★ TouchArcade needs your help. Click here to support us on Patreon.

Game Design with Jason Surguine

11-07-2009, 01:06 PM
#1
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 761
Game Design with Jason Surguine

http://jaybot7.com

Among the best and most successful indie devs is a personal friend of mine- Jason Surguine. I met him in an online forum, much like this one in 2001. By 2002 we released our first title, Snails (a Worms, Scorched Earth, Gorillas clone) and went on to win many International Awards.

Jason has an interesting perspective on everything. He is extremely talented composer/musician, brilliant humorist and incredibly smart when it comes to general game design.

I know a lot of Indie Game Designers who could maybe benefit from the wisdom of Jason. While his particular methods may not work for you, I think you need to ask yourself the important question: 'why WON'T this work for you, or why DOESN'T this apply to you?'

Genre does not matter. Your game needs to have intent, purpose, focus and a plan. The App Store has changed- you can no longer submit an incomplete game and promise to add features later.

Please take the time to look through a few of Jaybots articles on Game Design, with a particular focus on his own successful titles, Arvale. He pays close attention to subtleties like acronyms and names: naming the game Arvale Short Tales gave it the acronym AST as opposed to Arvale Short Stories with acronym ASS.

We did the same thing with Flickitty, which was originally named Flick. Imagine how hard it would be to find Flick in a search. Think about your game titles, developers!

Avale Game Designs on Paper- Part 1

Arvale Game Designs on Paper- Part 2

Arvale Game Designs on Paper- Part 3

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
11-07-2009, 09:15 PM
#2
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: World
Posts: 15
Aww... look at this unexpected link love, I wasn't expecting this

Thanks for the kind words Flickitty

Another thing to think about is Flick in capital letters: 'FLICK' by itself and with a little imagination (or bad eyesight) can look like my one of my favorite expletives

11-07-2009, 09:36 PM
#3
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 761
JAYBOT!

Actually, there were a whole lot of things that were wrong with naming the game 'FLICK'.

Indeed, I was horrified the first time I typed it out. It still worries me to see it printed out in the dialog menu 'this is Flick'.

We also noticed that other games used Flick in the title, such as Flick Fishing, which could cause confusion.

Dan East actually came up with the name Flickitty, and it stuck immediately.

For those who don't know Dan East, he was the first to port Quake, Quake2 and Wolfenstein 3D to the PocketPC (Windows Mobile). I've known him almost a decade as well, and it as an honor to have him as the engine designer behind Flickitty.

-randall

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
11-07-2009, 10:24 PM
#4
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: World
Posts: 15
Oh. Man. I can't stop laughing at how I misread Flick Fishing (-and my initial response of 'Yeah! Flick it! I don't want to Fish either..... oh.' )

Thanks for that
11-10-2009, 02:58 PM
#5
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 761
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwynedd Abigail View Post
Game design is developing the idea and basic layout of the game, or can be even more detailed including graphics and sound. Much more artistic.
Could you explain that a bit more? I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
11-10-2009, 03:18 PM
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwynedd Abigail View Post
Game design is developing the idea and basic layout of the game, or can be even more detailed including graphics and sound. Much more artistic.
I don't think that game design actually exists anymore. Maybe back in the 80's when everyone was tripping on acid.

We Are Pocket Monkey Games
Website | Twitter | Facebook

•Our Games on the AppStore•
11-10-2009, 07:46 PM
#7
Joined: May 2009
Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Posts: 464
I think Game Design still exists it's just that devs are more often than not the ones doing the design in small companies. If you're not doing some form of game design prior to starting to cut code then you're going into the project blind and you will undoubtedly waste some time implementing things wrong on the first attempt.

And while I'm sure plenty of devs make good game designers I also think there is room for specialist game designers in large companies working on large projects.

It's a bit like marketing isn't it? All us indy developers are doing our own marketing (some with more success than others!) but that doesn't mean there isn't still a need for marketing gurus in bigger companies.

Check out Sheepish, 100+ levels of puzzle fun! With sheep!
And more about us: www.pixelthismobile.com
plus+ id: Newtz
11-10-2009, 08:26 PM
#8
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 761
Quote:
Originally Posted by PixelthisMike View Post
It's a bit like marketing isn't it? All us indy developers are doing our own marketing (some with more success than others!) but that doesn't mean there isn't still a need for marketing gurus in bigger companies.
Indeed. And like marketing, some have more success than others when it comes to game design.

There is nothing wrong with a coder, audio technician or artist doing the game design, however, the player should never be aware of WHO actually designed it.

How many games have you played that were very obviously designed by the coder? You can usually tell because the artwork and sound are shoddy. Another good indication is an overly complex menu, complex controls, an over-abundance of stats, and cluttered UI.

A good designer/coder blurs that line to the point that it seems that a designated designer had done the task. I'm not saying ALL coders are bad designers- I can name 5 off hand that are good at it: Peter Balogh, Jacco Bikker, John Carmack, Sven Myhre and even John Romero.

I don't know anyone in iPhone development, so I can't comment there.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone
11-10-2009, 08:54 PM
#9
Joined: May 2009
Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
Posts: 464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flickitty View Post
There is nothing wrong with a coder, audio technician or artist doing the game design, however, the player should never be aware of WHO actually designed it.

How many games have you played that were very obviously designed by the coder? You can usually tell because the artwork and sound are shoddy. Another good indication is an overly complex menu, complex controls, an over-abundance of stats, and cluttered UI.
Indeed, all excellent points! Another reason why if you're in the business of game creation and involved in the process from start to finish you should also be playing games so you have an appreciation of what a gamer has to deal with. I'm not saying you MUST be a hardcore gamer and dedicate your free time to gaming, but you do need a knowledge of what gamers expect, what frustrates them and what other games out there are doing.

As an aside, all us at Pixelthis love Flickitty! Which reminds me, I needed to upgrade from the free version...

Check out Sheepish, 100+ levels of puzzle fun! With sheep!
And more about us: www.pixelthismobile.com
plus+ id: Newtz
11-11-2009, 12:37 PM
#10
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 761
I just realized you are the same developers that made Sheepish. I was playing the lite version last night and it was very well done- I loved the artwork. The attention to the help dialogs give it a lot of personality.

I think it is rare that a game makes me smile and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

A ragdoll physics platformer:Flickitty
The artist: randall schleufer
Twitter: @FlickittyiPhone

Last edited by Flickitty; 11-11-2009 at 12:41 PM.