Sunday, 9 February 2014

The UnPublished Game Designer's Blog: Attitude

Greetings friends!

I'm back with another jump into the mind of your friendly neighbourhood unpublished game designer's mind !

Today we're talking about one of the most important part of how I have gone about working with CRYPTS: A Weird West Dungeon Crawler.


So perhaps this is something that should have come before the previous Concept post, but regardless it's coming here.

So what is Attitude? To me Attitude is all about how you go into the design process, but how you carry on during the process. Of course it would carry on beyond, but as I have yet to complete works, I can not commit on that at this stage.

So what is my attitude? Why did I decide to try and create my own game?

Well it's simple really. I've played in the past a number of games that fall under the 'Dungeon Crawl' genre, but they were all lacking something. I couldn't really pin on what it was, but it was there; some missing 'X' factor that stopped the game being what I would describe as awesome for me.

Now this is important. I am not saying the games I played were not great games. I enjoyed playing them, but for me they were just shy of being awesome.

Now we move to a couple of years ago, and I've looked into modern games; Descent, Pathfinder, modern DnD etc and none of these got me enough to actually shell out cash for.

This is why I began work on my own game. Make something that I personally would want to play. This was the entire pretence of the beginning.

Of course let us go back to how CRYPTS began; as the definitive Dungeon Crawl supplement for Malifaux by Wyrd Miniatures. Why do it this way? Why not just start off with my own rule set and ideas?

This is simple actually: Confidence.

I had never designed a game before, I didn't know if anyone would like any of my ideas or if I would even like it once I got it onto the table. By working as a game supplement I am removing the need to create a ground work. Essentially I am being a lazy developer and letting Wyrd Miniatures do the hard work while I go and have fun.
- Is that so bad? The original style of game was never going to be something I could actually bring to print professionally, it would be a lot of work and the end result would just be in the 'in house' games my friends and I played. You know, like most hobbies.

But I hit a few walls. You see I played the game both online and in person, yet it was missing something, some sort of 'X' factor. While I would never put myself in the same category as the great devs behind games like D&D and Descent, I had fallen short of my goal in the same way they had fallen short of making a game that I truly loved.

This was when I played Diablo3 on PC and I saw what my hand was missing: Fast & Brutal combat!

It was simple really, the basic combat mechanics of Malifaux while being great for a skirmish game were too long and complex for my dungeon crawler.

What does all this have to do with attitude?
Ok that's a fair question and needs to be addressed.

You see when it came to stop working in the previous game and creating my own base rules I knew I had to do something with the original rule set that I had created.

Now is when attitude came into it. You see all along I had been working on a game for me, something that I would enjoy. But to get there I had enlisted the aid of friends and fellow hobbyists who had all given their time and aid freely and asked for nothing in return.

This was no longer about me, this was about us.

The original game supplement, while being something I had worked on and had reached a point where I no longer wanted to work on it, it was not my game. It was our game. Which is why I uploaded it to my Dropbox and still to this day roughly 6-8 months later it's still there.


And so the ground work for CRYPTS began. I knew the formula I wanted to work on: Fast&Brutal. Something that players would play by the seat of their pants, but it would be low impact requiring little thought but maximum enjoyment, but I knew I still couldn't leave that history behind.

You see, I don't think I can ever fully express how grateful I am to the people who got the game to where it was when I started out on CRYPTS and I knew I had to do something to immortalise these people.

Enter Project: Legacy. An attempt at increasing the ease of access for the game while paying homage to those who got the game where it is now. Of course this part of the game is still incomplete as perhaps the most important person who helped me with my work has yet to be shown in this. Fingers crossed I can get the go ahead from them soon.

But you see this is why attitude is so important in game design. If you start plowing ahead as the 'head designer' treating everyone around you; a). Like idiots and b). Like they owe you something, then sooner or later they are going to turn around, give you the finger and say "F&£K YOU!"

I know because I've been dangerously close to doing it myself on a couple of occasions.


I suppose that is what attitude really comes into it.

You may get into game design because it's something you love, for your game so that you can become rich by designing the next 40k, Monopoly or Settlers game but you have to remember that you're talking to and dealing with people who at either giving their free time or worse, their money to help you reach your lofty goal.

You see, when it comes to the end of my time on this world, if the only legacy I have left to be remembered by is the game CRYPTS, then I seriously hope that those who remember it and play it remember it's creator as someone who made the game not just for himself, but for those around him, that the spirit if the game doesn't belong to him, but instead it belongs to everyone who helped build the game and everyone who has played and will play the game itself.

That is attitude, and it's something that no amount of game theory or design studies can teach.


I hope you've enjoyed the second part of my feature. With hope I can bring you more in due course.

As always if you want to be a part of the closed testing of CRYPTS: A Weird West Dungeon Crawl then you can apply via email: and twitter: @doctorloxley

Stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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