How to Build a Game #15 What Makes You Want to Design?

Find the thing that makes the bad days forgettable and the good days excellent

As you make your way through the design process, designers should be looking for the one thing that makes the long hours and months long development process awesome. For me it is the feed back from our play testers and the occasions when a play tester says they really like what we have designed.

Best example I can think of

Golf, I love it and I am not very good. I try but a professional or semi-pro I am not. However, I love to play the game because every single round I hit one shot that is the best shot I have hit in my life. The straightest drive or the shot out of the bunker that lands 3 feet from the hole. Every time I hit that shot I will tell Aidan (my regular golf buddy too) “looks like I am coming back next weekend. The rest of the round could be terrible. Aidan could beat me on the day, and I hate losing to Aidan, but thinking about the one shot will make my post round meal taste better, even if i had to pay for both our meals.

Find you thing and you will keep striving to get there

What that means for you, the designer, is to be on the look out for what it is that makes you the happiest.If the process of idea generation is what you really enjoy, great! You might need to find a co-designer to help flesh out your ideas and make them full games or you will have to find a way to focus on a game long enough to complete it. If you really enjoy the prototype building phase, or the social interaction of play testing. Whatever it is, you need to know what it is so that the days when you really don’t want to write rules or balance the 12 unique super powers, you can reference to what you are striving for and make the eh days taste a little better.

(If you are one the people that enjoy rule writing or large balancing projects, that is awesome and I wish I had your type of focus sometimes…..)

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at

If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

2 thoughts on “How to Build a Game #15 What Makes You Want to Design?

    • You’re welcome. Really glad to hear you are liking them. It was a fun series to write. My only wish was I had spread them out over time, haha. I was writing one a day for two months and now I have not had a new post in that series for a while. If there is anything specific you would want me to write about please let me know and I will get cracking on it. Are you listening to the podcast as well? Thanks for being a reader of the blog!!

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