The last Game Design was to create a dice game, and during the process of making my dice game. I certainly experienced why “Fail Faster” is essential for game design.
The first brainstorming idea I had came from Jesse Schell’s comment of balance between skill and randomness during lecture. I thought that a dice shuffleboard game would definitely require players’ skill to play well but the game would also depends on randomness from the dice. And I thought that would be exactly what I wanted and I decided to give it a go. I first thought about making the whole thing physical but I settled down the idea pretty late so I did not have enough time to design all the parts I needed for play-testing. I decided to go for craziness and made the game digital in Unity.
Everything felt very good in my mind until I actually made the game. I certainly didn’t realize the biggest “marshmallow” (obstacle) I would face would be the digital format. I could not get the depth from a flat screen so there was no way for me to actually accomplish the shuffleboard feeling and I could not get the collier to work and it was just so hard to simulate the magical feeling of rolling a dice in the digital world. Besides, as mentioned in the previous post, after conducting couple play-tests. The results from the play-testing were astonishing as well. And one comments from the play-test made me to decide this was a failure: “Why would you throw a dice? I feel like the dice doesn’t play an important role in the game that you could replace the dice with anything.” That is very true, why would I throw a dice knowing that the result would change from time to time.
(Try the game at: http://tianweiliu.net/dice if you would like. Unity Web plugin is required.)
However, failing is not a bad thing. I still have one more week to go and I was very glad that I realized it was a failure sooner than I usually do and I did not put any more time on a failed idea. I have plenty of time to restart from the ground up with all the lessons I learnt and make sure I would not do it again. A week later, I had a Human vs Zombie board game. And by the time I heard “This game is fun.” from the play-testers, I knew I did it better than the previous one.
I never thought of failing would be a positive thing and I never thought about failing faster would be so essential in game design. But the fact is, nobody would know that I had failed and it would only be a failure if I did not realize how bad my idea was that soon or at all.