Michael McCollough and Don McGreal ran a valuable workshop on how to create your own game. Mike and Don have been creating simple, fun games for years and have noticed an approach they follow. See TastyCupcakes for lots of great games. As a caveat, they outline one particular style of game development – simple games. This is in contrast with complex games such as XPGame and Business Value Game (which are favourites of mine).
It all starts with a problem. What do you notice going wrong? What do you want your teams to understand better?
Next come your objectives. Pick one to three things that you want the game players to learn. For extra points you may want to consider the Dreyfus model or Bloom’s taxonomy. These were suggested by attendees. Mike and Don keep it simple.
For a while you will need to spin and loop around as you search for an idea. As this happens, it is helpful to be constrained by some principles: stick to objectives and keep it simple (KISS). Inspiration will come from material (cards, balloons, etc), as well as games in other industries. Their mantra is “Beg, borrow, steal” and them make it your own. Learn from your participants – they will tell you a lot if you listen.
Finally, summon the courage to try it (or just do it). Start as soon as possible and iterate.
And remember, the whole point is the debrief. Give ‘em space and let ‘em discover.
(This is part of a series on DeepAgile 2010 Games Weekend).