So, how does one design a game exactly? Well, the creative process starts with an idea, of course; once you have that idea, it’s time to start fleshing it out. My first idea was to create a race of winged horses—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The traditional winged horse is a pegasus, but do I really want to go that route? Maybe, or maybe I could expand it to other types of wings as well, like bat or dragon-type wings and insect—think butterfly and dragonfly—wings.
So, having decided that, where would they live? I could make a world similar to Earth, like author Anne McCaffrey did for her Dragonriders of Pern series, but I don’t really bend that way; instead, I decided to make it an oceanic world of silver water, dotted with living islands of green and blue, covered in turquoise moss. Blue sun, grey skies, silver rain, navy blue or dark forest green rock, charcoal snow (proper seasons, unlike where I live in Alberta—proper spring for a few months, slowly transitioning from cool to hot summers, glorious fall colours, mild winters). Kind of a flip from earth in terms of colours, kinda not... have I mentioned that my favourite colour is blue? Vegetation—I mentioned turquoise moss, and decided to base all greenery—or should I say turquoiserey—on said moss. What I mean by that is that this moss will form trees and other vegetation in addition to being ground cover.
Fauna—winged horses, of course, and for the islands dotting this water world, giant living turtle islands; these equines live in herds just like any other Earth-bound horse, the only difference being that they can fly. Opposing these flying equines are packs of winged wolves, and winged cats in groups, in pairs, or by themselves; the idea is herd life with all its safety, responsibilities, and challenges. But that’s not just what a game is right? A game will have quests, or puzzles, or some other kind of device to move the plot and your character along in the story. So, where do we go from here?
So, I’m a fan of puzzle games like Myst for its mind-challenging puzzles, and World of Warcraft Online for its role-playing, community based online gameplay; this does tie in, I promise. So, what do you think my game design would be? Well, I’d like it to have puzzles, like Myst, and role-playing communities like Warcraft... but I also want it to be educational, maybe even curriculum-type. Puzzles, interaction, education in the form of a game... hmm... what if we make the puzzles school subject-based, and make some of them require more heads than one to solve? Yes, that might work.
So, now that we have an idea of game structure, characters, environment, etc, what next? Concept art is the first step to fleshing out the visual design parts of a game, followed by 3D modelling in a game engine program like Maya. Background textures are created in a graphics program like Photoshop, and imported into the game engine. After that comes the rigging and animation process.
Games should be engaging, otherwise they won’t sell; that is, after all, the point of this exercise. What better way to go about educating than to incorporate the teaching into a piece of entertainment such as this? If you start them off with a love of learning young, they will continue to love learning as they grow up, so I can’t see a better reason than that.