How hard is Games Design?

A few years a go when I first started to get serious about programming my own game I thought this would be easy. I thought to myself I play games all the time. I would totally make the best game in the world. I will write up a games design document this week and release a game in a few months.

Obviously to any one that has been doing it for a serious length of time knows this is not true. Its so dam hard to get GOOD game concept written down. Sure your ideas sound great in your head, but trying to define the core mechanics of a game, into sound coherent written form is a nightmare. Its both fun, frustrating and just down right time consuming. No wonder so many people never make it to release.

Then you get the people that think that a games core elements don’t even need to be defined, you can just make the game up as you go along. I am a firm believer that this is not true, sure the game changes over time, it evolves and the original idea is just a distant memory. But the core mechanics, the core elements stay the same throughout the life cycle of the project, and ultimately define what the game is about and what challenges the player faces.

In my eyes a game is a set of core mechanics and challenges, both of which are intertwined. The core mechanics define how the player interacts with the world and how the world offers feedback to the players input. Challenges come in many forums but follow a simple principle. A player is faced with a task, if he succeeds he is reworded, if he fails he is punished. An example of which could be anything from moment in a platformer, all the way up to collecting and moving items around to solve a puzzle, hell even a head shot.

What is my point here, to be honest I am not so sure any more. What I am really looking for here is to know what you guys and gals think about games design and the importance of writing a solid games design document. Or how do you go about creating games and getting your ideas out there. I can not be the only one faced with these issues.


GamerKnight
Days of Valor: http://www.indiedb.com/games/dov

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