How I Teach Game Design. (Lesson 1: The Game Design Process)

Godly Zimmerman

being playful


how and why to iterate + a game modification exercise

Iterative design

In the syllabus I shared in my last How I Teach Game Design post, graded assignments are given out on one week, and then one or two or three weeks later, they are due. So what happens in-between, during the actual work time? The answer is: the iterative design process.

Iterative design means a process focused on playtesting. You produce a playable prototype of a game as quickly as possible, then playtest the prototype, and you decide how to evolve the game based on the experience of the playtest. One way of understanding iterative design would be its opposite: a designer who works out all of the details of a game in advance, and creates a final set of rules and other materials without ever actually playing the game.

Of course, this caricature is absurd: no game…

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Kickstarter as Just Another Marketing Tool

Right on point

The Ancient Gaming Noob

I think we all sort of get the idea of Kickstarter.  It is a way to fund a creative project via “crowd funding,” an off-shoot term of “crowd sourcing.”


More specifically, Kickstarter is viewed as a way to fund such projects that are unlikely to be able to find funding through more traditional means or which are too small to attract institutional investors.  At this point, the most “funded” Kickstarter project, the Pebble watch, raked in just over $10 million.  That is a lot of money, but it is the outlier as far as projects go.  Most projects fall under the $10,000 mark.

Or at least they did up to this point.  Now Kickstarter seems to be getting cachet as a “place to be” for funding.

And so we have Shroud of the Avatar. Lord British is asking for a million dollars to…

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Emotions and process

Starting with the emotions we want to create, focusing on getting fewer things right (you can’t make up for fun with volume) and aiming for the best. It’s not always possible but it is the ideal to strive for, and tends to make hit games.