6.1. Getting Started

There are many different starting points for a game’s design. Here are some examples, in no particular order:

Note that just because any of these methods can result in a good starting point for a game does not mean that they are all equally good ways to start thinking about your first game. Your first game is going to be limited by your skill in creating code to implement mechanics and the art you can find or create. Starting with a story or technology idea or aesthetic may easily result in more work than you can handle as you try to turn your abstract ideas into practice.

For better or worse, mechanics are going to have to be an early consideration in your first game project. For one, you probably are still developing a feel for how to evoke a certain aesthetic, and even how dynamics will evolve from your mechanics. So trying to work backwards in design is going to be hard. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, your ability to implement mechanics is going to be limited - you need to focus early on what you technically can pull off instead of designing around ideas you end up realizing are too hard to implement.

This Extra Credits video starts with exploring why starting with a story can be a problem - note that it is set to end at the 3:16 mark... we will watch the rest in just a minute:

Materials on this page adapted from:
Game Design Concepts by Ian Schreiber (CC BY-NC 3.0)