A Game Design a Week Keeps the... I Got Nothin'.

Patrick Curry, lead designer on Wideload's Stubbs the Zombie (Xbox, PC) and currently working as a designer on a next-gen Midway project, recently started up an interesting project related to, but separate from, his actual work. A few weeks ago, he charged himself with coming up with one new game design idea each week for the entireity of the year, ending up with 52 designs by the end of 2006. He has three rules, that the games must be new, not work-related, and fun.
Ever since I moved to Chicago I've wanted to create a game that I could play at the city's many bus stops and el-train stations. The ideal "train game" would be something I could play for five minutes a couple times a day, but play it every day with some level of persistence. It's All Business was conceived to be that game, fun for me and everyone else who commutes to work and has some time to kill.

It's all Business is a turn-based, text-based multiplayer game for cell phones designed to be played via WAP, SMS or simple HTML. The player assumes the role of an up-and-coming business person fresh out of school and starting a new job. The player is assigned a small staff and has to start work right away. Each day the player is allotted so many "turns" (think classic BBS door games) in which he can hire and fire staffers, suck up to his boss, mingle at the water-cooled, or actually "do some work." Each action has an affect on the staff's overall productivity and costs.

Curry's first design was a Trauma Center-inspired dentist sim for Nintendo DS (in which you can inflict pain as well as work to minimize it), followed by the mobile business sim described above. This weekend he posted an idea for a mountain biking game that gives the player intimate control over his bike. If Curry indeed sticks to his self-imposed schedule, it should be an fun project to keep tabs on throughout the year.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 17, 2006 11:36 AM

    He has three rules, that the games must be new, not work-related, and fun.

    Sound's like a work sim to me, how boooooring, but then maybe there's ninja's at the water-cooler you get to fight.

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      January 17, 2006 11:41 AM

      He means not related to his job.

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      January 17, 2006 11:53 AM

      as protective as game devs are of their properties, ideas, concepts, I'm a little
      surprised he's posting these for general consumption.

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        January 17, 2006 11:59 AM

        Honestly, ideas are a dime a dozen, executing them is the hard part. I think it's a great exercise for using creative muscles, and doing little thought experiments on design problems. Plus I'll be that he gets a good following of people who comment and tear apart his ideas, making new and better ones in the process. That's what it's all about!

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          January 17, 2006 12:06 PM

          interesting take. Let other peeps blow holes in it, or applaud it before investing anymore time or $$ on it.

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            January 17, 2006 12:15 PM

            Bleh, games have gotten really complicated. While not a bad thing, sometimes the simpler games are actually better...

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        January 17, 2006 1:40 PM

        Like dave said, dime a dozen. I've met hundreds of people with game design ideas, and they had a lot of them. Very few had anything original, but each one was absolutely convinced they were the only person to have a particular idea. Anyone can come up with good ideas, but few people can make it happen. I could come up with plans to mine Mars or laser weapons for the military all day. It takes someone with actual talent to make it happen. Designers outnumber programmers a hundred to one, but we hire fewer designers than programmers.

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          January 17, 2006 1:57 PM

          A designer is not someone who has ideas. Everyone has ideas.

          A designer is someone who can take the ideas, concepts, constrants, and concerns and make it all work to where it is fun. In theory, at least.

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