The way I see it, there are 5 stages of design for any Byond game.

Overview - Deciding the general nature of the game
Outline - The overview of the mechanics, systems, and algorithms before they're implemented into code
Code - Self explanatory
Debugging - Finding flaws, oversights, and loopholes in the code in-game
Graphics - Creation and implementation of icons and maps

So, which is your favorite?

Do you like the Overview, and every time you see yet ANOTHER DBZ, Bleach, or Naruto game you think "Why don't they do this this and this? That'd make the game sooo much more fun!"?

Do you like the Outline, where you really get into the intricacies and decide how you want each system to function in your game?

Do you like racking your brain for the knowledge of procs and syntax buried deep within your gray matter as you create the skeleton of the game? Occasionally telling your coding buddies about the super-sleek and flawless mechanic you just wrote?

Do you like poking and prodding the borders and limits of your designs, testing their strength and finding where things are weak, broken, or missing? "Oh, if you paralyze the mob before you kill it, you can mash the Kill verb and farm exp until the mob timer resets."

Or are you one of the very few iconers out there who take joy in the entire process of creating turfs, peripheral components, and mob icons?

Personally, I'm caught between Outline and Debugging. I've got 100 page documents of outlines for particular game genres, and anytime I join a server the first thing I do is find ways to break the background, whether it be buy abusing numerals with decimals or negative integers or by playing with the void between map space.

I enjoy the INITIAL stages of the Graphics portion, where I create a general style and form for everything, but I get bored usually before I'm even finished animating. I have dozens of icon files that are just packs of different South states (though, from my perspective, they're all VERY pretty).
I like when everything is said and done. Nothing like a stable, working product to motivate the team.

Never, ever, ever leave your game broken and say you'll fix it tomorrow. Either revert back to a stable release or finish the job. If you leave the game broken you'll lose two months of development time or abandon the project altogether.
In response to SuperAntx
You forgot to put the late nights with cans and cans of soft drinks ;).
In response to SteelPole
I think that's just a sort of peripheral bonus to the task, like knowing where your coder lives so you can throw dead animals at his house until he gets back to work.
I'd separate graphics and maps if I were you.
There is a difference between making graphics and making a playable map.

Anyway, for me, I like a few things.
To some degree I like coding. But I dislike adding content.
I like making complex AI systems. I dislike entering tons of data for each monster that will use it.

I like designing maps. Hate adding graphics and keeping them organized though.

Also, I like playing around with sound effects. BYOND games don't make enough use of sound effects. But trying to get everything right (especially ambient sounds) is pretty awesome.
In response to The Magic Man
The Magic Man wrote:
I'd separate graphics and maps if I were you.
There is a difference between making graphics and making a playable map.

I disagree. BYOND maps sort of have this standard of being huge, flat, boring landscapes with repeating tiles and little meaningful content. People open up the map maker, set the map size to 1000x1000, then start plotting out huge square buildings and empty fields while only using six different icons. If you only have six icons you shouldn't be making huge game worlds.

Level design is about building ways for the player to use the tools they have. Unless you want every level to be the same you have to design them based on themes, something which relies heavily on artwork. If you built a lava dungeon you would probably use the lava as if it were a natural barrier. If it was an ice cavern you would build puzzles based on sliding floors and frozen doors.

Art should always be taken into consideration.
In response to SuperAntx
True. To make a variety of interesting maps, you do need a variety of graphics.

But the point I was trying to make is, graphics are not a map.
Good graphics do not automatically make a map good.
I've seen plenty of BYOND games with good graphics, better than anything I could make. But it seems, the more effort they put into making graphics, the less they put into making maps.

On my current project, I have been making the map for... 4 days now. It's not even half finished.
It probably took me less than 4 hours to make all the graphics in the game.
In response to The Magic Man
I didn't separate them because I think of DESIGNING the map and INTEGRATING the map as fundamentally different.

Designing the layout of the map, for me, fell under Outline. I also have a large number of map designs and how they overlay/underlay/parallel each other on top of my big design documents. The exact turfing and object placement isn't inherent, it's just a sort of skeleton, and it would be a combination of Graphics and Debugging that would decide whether or not I would change the initial design.

I set Mapping to Graphics under the assumption that the developer would create unique turfs and have some margin of skill for level design, and then maybe he would come to my house riding a flying unicorn and take me to the land of gum drops and rainbows, and we would eat cake and tell funny stories until the end of time.

Something like that.
In response to SuperAntx
You said in another topic "graphics don't make the game". Change of heart?
My favorite part is typing my name into the list of Game Masters.
For me? Remembering why I stopped developing my last project, giving up, and playing a good video game made by someone who knows what they are doing. Then again, that's not a part of most people's design cycle, just mine.
In response to SuperAntx
I personally have a USB Storage Device, a Secondary HDD, and my BYOND Membership file hosting.
Whenever I go into a project and complete a stable working version of the game, the code is saved with a version number, as well as a .txt document containing previous versions listing the changes/additions.
My only flaw is that before, I would delete any older versions but I'm going to be using my Second HDD a lot more now'a'days to keep every single working/stable version of projects I work on.

I just love designing a project. I am always full of ideals that generally, no one has integrated yet into a project.
I take these ideals and analyze them to fullest I can, thinking of possible loopholes, bugs, cons, pros, possibilities and how it'll be worked out and what it'll serve a purpose for.
I also love the part of Design where you read/watch players' reactions from playing something new that they haven't experienced yet on BYOND.
The feedback and comments are just enough to make my day.
Generally, I don't play any of the projects I work on.
Most of the time I look throughout BYOND, testing this and testing that game and thinking, "It's nothing too exciting. There's got to be better ways of doing this."

So, now'a'days I try to look at every/any BYOND game I actually do play besides Decadence (Because we all know I should stop playing that game), and think how it could be done better. Things like; No Verbs, Better Interaction, Physics, Server Efficiency, User Friendly, and Variety.
In response to Proteen
Proteen wrote:
You said in another topic "graphics don't make the game". Change of heart?

Graphics should be considered != Graphics are most important

herp derp
In response to SuperAntx
And for some games, graphics is their only saving grace.

But for me, tweaking the game itself is easier than making nice graphics.


My favorite part is getting the first version done, and then implementing new additions and versions later on. I like to always have something new for players to come back to.
In response to EGUY
That tactic rocks.

If you start off with a super duper detailed polished game and use up all your ideas, you'll have nothing to add on and make the game seem better later on.
In response to Proteen
If you do it right, it shouldn't take much to implement new things from the existing templates and then it's 90% thinking about what to add and 10% screwing with lines of code to make sure it works right.