Doug Church: The fundamentals, methodologies and practices.

As a designer, Church tends to focus on looking at ways to make sure that games are constantly evolving. He has pointed out correctly that although areas such as graphical power and sound quality may increase very naturally and obviously, the design process itself, that which forms the very ‘heart’ of the game being created, often develops much more slowly and with more difficulty.

Church has shown that he often puts priority on making sure games fit together properly and make sense when played by the player. Having pointed out that players like to know what their options are, to know why action A results in consequence B for example, and not making players feel discouraged when a random event that (although it will of course have a proper rooted cause played into the games coding by the programmers) seemingly occurs for no reason, or is unavoidable.

It often seems that Church takes a very abstract look at games design, being able to see genres and storytelling methodology in much broader and more detailed terms than is usually given (I must admit, it was rather encouraging to read of a successful games designer, not just me, refer to Square games as ‘storybook’ games; a genre label I had been referring to them as for years), and he seems to prefer dismantling any game concept down to its most basic components, allowing him to get the most out of the work he does.

Church seems to focus mainly upon the story of the games, enjoying thinking about the kinds of story that different genres of games feature, not so much what the story actually is, but what type of story it is, namely features such as complexity, length, interactivity and so forth. The single most important thing Church seems to look at though, the most vital part of the design process, is communication. This is a seemingly obvious thing that is overlooked far more often than most people would normally realize. Church has pointed out that communication, pointing out things specifically and in as much detail as possible, are exceedingly vital to any games success. Knowing exactly what needs to be done, changed or improved, can make or break a game, and this is something I can most definitely agree with. The more detail a designer receives and gives, the better product they will produce at the end.. Provided of course they paid attention and did something with it naturally…

 

An extremely interesting article on games design by Doug Church on Formal Abstract Design Tools cn be found here:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3357/formal_abstract_design_tools.php

I strongly recommend giving it a read…

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