PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Game design advice from POLI 452

With the game projects for my McGill University POLI 452 (Conflict Simulation) course due in a little over a week, I asked my students today what advice they would have for future students and other neophyte game designers. The comments they offered represent some pretty good suggestions for all game designers, no matter how experienced:

  • While thinking about including new aspects and rules to the game, we always need to think over whether it would complicate the game too much, or if it’s important enough to include it.
  • Be realistic in your ideas, keep it simple enough.
  • Be ready to change a lot of things all the time in the process.
  • Consult relevant people.
  • Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to design and do your research.
  • Getting the map right is very important.
  • Playtest early!!!!!
  • Playtest as early as you can.
  • I was shocked at how many ideas never survived a practical playtest!
  • Playtest!
  • Map design balance is very important.
  • It’s important to pretest early to understand whether there are [game elements missing].
  • Playtest and feedback.
  • Don’t have too many die rolls.
  • Excel is a pain in the butt to work with [from a group developing an Excel-based fog of war system].
  • Be realistic about your timeline.

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