A lot of creators talk about their design processes, and since it's kind of a new thing to me, I wanted to write about this a little. I'm guessing I'll have more to say about it the farther along I get, so that's why this is a "part 1."
Most of the time when I do creative work, I do it on a whim. I'm still learning to create on a schedule and design in windows of time granted by my already busy schedule. I'll sit down and write a whole bunch and then leave it go or forget about it for a while.
There are two different methods by which I design: solo and collaboratively. We'll focus on solo for this post.
When I first started working on Clash, I wrote the whole thing in one big swoop and then came back to it and fiddled with it for a while later. This is how it tends to go when I work on my own. I will come up with an idea, basically blow my load, and then take forever to get back to it and really work on it and make it right. It's even harder when I add in an editorial process, which I think is the biggest challenge for me as a creator. It's not that I don't think my work needs to be edited - it does - it's that the editorial process exhausts me. I feel like I can't satisfy my editor or anyone giving me feedback. Every comment is like a cut. I'm getting better, but it's still a huge challenge.
I am also still learning how to effectively research. My current research process for projects involves about 10 open Chrome tabs, open books scattered across my desk, and using my phone to e-mail people for questions while I read. I never read other game books deeply while researching because I don't want to be too strongly influenced, but I skim and filter through for techniques and tools. I also read other people's analysis of game rules.
For me, designing is learning. I know I'm still a n00b and that it's going to continue to be challenging, but I think that I am making good progress. I'm hoping to have Clash as an ashcan at Origins and Gen Con, and soon thereafter take it to crowdfunding. While I'm doing that, we have continued work on Tabletop Blockbuster, and my larp, Girls' Slumber Party WOO!
Next time I'll write a little about the differences between designing a froofy story game like Clash, a more traditional style game like Tabletop Blockbuster, and a larp like Girls' Slumber Party WOO!
Please comment with questions! I like to discuss this kind of thing with my readers. Tell me about your game design process - link me to any blog posts you have done about this subject!