|July 9th, 2008|
The two hardest and most critical skills for a game designer (IMHO):
- Be able to see the game with no hint of artwork, music, sound, anything — the bare rules, bare mechanics, bare actions, stats, feedback loops. The skeleton, the core, the bone and sinew of it, without any dressing, as a shifting, moving mechanical construct of guy wires and rigid struts. It’s not an attack, it’s force projection, it’s territory control in a graph. And you can see it in your head, and when a feature gets proposed, you can see where it slots in — or not, and know whether the whole construct will tip over.
- Be able to see the game without any mechanics, any rules, any knowledge of how it should play — to approach it as a user experience, the magical moment of immersion, the confusion, the dazzle and colors, the sheer sense of possibility and play. The skin, the surface, the way the music will swell when you step through that door, the way that moving will FEEL, the way the possibilities unfold. To know where someone would be confused, to know where they will be led, to see the whole construct as an innocent.
And a great designer? They should be able to see both in their head at once.