10 November, 2015

Why Contests and NaGaDemon are good

The RPG design community has just come off a run of great contests and is now immersed in NaGaDeMon. I'm not saying that every designer participated in every contest, or that every designer is now struggling through NaGaDeMon to polish up a game, but there were heaps of designers involved in Game Chef, then ThreeForged, then Golden Cobra, and now I'm seeing plenty of people displaying their working processes in NaGaDeMon.

Each of these formats is doing something different, each is pushing the envelope in specific ways, and throughout the year other contests pop up now and again each catering to a specific niche of design.

I love seeing what other people are producing, the interesting direction that they are trying to push the  collective of hobbies that we refer to as "gaming". I also love seeing different people processes at work in the different ways through these exercises.

Some people designed openly in Game Chef, Everyone designed privately and secretively in ThreeForged (that was all a part of the contest), some people designed openly in Golden Cobra, some are doing so for NaGaDeMon... And it's been a different mix of people who have had their design thoughts pop up in my stream at each stage.

I'm seeing names pop up on G+, other names on Facebook, not much on forums, but I haven't really visited many of them lately. I've been too busy doing my own things, and trying to keep up with the plethora of ideas straming through the social media platforms. I can't keep up with it all, so it's forcing me to focus on a few specific individuals, and in turn that has led me to establish strong contact with specific folks like "Windcaller Studios" (who kindly sent me a beta review copy of their new game "Accolade"... which looks like a fun start, but there are certain things where I'd like to see it expanded a bit). I have a tendency to ignore the names I'm overly familiar with when it comes to developing new connections in the communities that these projects create. I know wht those big names do, I know that they'll have dozens (if not hundreds) of fawning fans hanging on their every word. I'd rather see what unknowns are doing, and the folks who exist in circles outside my immediate contacts.

I'm seeing people open to feedback about their designs. I'm seeing people who claim to be open to feedback, but who continually to rationalise their choices against any suggestions that might go contrary to their thoughts. I'm seeing people who state openly that their designs are special snowflakes that will remain private until they are unveiled through a massive Kickstarter project. So it's not just the actual designing that is interesting me through all of this, but also the social space around that design process.

All in all, it's been a great time to explore game design, but I'll also be happy when it's all over and I can get a break to focus on other things. After all, design is about bringing inspiration to the table, and you need to go out and experience things to gain that inspiration.

I foresee a bunch of Fallout 4 inspired games very shortly.

Enough rant for now.


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