I’ve tried to sit down and blog about the deeper issues I’ve seen in game design a fair few times now. Unfortunately, it tends to wind up being a fair bit more difficult than I first anticipate. You see, a game design isn’t words or concepts in my mind, it’s a motion or a sound.
How do you explain to someone that their problem is that the world isn’t evoking enough movement? That their not stepping right or left, but instead sort of shakily swaying from one side to the other. Could you possibly tell them that their idea of progress is flawed because you can’t feel the beat or hear the bass in it?
What if their story was good, but too rigid, it didn’t bend and sway with the rythme of their design. The main characters don’t tango and the enemies don’t jive. Or their final boss lacks the heart of a crescendo and carries all the built up tension of a Yankee Doodle Dandee performance.
Sometimes the way the characters move is fundamentally at odds with the design’s accomponyment, creating this feeling of watching a slow waltz to swing music. But even more important than the animations, do the characters progress through fights at the right timing? Is a small encounter a couple beats or another note drawn out too long until the voice of the game begins to crack?
Maybe it will get easier some day, when I have a proper taxonomy for what I’m trying to say.