Play is powerful stuff. I had the tremendous good fortune to take part in Play4Agile, an Unconference on games for Agile teams held near Frankfurt, Germany two weekends ago. It was a tremendous amount of fun and a really intense learning experience — there were so many skilled and enthusiastic people there to learn from and create with that a goodly number of new games were generated over the course of the weekend.
One of the (many) really helpful sessions I took part in was a session on designing games organized by Antti Kirjavainen and Ole Jepsen. I’d already started collaborating on a game with a small gang of people, and we all attended this workshop in order to figure out where to go next with our ideas. Annti gave us a road map for developing a new game:
1) Vision: Why should people play this game? What will they learn? What will they achieve?
- Objectives – what are the intended outcomes of the game?
- Constraints – what the limitations for the activity (how may players, how long might it take, what supplies are available)?
- Use contexts – who will use this game and how?
3) Brainstorm! – generate a pile of ideas for building a coherent activity
4) Define the game concepts:
- what do the players do?
- what is the goal of the game?
- when does the play end?
- what are the game objects?
- what are the main features of the game?
5) Generate test questions to evaluate the game:
- Is it fun?
- Are the players engaged?
- Is it scalable?
- Is it potentially viral?
- Do players get the intended ideas?
6) Create a prototype
7) Play test
Consider the answers to the test questions based on experience, and go back to step 4.
While this map is simple, creating a game itself is not, thought an idea can grown into a game quite quickly. My next post will get into the nitty-gritty of how we put together the first version of “Nobody’s Perfect” in about 5 hours.