Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Game Design Rules

Game design rules is a name I have given to a set of game design methods that provide guidelines, rules, commandments, pitfalls, axioms, etc. These rules are heuristic in nature are generally not seen as unbreakable or immutable. Rules are typically ways for game designers to share best practices or observations based on their experiences.

Generally, game design rules are best for evaluating game design in order to find flaws in the design or the designer's process.

One way to use game design rules is by using them implicitly by exploring the various set of rules that exist on-line or in game design literature.

A more rigorous approach is to use game design rules as kind of checklist, which can then be used by the game designer for quick evaluations of the game design.The checklist approach would look similar to the following: 
  1. Select a set of game design rules
  2. Review rules one-by-one
  3. As you review the rules ask yourself the following:
    1. "Does the rule apply to this game or situation?"
    2. "Does the game design break the rule?"
    3. "Why is the game design breaking the rule?"
    4. "Does the game design need to be iterated on?"
Another approach is to combine game design rules with play-testing. The rules can then be used to help create questionnaires for play-testers, and/or be used as a checklist that is used during play-testing by the game designer.

Lastly, game design rules can be created by the game designer as a form of self-reflection, and eventually added to a postmortem or a game designer's personal design notebook.