In a word, Deadzone.
Whilst my normal state is to be working on 2, 3 or more games at once, designing both EB and DZ at the same time was getting a bit confusing as they are so similar in many ways. In the end it seemed like a better idea to put EB to one side while I concentrated on DZ and put all the skirmishy goodness I could think of into that. When that’s done then I can turn my attention back to EB.
Dwarf King’s Hold and DreadBall can both work in parallel with Eternal Battle without confusion as can the other projects I’ve got lined up. Different scale, style, subject or target audience all make sufficient difference that they can easily be kept apart.
So Eternal Battle isn’t forgotten, just on pause while Deadzone is allowed to run free for a bit 🙂
I can wait… all your games are making me broke 🙂 but I love it so keep em comin’.
I just don’t know how you do it! I struggle to stay focused on one project to completion, always going “wouldn’t it be cool if there was game that did…” Or “Man, now I’m gonna make….” Your prowess at multi-tasking game design is unparralleled. What’s your secret?
Also, not wanting to thread derail, but what reading would you recommend for game design while we patiently wait for the “Jake Thornton Encyclopedic Compendium of Game Designing Awesomeness”?
I’m fine with focus as long as they are sufficiently different. If you think that you have to get into the zone to work well on something (anything), then as long as the zone is different from each one you’re fine. It’s a similar thing to devising half a dozen or more army lists at once. You have to be able to find the unique bits of each and focus on those. That helps you to concentrate and also makes them each more varied, which is interesting to play.
Or I could just ramble on some more. I don’t really have a specific answer – perhaps lots of practice.
One of the reasons I’m writing a book on game design is that I couldn’t find one. I’m sure somebody else must have found something, in which case please comment below!
I’ve seen a few, but haven’t read them, I will post em up after I get off work at my second job.
These are a few of the ones I have been considering:
The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses
by Jesse Schell
Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games
by Philip A. G. Sabin
Tabletop: Analog Game Design
by Drew Davidson
Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish
by Lewis Pulsipher
Eurogames: The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games
by Stewart Woods
Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design
by Janna Silverstein
Kobold Guide to Board Game Design
by Matt Forbeck
Paid to Play: The Business of Game Design
by Keith Meyers
The Game Inventor’s Guidebook: How to Invent and Sell Board Games, Card Games, Role-Playing Games, & Everything in Between!
by Brian Tinsman
I asked because I was curious if you had found anything particularly useful yourself. I don’t really know much about any of the above. One or two of the authors are familiar names, but thats about all I know about them. I had bought one book that was supposed to be about the history of simulation/wargaming, but has so far disappointingly been mostly a history of D&D and the split between Gygax and Arnenson. Interesting, but not quite what I had hoped for.
Honestly though, I much enjoy buying new games and trying those out-then reading any designer notes or interviews with the creator to get a glimpse into their thought process. That and tinkering around with design myself, browsing some forums and of course esteemed sites such as this one (which serves almost as an online mentorship program, might as well go ahead and call it the Quirkworthy School of Game Design!), not sure a book is even necessary…at least until the “Jake Thornton Encyclopedic Compendium of Game Designing Awesomeness” hits the selves, then I’m all in!
A good list, and some well-known names among the authors. Looking back at my earlier comment I should have said I hadn’t looked rather than I hadn’t found one. It’s just not something i ever felt the need to research. Too busy doing 😉
A search for game design on Amazon turns up quite a few. Are they any good? I’ve not read more than a few pages of each so I can’t really say. Some seem very much in the format of self-help New Age books, and other seem a little dry. I’ve yet to look at them all and there may be gems among them. I would expect a smattering of useful thoughts among even the poorer works so having had them pointed out to me I’ll add reading through them to my list of things to do. Someday…
Does it put me off writing my own volume to add to the pile? No, not at all. Game design is more like cooking than physics and is more art than science. The ingredients are simple enough to list, though knowing that won’t necessarily help all that much if you don’t understand how to combine them. What I’m working on is my own take on things and how I work through the various common design challenges, not the definitive way things must be done.