How to Build a Game #75 Skill Development: Notice Things

I think this is a great general skill to develop for designers, notice things. Notice a lot more of everything. When you are sitting at a traffic light, look at the drivers in other cars. When you are filling the gas tank, look at the traffic go by and the people coming and out of the food mart.  When I am walking down main street to get lunch, I will look up at the windows of the office buildings look for people in their offices. When I am standing in line, looking at who is on their phone, who is talking to their friends while on their phone at the same time. How many tables are full of people….all of them looking at their phones!

Now, this is not a post about being on your phone, this post is about training your brain to get out of its routine. Part of being a designer is taking in different experiences and turning those experiences into games. While my walk down to Chipotle is probably not going to inspire any games, I am training my brain to look at a vanilla routine in life and find the interesting that surrounds it.

When I take this training and sit down to a game, I find myself not looking at the routine that is the round of turns we take as players, but also looking at the way players react to situations. How do different players using different strategies interact with each other. When it comes to picking a game, what are the conversations people are having in order to pick a game? What are the things that are most important to them when picking a game?

The list of situations and questions goes on and on. I’ll admit that this probably won’t have a direct effect on your games, nor will the benefits of developing this skill make themselves obvious. What this will do is open your eyes and get your brain used to a different way of looking at the world and the things in it. The more open your brain, the easier it is for designers to do what it is they love to do…design.

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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.

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