Part of being a designer is being inspired by the games we play. I have met designers that feel discouraged because they play a game that really fits their designer mind and they don’t think they could design the game any better. I don’t think designers should worry about published games that are similar to the projects they are working on.
I think situations like this are an opportunity for designer to bring their own style to the party. I look at published games as a starting point for similar ideas and use them as guideposts for what works. I like to play the games that are similar to my ideas and figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I think about what I would change and I make mental notes of what I want to do with our game. I am not saying designers should look to make a second edition of the published game. Nor am I saying that designers should look to “fix” what they think is wrong with the published game. I still think designers should strive to be different enough with their projects.
What I am saying, is that designers should use the published game as inspiration and a guidepost to help them work through their own idea. This is an opportunity for designers to let their creativity shine.
Have you come across a game that was similar to a game you were working on? For us, it is Space Cadets. We had a rough idea to build a co-op space game and two months later, Space Cadets was released. We told each other, if we wanted to design a space co-op game, that is what we would want to design. Slowly we have been working on our own space co-op game and hope to make it a primary project soon.
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If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We are thinking about starting a regular Google hangout with other designers. We can try to design a game together, we can talk about designers we are working on, you can ask us questions. We can make it whatever we want. What we really want to do is get to know the people that are willing to read all the way to the bottom of our posts. Please contact Chris on Twitter or send him an email and if we are able to get a minimal amount of interest, we can work on putting something together.