Don’t undervalue high level development tools, try PuzzleScript.
Written by Lorenzo Pigozzo on March 26th, 2014
PuzzleScript: A Perfect Approach to Game Design
Brace yourselves, metaphor in the next sentence. It just seems to me that the game creation process as a whole shares lots with the way religions developed. I see game designers as prophets, technical developers as priests and audience as church-goers. Prophets have the vision, priests codify it in a ritual so that church-goers can enjoy and make theirs original prophets’ vision. This said I want to add that this division is way more blurred when you work in a small independent team. The three phases of design, develop and test start to happen all at once, and your role can change in the time span of a day several times. You can have a vision, prototype it and test it all alone many times.
The problem I often meet is that sometimes my priest role take over my prophet role and almost always they both cover the importance of the church-goer role. Importance that, by the way, I see equal among the three, a good game needs a good design, a good development and a good testing, miss one and you don’t have a good game, that’s granted.
Some days ago I was playing around with a high level tool called PuzzleScript (here), with this tool and some hours of perfectionism you can iterate lot of ideas and make your own puzzle game. The great thing is that every single phase is handled at high level, the little of programming necessary you do it with a simple and intuitive syntax, you draw pixel-art sprites defining a colour palette and assigning to single pixels a value. The PuzzleScript limitations are the best things to keep you focused on what is crucial to the puzzle game you’re making.
I must admit, I always undervalue high level development tools, that’s a mistake of mine. Using PuzzleScript you can learn a lot about development, design and production, maybe not on the technical side, maybe you won’t learn how to use delegates in C# or whatever, but you’ll end up being a better designer.
You can find my little PuzzleScript game called Autem Diabolicum here, give it a try, it’s very small but I’ve had lots of fun doing it!