Designing a Game without Creative Control

This past semester at Rochester Institute of Technology, I have spent a lot of time designing a “game” to play in World of Warcraft. I say “game” as it is really a set of systems that simplify the lifestyle choices a diabetic must make. Designing this has not been easy and I want to share my thoughts on how I would design a game without creative control if I were to do this again.

1. Imagine it’s a Car Game

Now I don’t mean that its a racing game or some simulation game, but a game you play in the car, much like the “License Plate Game”, “I Spy”, or “Punch Buggy”. All these games are made with the express knowledge that the players cannot change their environment (what things they will see out of the car) and uses them in the design and mechanics in their games. Thinking of your game as having set variables, for car games, the constant signs, other cars and trucks, instead of the fun or end product will make design more cohesive and simple.

2. Know the Delta

Understanding what you cannot change is only useful if you know what will change, both through the playing of your game and the changes that are outside of your control. For car games, understanding that there may be times when cars are scare and the road is filled with trucks will help you keep the car game interesting by adding in special rules for a car drought, slightly changing the game to keep the game eventful.

3. Be Technical with Rules

This does not mean to have specialized rules for certain circumstances in your game(although that may be important for your game) rather have an intimate knowledge of what you can get away for your game. Have an understanding of your Terms of Service, copyright laws, or someone’s patience. For a car game, knowing such technical things like how often mile markers will be seen by your players, or that trucks often have extra wheels will help fine tune the game.