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Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester

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Chapter 10. The Market

The Tekram was the strangest beast in the world. It was a shapeless mass the size of a house, covered by a mad patchwork of fur, scales, and chitin. Twisted limbs protruded randomly from its bulk. And if you came back the next day, it would look different.

The villagers soon learned its power: fed the right thing, it would offer forth a king’s bounty of food, fine cloth, and gold. The trouble was that nobody could ever figure out what it wanted. Some days it loved bacon and would excrete diamonds for every strip tossed into the correct maw. The next day, it wanted vegetarian food only. Sometimes it liked things undercooked, overcooked, seasoned or bland, complex, simple, healthful and greasy. Sometimes it liked to eat things that weren’t even food.

For centuries, merchants and wise men tried to understand the Tekram and predict its desires. They wanted to access its bounty without the trial and error of throwing random foods into its maw. All failed. After a thousand years, the villagers simply worshipped it, uncomprehending.

Design Purpose

EVERY GAME IS CREATED to serve a purpose. Some games are made to produce profit through sales, subscriptions, or in-game purchases, or by pulling quarters from people in an arcade. Other games are made for nonmonetary purposes. Art games, hobby projects, academic experiments, and design tests are made for status, tenure, or self-amusement.

Note

Every design decision is affected by the purpose the game was created to serve.

A survey ...

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