[POLL] HOW MUCH “PLANNING” OR “PREPPING” DO YOU DO BEFORE STARTING YOUR GAME(S)?

Poll

Be Honest! God Is Watching! - Results

I plan the WHOLE thing (graphics, sprites, tilesets, etc.) before even touching anything.
14
12%
I plan enough to know what I’m doing before starting.
53
48%
I just prep a few things for about a day or two and get right to work!
15
13%
I just do things as I roll along and worry about all that other stuff later.
19
17%
Planning???
8
7%

Posts

(I was joking. See above)

For me it was a mix. The pre-plan was maybe 1-3 pages one-sided, where I just wrote out the plot, and summed up the characters. And then every week, I said, this is what I wanna work on. And I wrote up a plan.

I posted an initial idea, which was rejected, and tried again like after 3 years, when the game was pretty much done.
author=thatbennyguy
Pardon if I'm being offensive, but it seems like a lot of the people that plan every little detail of their game before starting have never finished projects :P


Hey, perfectly understandable, bud; you speak from experience.

For developers who have had a lot of game making experience and have actually finished a project -- or worked around in a few for quite sometime with moderate success -- planning can actually be a GODSEND somewhere down the road instead of having to go back multiple points in time during the developmental process and bog the game's production time down by fixing things that could have been avoided in the long run.

On the other hand, sometimes you just need to start the bloody game and hope for the best. I mean, you can always fix & adjust things as you go along. And even if you run into a problem, it will always take you probably the same amount of time as you would with a normal planning process.

I guess, in the end, it all depends on the developer sense of comfort when moving forward with a project. I always like planning a project the best I can due to past experience and failures when dealing with this. But I also recognize that those who have had the best success end up just starting the game. Regardless, the end road will always be the same: You either fail or succeed; it's up to you.

(BTW, I just realized something, here: I've finally made a decent topic that hasn't imploded on itself, yet! :D



THIS CALLS FOR A CELEBRATION!!!
I usually start with an idea for a mechanic, and make that work with no underlying game first. Often I end up with no game to support it, but I usually try to be sure whatever I made will be useful in later games, too.
I'm in between the first and second choices. I do a lot of planning for story, characters, setting, and system, but I rarely plan the use of resources before beginning, unless there's a specific song which inspired something, or I want to make sure I have the nessecary resources to make the kind of map I want.

That said, I have planned about 3 times more games than I have worked on, and about 20 times more than I've finished...I have a hard time finishing my projects...
I wish there was an option for "I plan out the entire plot before I even seriously consider what the main character looks like."

If I'm going to make a game, I want to know basically how it will play, how it will differentiate itself from other games, and what the basic "theme" of the story is. After I do that, then the next step is quite literally mapping out and figuring out what the entire plot will be. I basically make a skeleton of my game in terms of gameplay, general areas, plot points, beginning, ending, middle, and everything in between, and then use whatever game making software or programming engine I'm using to put meat on the bones I've laid out.

Maybe it's a bit inefficient in some respects, but I like to know that whatever physical hard resources I collect specifically for the use of that game will be used, and where those resources will be used.
InfectionFiles
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
4622
I think a lot about my games when not at home or at work and knowing my limitations I can pretty much plan out exactly what i want to do, and do it.
I dont go to great lengths to fully plan everything out because I feel you get too swept up and will make unrealistic goals for yourself.
Plan for what you have to and take it slow is my advice.
As of my most recent project, I write out the entire story and figure out everything that I want in the database (characters, items, abilities, enemies) before I even open RPG Maker. It's a rewarding way to do things, as all I really have to do is map stuff out and slap in dialogue that already exists in my head, I don't have to think up anything as I go other than sudden ideas for side quests and such.
In addition to that kind of planning that UPRC mentioned, I also like to have an accompanying "prototyping" project - to see if the ideas I am coming up with are technically feasible and compatible.
I'm about to consider work on a new game.

I wrote up the sections I was gonna include, the basic concept, and started work making the basic chapters. I'll probably weed these if some seem too hard to make.

I recently read a book at my brother's. I'm gonna recommend it to everyone here. It's called Rework, and you should buy it from amazon. It's about how the fundamental mistake small scalers do is trying to be professional when they actually need to be personable, and balance taking criticism with pandering, by keeping in mind their vision. And it makes it clear that it's one thing to write notes, but having an idea is not much worth if you can't put it quickly into a project. It also said it's better to have a half finished demo, than a half-assed complete game, and that it's better to have worked for something 2 hr than 16 hr straight.


Back then, when I was still making stuff, I never planned much. I just kinda went with the flow and wanted to get something I could lay my eyes on.

These day, when I'm not making anything really, all I do is plan.

*shucks* ... neither of these really get the results I'd want :/


anyways, as far as RPGs go, I think everyone should at least plan some kind of skeleton for the story. At the very least where you want the story to go.
TehGuy
Resident Nonexistence
1827
I somewhat plan and roll with it at the same time.

I'll open up RPG Maker, be like "this is what I want to do", make a semi-mock-up of it, get whatever the hell I need (be it scripts, tilesets, etc) and then go with it.

Frankly, I'm just trying to get past this phase before I get a little too far in development. I really don't want to have to change hundreds of lines in various events because of one little thing (like letting the player name the character. Now I get to switch out every name tag ).

author=0range00
anyways, as far as RPGs go, I think everyone should at least plan some kind of skeleton for the story. At the very least where you want the story to go.

many times yes. This made so many things easier for me compared to the first time I made a game in developed a game in opened RPG Maker XP :p
author=0range00
Back then, when I was still making stuff, I never planned much. I just kinda went with the flow and wanted to get something I could lay my eyes on.

These day, when I'm not making anything really, all I do is plan.

*shucks* ... neither of these really get the results I'd want :/


anyways, as far as RPGs go, I think everyone should at least plan some kind of skeleton for the story. At the very least where you want the story to go.

This is pretty much how I feel. I used to write as I developed back in the day, and now I'm very meticulous about the whole idea. I have several different design documents and I'm working on everything in isolation: piecing together a tech demo, working on a script on the side, and eventually spriting things. It'll seem a lot like I'm still planning/prepping until I start putting things together.

I guess now I'm erring more on the side of overkill and leaving no room for spontaneity, it's hard to strike a balance though.
Normally I don't do much planning, but I see where that has gotten me in the past, with unfinished games and stuff. I am going into extreme depth with my next game(well, not extreme depth. I still don't do menus, make graphics(Dad told me a way that really confuses me...I mean, just HORRIBLY confusing idea), or do battle systems. Especially with 2K3. Maybe VX, but not SK3 whatsoever.
Still, that's not the point of this. I am just planning my game out to extremes, or as much as I can without going insane. I'm not screwing up this time!
First, I randomly decide "I'm gonna make a game!"
Next, I make a map named START.
After that, find some random scripts I like.
Then I just start making a story from scratch and just pull everything
from nowhere and stuff happens. About 80 % of the games last a week and then
get deleted.

I even made a game called "The Horse Puncher"
if you wanna try it, it has a website, not just for the game though.
http://thehorsepuncher.webs.com/
This topic seems like something I've seen many times before...

My opinion on planning is that you need to have an extremely organized system of variables before you start your game to make programming your CBS and CMS easier (if you choose to make them). A disorganized database of variables will make programming hell for you later.

I personally think planning anything else can be a big problem. In my experience, thinking of an amazing plot takes a lot of time, so if you try to do that before starting, then you're delaying getting started and wasting a lot of time. More crucially, I find that in anything creative, once you start concretely filling-in some details, the next idea will come. So if you just begin making all of your maps and dropping named NPC's into them, you can start writing some dialogue involving the NPC's, and the dialogue you make-up will evolve into facts and back story. Then you're not writing plot in the vacuum of an empty universe, you're writing it in a world that already exists with characters that already have personalities and stories; that makes it a lot easier to make the next connection or think of the next idea by jumping-off of the previous detail you filled-in. My experience with writing lyrics is the same -- it is harder to abstractly plan the entire song at once than it is to start writing the beginning, and then letting what you've written lead you to the next detail, and just keep writing the next thing as a reaction to the previous thing. Once you have a fairly unremarkable first draft of your RPG, it becomes a lot easier to change details to make them amazing. For instance, once you've established a certain symbolism or motif in the game, you can go back and edit the dialogue in ways to incorporate the motif. When it comes to scripts / stories / rpg's, I find it a lot easier to write mediocrity and edit it into greatness than it is to just pull something perfect right out of a void.
I plug in my headphones, put on relevant music, and go for a walk. Whether it's around the neighborhood, or around my house in circles. I generally conceive the "feel" of everything I need, that way.

I also enjoy planning the basic structure of the plot on word, where each "area", or dungeon, or character would be a paragraph of bullet-points, and I'd go along retconning this, changing that, making it up.

At the moment, since I'm slowly trying to figure out how to use "RPGmaker VX Ace Lite"... I actually haven't started my game, although I have a general idea and basic concept; the hard part is figuring out the animation sequences, and then figuring out how to do an opening video/menu for the game.

In a way, I am kind of just a super noob at this and I haven't the slightest clue what I am doing; but with enough help from others, I might actually create the game that I have always dreamed of.
As a game designer (rather than game developer), I usually only plan games without even making them. Those plans are usually very detailed and at the very least in my head I even have all the graphics / regions / settings planned out. But more important than planning that out is usually planning the battle system and remaining gameplay and creating the perfect strategy and balance.
Seiromem
I would have more makerscore If I did things.
6375
Who needs planning when you can have "spontaneous decision making"?
I have found that games I try to plan everything eout before I start, I tire of, since I have nothing new to come up with, and tehrefore nothing fun to look forward to.
This leads to loads of plotholes, but fairly interesting enviroments and I've actually finished every game I make without much planning beforehand.