I am always looking for “the better way”. Today I discovered The Game Prodigy blog/site and am glad that I did. In several of the posts, the author (Brice Morrison) discussions the Game Design Canvas.
From his introductory post:
“Through analyzing countless independent and corporate titles over the course of the last several years, I’ve come to believe that there is a standard way of designing and studying games. Changes in the industry don’t disrupt it. New companies, new genres, and new controllers don’t change it. Independent or corporate, these rules are the same. These are systemic laws that are immutable. Developers ignore them at their own risk.
This approach is called the Game Design Canvas. It is made up of five different components: The Core Experience, Base Mechanics, Reward and Punishment Structures, Long Term Incentive, and Aesthetic Layout. The Game Design Canvas’s goal is to provide a powerful analytical and planning tool for developers, independent and industry veterans alike. All games have aspects that can be represented in the Canvas, and through it, it is possible to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of any game for the purposes of study and improvement on future projects.”(1)
Right off the bat this approach has spoken to me. Not an expert yet, but I will be using the Game Design Canvas in creating my games. In fact, I have already started using it in designing my current game.
I’ve started to define the Core Experience, which Brice says:
“This is the feeling that the game is trying to evoke, the .inner emotion that the player is going through as they play.”(1)
It is fun to do this and very liberating and empowering. It gives me direction, which gives my enormous confidence in the game.
I suggest you read the article and the subsequent ones on the topic of The Game Design Canvas.