Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 6

Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

Happy Valentine’s Week!

This week, for Producers on Team Ex-Robot/Premonition, is about developing our features list.  We also redo our game design docs for Bob and Jose now that we are making a different game.  They give us until Saturday, but we finish five pages by the end of Tuesday.  Artists Rachel Leiker and Kyle Chittenden work on mood boards and concept art, and come up with a logo for our team name (Retro Yeti) so we can use it on our upcoming social media and project blog.  The Engineers prototype the basic mechanic for Premonition.

We decide on a setting for the game, a hotel in the Swiss Alps, though the country may change.

I suggest some extreme 3D platforming to balance the premonition powers granted the player, but for now we are focusing on basic platforming puzzles for purposes of the prototype and industry panel review scheduled for early March.


We turn in rough drafts of our Level Design Documents.  I am very proud of the narrative and mechanics in my level, but since I plan to actually produce the title at some point, I will not provide details here.  Joseph Bourrie asks if I’ve thought about using this design for our thesis project.  It’s a great compliment, but unlikely to happen now that we’ve settled on Premonition and Button as our team’s finalists.

I am tempted to raise money and hire away team members from the other three projects to make my own thesis game, with permission of course.

In class, we talk about whether level editors should be built into game engines.  One disadvantage is engines change faster than level editors.

We receive a new assignment:  Pick a game.  Analyze methods the developers used to build its levels.  Email Joseph a 1 to 3 page breakdown by next Wednesday.

I tell Joseph about Hydra, a new game company not far from him that is making a game a week.  Two people I know work there, and I think he might enjoy working there after EA.


Bob and Jose focus again on the importance of being intentional in our design choices.  If we start with narrative, we should have a reason for it.  If we start with a mechanic, same thing.  Our design and development choices should reflect great design thinking and, as often as possible, considered selection between multiple options, not default decision making.

While narrative often changes during the design process, I believe team morale is higher when our collective vision is clear, and a “wow” narrative contributes to that.  We were never clear and on the same page on Robot, which is why we’ve switched to Premonition three weeks into the development process.  I think we all wish we’d made the choice a week or two faster!

In Corrinne’s class, we turn in two page setting descriptions.  We are to read each other’s descriptions by next week so we can discuss them and provide feedback.  We will also do two page documents relating to plot and character over the next two weeks.

Friday and Saturday.

I complete a course called How to Build a Startup on Udacity.  I strongly recommend it!

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