Getting Started

So, I have just returned home from GenCon Oz where we “officially” launched this bold, mad idea. Both the War Stories and Game Design Round Table were well attended and we had a great deal of intrest in The Stockade. We even convinced some (perhaps you?) to get involved! Congratulations!

The Stockade is here as a resource for people who want to dive into creating their own game. Over the coming weeks and months we will fill the pages of this site with links to useful articles and web sites, as well as provide lots of information and advice ourselves. The Stockade is primarily a community project and we want your involvement. No one person has all the answers and everyone has their own particular skills and talents that they can share. This is just a bit of common ground from which everyone can launch their own dreams and occassionally check back.

So, you want to get started and create your own game? Great! Aren’t sure what you’re doing here? No problem!

After the initial inspiration and excitment of “I’m gonna create a game!” wears off you might be left feeling a little stranded as to what to do next. We have created The Stockade Challenge – to create a complete, playtested, playable game in time for GenCon Oz 2010! The challenge is a useful tool because it provides you two very important things as you embark upon your creative journey* – parameters and a deadline. Let me explain;

Parameters: do you remember being at school and told “Write a story about anything you want.” At first it seems awesome, because you can do, well, anything you want. But I bet a lot of you sat there for some time trying to decide “Should I write about this, or that… or maybe…” You may have spent quite a bit of time on this initial part, before a firm idea even seeped from your brain. Sometimes, halfway through the story, you found you have wandered off track anyway! If your initial instruction had been “Write a story about the worst day ever”; or “Write about an encounter with your favourite movie/book character” you would have been much quicker off the mark AND less likely to have wandered off into strange and irrelevent territory. That is because you had some parameters to kick start you and keep you on track. The Challenge has a bunch of parameters that you can choose to impose on yourself, instructions that influence things like presentation, mechanics, or theme. They are not compulsory, but during the Game Design Concepts course it was found that having strict parameters helped to focus designs.

Deadlines: so, imagine, you have finally come up with a great idea for that story and even started writing. Now your teacher says, “Hand it in whenever you like – when you think it is ready.” Some of you will dive in and finish it quick smart and it will be great; some will rush through it in ten minutes and chuck your scribbles at the teacher; others will take it home to work on and forget about it; and still others will finish their work and then spend weeks, months or years trying to make it “just right”. The same thing happens with game design, so having a firm deadline (or series of deadlines) makes sure you have an end date. It gives you a goal to work to and puts pressure on you as the finish line approaches. These are essential if you ever want to get beyond a “working draft”.  Over the coming weeks we will talk about setting short and long term goals for your game and working towards your deadlines.

Check out the Challenge page for details. We also have a google group too! Head on over to introduce yourself and announce to the world your ideas or plans. Things are in the REALLY early stages here at The Stockade and we are friendly folk (honest!) so if there is anything you want to know, see added, or share, then chime in.

More soon!

 *Yes, I just used a metaphor, a cheap, overused one at that – but it is appropriate, because by the time you have completed your game you will have gone places you never dreamt of and have learnt many new things about yourself, games, publishing and more!

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About Nathan
Hey there! I'm a writer, father, geek, teacher and gentleman creative. Looking for my next adventure now...

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