Doc. Unfortunately, I’m unable to show the contents of the thread beyond that.

1 Like

#19

++ Here’s a free game development agreement generator—a resource to consider for projects that may require collaboration of any sort.

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#20

Still got that planned? :eyes:

0 Likes