Design Talk 12/20/2013

NekochuNekochu REGISTERED Posts: 244 Developer
edited January 2014 in Design
Design Talk Week 2! Yay! I made it to my second week. This is a great event as the early formations of a habit are beginning to congeal before your eyes!

So the bad news is that this talk comes on the horizon of the holidays which means everyone has vacation fever. Motivation is low but there is still work to do. Holidays are a good/bad thing for studios. In most studios, holidays come right after some large project has wrapped up, shipped and teams start to reform into new groups. In the employment market, most studios go into a hiring freeze during this time simply because there is no real production happening.

In the case of a project that is continuing on after the holidays, this time can be dangerous for motivation. Creative individuals need time off but that break that occurs through the holidays can also interrupt any rhythm the team has gotten into and coming back usually takes getting the ball to rolling all over again. What is a team to do that allows developers that needed rest time but doesn't totally wreck any workflow happening on the project?

For the team here we have approached this method in a few different ways. Our code team is shooting for a code bounty sort of method. Offering prizes and awards for the greatest number of extra coding done through the holidays to a member on the team. This is a natural fit for coders as they are well known to continue working out processes and ideas above and beyond the normal workday. Inspiration on a problem can strike at any moment!

The artists have set up small side projects to work on through the holidays. Concept pieces, modelling, etc... Also part of the artist mentality to continually working through the craft, iterating and improving on their process and methods. So this leaves us with design. What do we do to hone our minds and keep in the groove during a downtime?

Well personally, I have always kept the breaks to catching up on games. We all play games through our career and keep up with our favorite genres as well as checking out new ones that come on the market but when I talk about playing games through the holidays, as a designer this really means deconstructing a game. The break gives me a lot more time to fully breakdown a game and become very intimate with its systems and process. Deconstructing games is a huge part of design. It's like being a critic, except instead of tearing down the elements of a game to criticize it, you are breaking down these parts of the game to better understand what went into the game's design.

It's true that just as critics can not fully enjoy whatever medium they criticize for their job, designers are also always in the mindset of deconstructing a game, even when they are enjoying one! What comes from all of this analyzing of things and figuring out how systems in a game works? Well the wealth of knowledge on how others have solved a potential problem you may face someday is priceless. The more understanding you have of how others have solved an issue you might face is well worth the time in playing other games outside of your favorites. This can also mean playing through what people might consider a "bad" game. Knowledge can only partially come from writings, experience is also a huge supplier of answering those issues you might be facing. Playing a "bad" game that strives to explore a game mechanic or system you too might face some day is valuable experience.

So, to wrap things up, what are you guys excited to play over the holidays? I'm hoping to dig more into Rayman Legends, DotA 2, Warframe and X-Com. I'll probably be going back to some older games too such as the Overlord series and the original Might & Magic.
Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
Tumblr: xnekochux

Comments

  • Re EvolutionRe Evolution REGISTERED Posts: 1,105 Seed
    I'm planning on picking up the Elder Scrolls Anthology pretty soon, and I will try to get through most of the games over break. And, since Dark Souls is going on a Steam sale right now, I'm planning on breaking the spirits of anyone who picks the game up by invading at Lvl 1 in the starting zone. It's going to be amazing.
    5.jpg
  • SigilSigil REGISTERED Posts: 678 Developer
    An enjoyable and enlightening read. Apparently I've been in critique mode for quite awhile. Yay for critical thinking?
  • spacedotspacedot REGISTERED Posts: 416 Seed
    First off i am looking forward to finishing brutal legend, jet set radio future, witcher 2 and starting bulletstorm and tomb raider that i just picked up in steam sales.

    Really enjoying these weekly long communiques from Nekochu.But we i cant help but feel like we aren't aware of all of the staff who are undoubted working very hard as well. Right now everyone knows who Inorite is because of all the interviews hes done. Auti0 and Shadee are always pop up to help whether it is with bugs or alpha key/forum issues.Skittles live streams his photo shop work sometimes. Merylisk used to post TUG runes on weekly basis then sunddenly stopped for reasons unknown *HINT HINT*. Other than tweets and the odd post here and there the rest of the TUG/NK team is very silent . As these threads are very informative could you manage a bi weekly one yourself and pick a different staff member each other week to write one. With 2 weeks notice people will surely be able to write something out like you have done and we get to meet the people who aren't forum regulars.
  • PamcakesPamcakes REGISTERED Posts: 738
    That's a really cool shirt you have on.
  • spacedotspacedot REGISTERED Posts: 416 Seed
    Pamcakes wrote:
    Spacedot, so many of the team members have twitter accounts url=https://twitter.com/NerdKingdom/lists/nk-team]here.[/ur
    But the same with the forums, they don't post so much...because...they're really busy. Haha.
    spacedot wrote:
    First off i am looking forward to finishing brutal legend, jet set radio future, witcher 2 and starting bulletstorm and tomb raider that i just picked up in steam sales.

    Really enjoying these weekly long communiques from Nekochu.But we i cant help but feel like we aren't aware of all of the staff who are undoubted working very hard as well. Right now everyone knows who Inorite is because of all the interviews hes done. Auti0 and Shadee are always pop up to help whether it is with bugs or alpha key/forum issues.Skittles live streams his photo shop work sometimes. Merylisk used to post TUG runes on weekly basis then sunddenly stopped for reasons unknown *HINT HINT*. Other than tweets and the odd post here and there the rest of the TUG/NK team is very silent . As these threads are very informative could you manage a bi weekly one yourself and pick a different staff member each other week to write one. With 2 weeks notice people will surely be able to write something out like you have done and we get to meet the people who aren't forum regulars.

    I know. I just would like something more than a tweet because these long posts are insightful and i enjoy reading them more so than a sentence or two.

    [here] = [url*=*https://twitter.com/NerdKingdom/nk-team][here][/url] remove the * to do those kind of links
  • RinRin REGISTERED Posts: 668 Seed
    i've actually been dissecting dead space 3 some. found some kinda odd design choices among the level designs in general (the vents necromorphs come out of, when looked into are just a hollow room, less than interesting and seems far too lazy considering a few extra feet in each direction would easily give a nice "i can't see" effect.)
    got to finally play around with civ 5 brave new world and gods and kings dlc's.
    and beat bioshock infinite with what is probably one of the most interesting endings i've ever seen in a game, considering it ties together various bits about self suppression of memories, the multiverse theory, and consequences of pretty much time travel.
    Warthunder, TUG and world of tanks fan/beta tester.
    member of The Lemurian empire and the Merchants guild
    Soon to be alchemist/apothecary in TUG
    20.jpg
  • NekochuNekochu REGISTERED Posts: 244 Developer
    spacedot wrote:
    First off i am looking forward to finishing brutal legend, jet set radio future, witcher 2 and starting bulletstorm and tomb raider that i just picked up in steam sales.

    Really enjoying these weekly long communiques from Nekochu.But we i cant help but feel like we aren't aware of all of the staff who are undoubted working very hard as well. Right now everyone knows who Inorite is because of all the interviews hes done. Auti0 and Shadee are always pop up to help whether it is with bugs or alpha key/forum issues.Skittles live streams his photo shop work sometimes. Merylisk used to post TUG runes on weekly basis then sunddenly stopped for reasons unknown *HINT HINT*. Other than tweets and the odd post here and there the rest of the TUG/NK team is very silent . As these threads are very informative could you manage a bi weekly one yourself and pick a different staff member each other week to write one. With 2 weeks notice people will surely be able to write something out like you have done and we get to meet the people who aren't forum regulars.

    Yeah, I would say we are all a little guilty of not posting as often as we should or even could and I can kind of express the same sentiment on the brevity of modern social media. I enjoy the quick quip here and there but it seems like more of a chore to come up with couple of sentence ramblings throughout the day. A lot of those things end up going around here just among the team and should probably find a forum of some sort on our many outlets for the community. Saying that we are always too busy has some truth but does come as a cop out excuse at times.

    That is why I'm dedicating myself to making these rather wordy weekly forum posts. I do enjoy the more lengthy paragraph of information dumps and it was one of our goals to offer blogs from the team so hopefully these forum posts can make their way into that format some time in the future.

    So new year and new resolutions, we'll be trying to get a lot more active as a team through the media outlets and I'll stick to my commitment of the Blog/Forum posts going forward! Thanks everyone!
    Twitter: @X_Nekochu_X
    Tumblr: xnekochux
Sign In or Register to comment.