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Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester

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Chapter 16. Complex Decisions

The ancient wise man left his mountaintop monastery and traveled to New York. There he made use of his enlightened wisdom. He soon became an alcoholic short-order cook and died alone.

Decision Effects

WHEN WE MAKE DESIGN decisions, we often have to think beyond the effects of our decision on the game itself. For example, changing a protagonist’s sex or ethnicity may benefit the game’s story, but eliminate a marketing opportunity. Rejecting a bad design idea from another developer may reduce workload in the short term, but degrade studio climate and make it harder to retain developers. A feature might be cheap to implement, but costly to maintain over the long term. Another might be cheap all around, but create a risk of critical failure in the design later on. To make good decisions, we often have to consider these complex effects on processes, people, businesses, and markets. Let’s look at some of these effects.

Note

DESIGN EFFECTS are the effects of a decision on the game itself.

Design effects are everything about how the decision affects players. Most of the book has been about evaluating and predicting design effects.

Note

IMPLEMENTATION COSTS are the resources required to execute a decision.

It takes time to write code, make animations, record dialog, and handle the countless other tasks that make a design work.

This category also includes the cost to fix everyday software bugs, tune systems within foreseen parameters, and other easy-to-predict tasks of ...

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