Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lying Down on the Job...

...the last few days have consisted of compiling tons of new ideas about the game we're doing, writing tons of notes, chatting with Scott out in Utah about design direction. Today and tomorrow are all about putting all those elements together, killing some, reviving others, and putting it all in a document.

So for a change of pace and scenery, I spread all my notes on the floor and stuck itunes on shuffle (Duran Duran into John Williams into Nelly into 2pac into Gwen Stafani into Samantha James into Ray J into James Horner into Queen into Mary J into Hugh Grant channeling the 80's ((from Music and Lyrics!)) into etc,etc.etc......Shuffle rocks!)....and then I plopped my ass down and got to work.

Check it out: my workspace for today:

Something was/is so fun about working on the floor...feels like being a little kid, you know? The creative energy is just different down there. I love it!

Anyway, going to lunch. Just wanted to share! Take it easy, ya'll!


ps. oh, and don't let anyone tell you the whole 'rule of 10' is bullshit in game design (or whatever it's called). You know, the idea that you need to design your game so that there is something that excites/engages the player in the first 10 seconds, then the first 10 minutes, then the first hour,etc...that's a real important set of goals to design around and we're trying real hard to do it...check it out:

With a game like GOD OF WAR, you only need to worry about exciting the player moment to moment because it's a roller coaster ride. With what we are doing now, you let the player loose in your world and hope you've packed enough cool stuff in for them to make their own it's a much tougher challenge.

I erased my 'answers' cause I ain't giving anything away but thought I'd share a glimpse at my white board anyway to show one aspect of how we try to design our stuff.

Oh, and yes, that is my kid's art around my drawing skillz do indeed suck but I CAN- at times- draw a bit better than a 4 year old! :) Ok well, the car up there, that's mine. But the smiley faces, those are my kid's, dammit! :)

pps. yes those are strategy guides on the floor with me. They help me go back to games that inspire me and see if I've missed any of the depth or core ideas that are not always apparent on a play thru. They are both instructional and inspirational and intimidating (when you realize how much STUFF goes into a AAA game these days!!!)


-rallyRAYS- said...

Mr. J,

I'm back!!! i haven't posted in a while, been busy playing FF: Crisis Core and I listen to you and picked up Zack & Wiki. I like Z&W alot! The way they broke up the game into small managable chunks... well done! Thanks for the recomendation!

did you know mark a. works here at soe?



Zenchi said...

Man, all of these recent posts kick so much ass. It's getting me excited about finishing my design doc. Looks like you have been having a bunch of fun. I totally agree with the whole rule of 10/time stuff. The moment you start to play a game it should capture you and continue to do so through out. I love those games that just feel like they punch you in the mouth in the intro and get you excited. May be a bad example but MGS for PSX when they just throw you into it right after the epic intro. That kept me hooked for hours and hours. I probably played through the whole game 3 times before putting in another title.

MrDaBucket said...

I want your job.... >:o

That rule of 10 is very strict, in my opinion. An example of this is Condemened 2. It gets you in the first 10 seconds of just seeing it's world, but doesnt really give the player anymore enticing feeling after that.
I think if you can get that rule of 10 thing within the first 10 seconds of everytime the player picks up the game. That could make up for a less effective original 10 minutes moment or lack of an original hour moment.

Robert said...

you've got a whole collection of HOT WHEELS on that table.

James B said...

When will we get an annoucement for this new game you are working on? I find it weird that movies are fairly quick about get the info out about an upcoming movie, and then spend time coming up with odd names to mask the production of a movie, but the games industry will keep things hidden for years without releasing info. I'm going to take a shot in the dark tho, and say the game you are working on is a Twisted Metal MMO. Its an interesting idea, but for your sake I hope I'm wrong. So far that is a market all companies seem to want to jump on because of WOW, but once the cost associations come apparent they are all ready to jump ship.

Hjörtur Freyr said...

Hi David, my name is Hjörtur and i am the owner of a videogame website here in Iceland and i was wondering if you had the time to take a 10 min interview?
Anyway if you are interested please contact me at
Sincerely -Hjörtur Freyr Jónsson ;)

NO FEAR said...

I do some of my best work laying down...Bahhhhhhhhh.

Sorry, had to. ;)


NO FEAR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rey said...

here take a look at this its a show i used to see

here is part of it

"He was betrayed by the government he worked for and his wife and daughter were killed when their car drove off a cliff while being chased by the foreign authorities. He survived the accident but was badly burned."

it sounds like Calypso to me. and of Krista

pluse any game that you make well be super fun

Carlton said...

oh little cock tease you.. I even tried zooming in on and rebuffering and sharping the pic in photoshop...nothing, damn you!!! haha, Well keep up the good/hard work. More than anything Im just glad that you're having fun working on this game.


Isak said...

Hey David!
So I'm also currently going through some ideas and trying to get them all into a design doc. This project is developed in school, I have also got an programmer to help me build up my design. It's actually a very short project, only 4,5 weeks. So I'm trying to get the DD ready as fast as possible.

Anyhow, the thing I would like to ask you about is which kind of method you prefer; doing a prototype of the design and iterate it before starting on any documentation or jump right in to the the writing.

We had some introduction courses before this project started in which we learned to first and foremost create a prototype of the design and test it out before starting on the DD.
Since I don't have the time to build up even a simple prototype I'm forced to go right on to the documentation.

So I'm just curious which way you start up a new design and how you come up with something original?

tdh said...

I noticed your black bins under the whiteboard. I have THREE of those FULL of all my games. Gamecube games. N64 games. Dreamcast games. PSone games. PS2 games. PS3 games. Gameboy games. DS games. PSP games. The big bin on the bottom is chalked full of controllers and controller extensions. You should see when my friend's kids come over, it's like the World's greatest treasure chest to them.

I'm jealous of the whiteboard though. I've always wanted one of those in my office to help flesh out some ideas. Sometimes, even when writing code, it's great to just see "a big picture." Great for database design I've found.

Keep up the good work, glad to see I'm not the only one who likes getting down on the floor and really getting down to the nitty-gritty!

Robert said...

so...i've been examining your pic for clues about next game.
the next twisted metal is going to have a rivalry between a semi and an atv?

Christopher said...

Love the toy cars on the table :). Anything that points to TM on PS3 makes me happy.

greekdude247 said...

Ya that's definatly what my room looks like (with all the game design documents too) and I'm just making an indie game. Except instead of the white board I have post-its and taped up drawings, journals, and all kinds of crap for logging in ideas. Really helps me though. I can always go back look add old ideas and they would bounce back and give me new ones.

Cheddar said...

Man, do you get inspiration for games (Of course I speak of a certain game in particular) by looking simply at Toy cars and stuff?

I remember when I was in 5th grade, I used to make fake little booklets/manuals for made up games (I made like 3 twisted metal ripoffs, TM2 was my huge obsession at the time). I'd get my character inspiration from toy cars I had at the time. Heh.