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Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester

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Chapter 17. Values

The sculpture was perfect—an sinusoid re-creation of the human form rendered in statuesque perfection. To show their gratitude, the townspeople offered the sculptor anything he wished. He could have herds of cattle, ornate golden weapons, or the mayor’s daughter’s hand in marriage.

But even with all of this bounty laid out before him, the sculptor only looked distracted. He walked past the riches and entered the village blacksmith’s workshop. There he began to go through the shelves, picking out new sculpting tools.

THIS BOOK HAS COVERED a lot of knowledge about being a game designer. Combine that knowledge with practice, and you’ll develop skills. But I don’t think knowledge and skills are all that’s needed for exemplary game design. I think that to do this really well, we must also have values.

Note

A VALUE is an emotionally driven choice about who we want to be. It’s a human quality to aspire to. Nobody can ever fully embody their values, but we better ourselves and our work by trying.

Other professions have their own values. Soldiers have martial values like loyalty, honor, and personal courage. Scientists value rigor, impartiality, and integrity. Mainstream industrial culture values hard work, thinking ahead, and doing your part. But none of these value sets applies perfectly to game design because our task is different. Just as it would be foolish to apply military values to scientific work, it would be foolish to apply any of these to our work. We need a different ...

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