Tag Archives: Templates

Design Tutorial – How to write a feature brief

The simple truth of game development is that a finished game will never be all that you imagine it to be. Even the best managed game development processes result in a game that represents 5 to 10 percent of the initial ambition. Ideas are cheap, implementation is expensive and at a certain point games must be shipped. For instance, even if my team’s current game Enhanced Wars is a runaway success and we continuously improve it for the 3 years after launching, it will never be all that we want it to be.

Once upon a time, when I set out to design a game I would start by writing a lengthy document detailing every aspect of the game. Eventually I learned that these documents are largely a waste of effort. No one else would ever read a 75 to 100 page document and most of the initial concepts get changed dramatically in implementation. Nowadays when working on a game, I prescribe a method of managing the design process for all these features that is lightweight and flexible.
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Balancing your game with tuning reports

To call the Quarter Spiral team process centric would be a bit of an understatement. Two of the three team members have served as producers of software development teams. We love scrum methodology and have been doing weekly sprints with point tracking and post mortems since the first week of our existence. As our tiny team is spread out across two continents, rooting ourselves in process has been essential to maintaining development momentum and creating trust that each team member is pulling his weight.

This devotion to process can be extended to game design and, in this instance, tuning and balance. By nature, game balance is subjective. What feels “just right” for one team member or especially devoted forum goer may be frustratingly overpowered for another. I believe it is impossible to ever get tuning perfect; it can only ever be good enough and with enough feedback, continuously improved.
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