Alumni Reports

Started by Jonathan Walton, April 04, 2012, 02:33:41 PM

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Jonathan Walton

Our fifth alumni report was posted this morning and we have at last 5 more in various stages of being ready for release. Personally, I think it's been fun to reconnect with chefs who've participated in past years and get a glimpse of what's happened with their games, but I might be too close to it.

Since there haven't been many comments on those threads so far (just Daniele!) I'm wondering what people think of them. Are they helpful? Did you learn about a new game or feel like you got some good advice from a fellow chef? What questions do you wish I had asked (there's still more coming, so I can try to add new questions in)?

To recap, the alumni reports so far have been:

March 31: Durance
April 01: Never To Die
April 02: Serpent's Tooth
April 03: The Trouble with Rose
April 04: The Play's The Thing


I absolutely love the alumni reports.

A question that I was curious about is how the designers knew the game was worth developing - what set it apart from other ideas they may have had.

Ben Lehman

I can answer that -- sorta.

A lot of my games come out of contests. Polaris was my first major game, and came out of Game Chef 2004.

I knew I needed to develop the game because I fell in love with it. I know it's weird to talk about it like that, but that was absolutely what it felt like: some sort of bizarre, intense infatuation. This game was fantastic, it was great, and it felt like it _wanted_ to be finished in an intense way.

It didn't hurt that I had a draft, right there, waiting to playtest.

It took me a year and a half to actually get it together to release, but completely worth it.


Nathan P.

Yah, it's a really squishy process for me. There's usually a tipping point, where noodling around becomes either "this isn't worth continuing" or "this needs to happen". Contests are cool because they force me past that noodling around part, where I can look at a complete thing and feel whether it needs to happen or not.

My big contest-game-that-needed-to-happen was carry, and a lot of that was folks from that years Game Chef (2005) who gave me really positive feedback and encouraged (or demanded) that I finish the game. It took about a year and a half for me, too. So that's the artist answer.

I have another answer, too! Recently I've been going back and looking at a lot of my contest games and seeing which ones have something interesting to offer, even if they're not robust enough to be a full-on book production project. Those are turning into my microgame series, which is a really interesting process. These game are less "I need to exist" and more "I contain a couple of cool ideas, I'm totally worth playing once or twice," and I'm making a commercial decision to make them available in a low-cost, accessible format to present those ideas. Some of my contest games, unfortunately, don't contain any cool ideas that are worth pushing out. But the benefit of finishing a draft for a contest is so that you can reflect on it later and have a whole thing to look at!
Nathan P.
Find Annalise
I design | ndp design
I blog | Games, Design & Game Design
I tweet | @ndpaoletta


Thank you Mr. Walton for the "Alumni Reports": you give spotlight to really interesting games, and reading about their curious developing after Game Chef makes the thing even more intriguing. You made me totally curious about some of them ;)
Nice work!