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'The Door Problem' of Game Design 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-adoorable-games dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Game design is one of those jobs everybody thinks they can do. After all, they've played a few games, and they know what they liked and disliked, right? How hard could it be? Well, professional game designer Liz England has summed up the difficulty of the job and the breadth of knowledge needed to do it in what she calls 'the door problem.' Quoting: 'Premise: You are making a game. Are there doors in your game? Can the player open them? Can the player open every door in the game? What tells a player a door is locked and will open, as opposed to a door that they will never open? What happens if there are two players? Does it only lock after both players pass through the door? What if the level is REALLY BIG and can't all exist at the same time?' This is just a few of the questions that need answering. She then goes through how other employees in the company respond to the issue, often complicating it. 'Network Programmer: "Do all the players need to see the door open at the same time?" Release Engineer: "You need to get your doors in by 3pm if you want them on the disk." Producer: "Do we need to give everyone those doors or can we save them for a pre-order bonus?"'"
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'The Door Problem' of Game Design

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  • Re:Easy answers (Score:5, Informative)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:20AM (#46821591) Homepage

    I like your world where no locked doors exist; it's so very much like reality where I also need no keys to unlock doors.
    Also in reality nobody can ever block a door. If somebody else (let's call him "player 2") blocks the door from opening, I'm still able to open the door. Because "It's a door. It opens", the door will magically pass right through the other person.
    Also; what is behind every opened door? If there are doors behind an opened door, they should open too, right?

    In my world, a locked door is normal. How can I see if a door is locked in real life? If it has a hole for a key and closed, it's probably locked.

  • Re:um (Score:5, Informative)

    by thesandtiger (819476) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @08:47AM (#46822623)

    This article isn't for actual software engineers, but "idea guys" who think making games is easy and don't actually understand what goes into real game design.

    I know a ton of people like that - they have an idea for some awesome next level stuff, but it's only a very vague idea with a few neat things in there, without any of the actual work that is needed to turn it into a game design, let alone a spec, let alone a game. Seriously, everyone I know who is a gamer and not an engineer is constantly babbling about how games should do X or Y or Z or whatever, but when you ask them questions about how any of it would actually work, they wave their hands and say it isn't important because the IDEA that they took a whole 30 seconds coming up with and articulating is somehow the hard part.

    The idea is the easy part - I can toss out hundreds of ideas for games that would be amazing. Turning that amazing idea into anything resembling a useful thing is another kettle of fish entirely.

  • by CptPicard (680154) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @02:27AM (#46830727)

    There is also a legendary internet phenomenon with kinda your surname. I would not recommend googling for it.

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