Game designing: the delemna

I am not a game designer, but I want to be one.  It isn’t about making money, mostly due to the fact that a lot of people say you cannot make money in the industry as it is.  Maybe you can, maybe you can’t, that isn’t really the point.  The point is to do something that allows me to be creative.  I try to write, but I have the same problems with that, and it just isn’t as much fun. 

Me and a few  friends decided we were going to make our own game.  This actually came about around four years ago or so on the way back a Ren faire.  A lot of goofy things can happen on a two hour drive in the rain, and this one came from the idea of a script for a horror movie where people were killed playing a rpg.  J  I know.  But decided we wanted to make a game for the movie and sat down and started coming up with ideas.  The funny part of this was that we had been playing 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons for a while and began to burn out of it (mostly I was).  So we thought, hey let’s make a game we would want to play!  The result?  Our game Perdition (a work on progress)

This probably isn’t that original of a story (except the horror movie/ren faire part), but everything has to start somewhere, right? 

There have been a few problems.

Problem 1.  Lack of discipline.  It is something I am working on, but overall we aren’t great at it.  Too much time between us actually working on the game. 
Problem 2.  Trying to come up with something original.  There are so many people out there making games right now.   It is both great (from a gaming point of view), and annoying (from a designing point of view). 
Problem 3.  Being on the same page.  When you are making a game with someone else, you have to try to find a way to come to a common voice for the game.  Not always easy.

We have actually put a lot of work into it, but not so much in the last few years.  I have had life issues for a while (and still do), so gaming in general has taken a back seat.  Yeah there are all kinds of excuses, and I know I have made my own share.  So, here I am trying to get my mind set in doing this again. 
I miss the feeling of creation that came with making our game.  I miss feeling that it was important at one time and that we could not wait to get back to talking about it.  Also the camaraderie that came with it all.

I am still trying to figure other things out, but I definitely want to get back into the game.  I want to see this through, and that is something I have always struggled with.  But it will require me (well, us) to have to do the work to get this finished.  I know I am excited at the prospect of getting back to it.

So, I am trying to pump myself up for this.  I see so many people that are successful at making their own games and I cannot deny, I love the idea of seeing my name on a gaming book at some point.  J


  1. My question -- as I've had many similar feelings -- is it that you really want to write a game, or the other stuff, the sense of connection and the flow of ideas?

    I ask because your post is a fairly honest piece about a lot of the demons that plague the work of individuals who want to create -- but then find that they don't...

    It may be that what you want out of the experience is different from desiring a finished product, you know?

    Of course -- don't take the question the wrong way -- I completely encourage you to keep on writing, keep on working, keep on building. If you do finish the game -- I look forward to seeing it (really, I love reading the games created by individuals as much as the mainstream stuff) but I've had to fight this battle with myself and I know how hard it is to win.

    My best advice -- Consider my question and then tell me I'm wrong! Tell me you want to finish this darn thing and then do it!

    Best of luck.

  2. I don't know how to answer this completely. I think i just need to create something, and this is the venue that would give me the most enjoyment. It isn't about whether I could get it to sell on the indie scene or what not. I have just had so much life drama for a year now, that thinking about doing this didn't make sense.

    But now I realize that I want to do it. But that is only part of the fight.

  3. I don't have any specific advice for creating a full-on RPG, but I've created a couple of adventures (and am currently working on a third). It's got to be a labor of love, which it sounds like it is for you.

    My suggestion: See if there's a concrete but smallish piece that you could finish and publish on your blog. Maybe a few pages of introductory material for the system that talk about whatever makes it cool and unique, rather than a full rulebook.

    If you have a not-too-large task, it might be easier to get it finished. And if it's something that you want feedback on, getting it out there to share with the community might help with whatever the next step is (rules for creating a character or whatever).

    Good luck!

  4. Making an RPG can either take you forever like me, 16 years later and I'm still adding and tweaking, on my second edition, fifth sourcebook. Or you can get it over with and do a quick game. 1KM1KT just finished up a 24 hour competition and I think it gives a good idea of how lean an RPG can be written and still be interesting. Granted most of the games are limited in scope but they're still interesting.

  5. Is funny, we have two things we worked on. One was a huge game, and second was something that could be a one shot. Not really sure which will be worked on more once we get back. I like the idea of putting stuff on here for people to see. Especiall if I can get people actually looking at this thing. :)