Concepts are important before beginning to develop your project, whether you're working as a part of a team or alone.
For a lot of people (myself included) just a basic idea of what the project and gameplay involved isn't enough to really get in there and tackle the programming and development. For me, I like to talk it over with the people I'm involved with in order to really get an idea of where we want the project to go.
Taking notes works well for me. I'm not sure if you'd call it a design document, but it's certainly some sort of raw form of it.
In my previous blog post, I discussed a few things that each development team should have. It was really just a discussion on basic developmental tactics and simple tolerance for each other as you progress through the stages of creation. Let's elaborate a little on those points.
Gameplay is certainly the most important part of developing your concepts. It doesn't matter how great all of your graphics are. That will only take you so far. A truly fun game can stand and be enjoyed even with simple graphics. (As long as they flow well with one another and are original)
Games don't have to be long, drawn-out and elaborate. "Simplicity is a beautiful thing to master." (-Eponick, a friend of mine) Unless you're a seasoned programming and developmental vet that has a few big hitters under your belt, I wouldn't really attempt that gigantic interactive RPG everyone dreams of creating. Let's start small and develop our skills and abilities and determine what we are good at, and more importantly, what we need work on. Then, let's improve in those areas. Experience is the single greatest teacher and there isn't any substitute for it.
The biggest, most important thing I want everyone to take away from this little blog post is: create something. Create something original and let's see what level your creative and dream making abilities are. Make something original and be productive.
One of the biggest disappointments I have, within the BYOND community, is the small list of Featured Games we have. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say there are at least 3-4 out there that should be featured, and we just haven't gotten to reviewing those games yet. If you think your game deserves this status, submit it today and it will be reviewed. The worst thing that can happen is you receive some feedback on your hub telling you the areas in which you must improve on in order to carry this status. If you're not sure and want to take a look at the Feature Game Standards, now is the time to do that.
I think we can all agree that BYOND is changing. Also, I'd even venture to say it's for the good of the community. Originality shouldn't go unrewarded.
Once your project hits the hub and site for all to see, you need to do some kind of advertising. Host some sort of events to draw people to your games and let's get people playing it. Offer simple things such as limited medals, free subscriptions and even BYOND memberships (if you can afford it) and the players will come. I'm not sure about you, but the idea of having a medal in my pocket that is only offered on one day is reason enough for me to at least login and see what your game is about. I like a challenge, and I also like collecting medals. =D(though I don't display them on my site. Perhaps I should?)
In a lot of cases, the game, despite how well it's made, will only go as far as the development team carries it. Frequent updates are also a big part of keeping players' interests. Keep me updated on what you're working on, too. Especially after the game has already hit the site and is playable.
My challenge still stands
My challenge from the bottom of my previous blog post still stands.
Go create something. Make something! Your game will never be featured, or even played, if it doesn't extend past your mind and find its way to the Dream Maker.
So far Lige is the only person that openly accepted my challenge. And I'm glad one person at least felt inspired by my ramblings to go do something.
Okay, Yusuke13, you talk big ****, but what are you doing?
I'm currently working on an Official Challenge to be issued to all of BYOND. Something with a bit of a reward and am hoping for plenty of participation. Look for that blog post in the next week or two, officially issuing the challenge.
Also, myself and DungeonDan have been working on a couple of projects. Some of you have heard of our retake on the old classic Rise of Heroes, and we've also started a smaller project.
The smaller project was meant to begin something that would see release earlier than our RoH remake. And it serves to give us a small developmental (and mental) break from the RPG.
Now go! Go and Build Your Own Net Dream!