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Open Game Design Challenge: Design Difficulty for a Restaurant Game

In need of a creative break? GameCareerGuide is welcoming professional developers to submit short text-based ideas to its Game Design Challenge. This week’s challenge, which closes Wednesday night, is to come up with a video game concept about runni
More than half of all new restaurants fail within three years of opening – and often much sooner than that. How would that kind of difficulty adapt into a video game? That’s the Game Design Challenge facing GameCareerGuide.com readers this week, who comprise students studying game development and other aspiring game-makers. GameCareerGuide is inviting professional developers to submit short text-based ideas to this week’s challenge about coming up with a video game concept about running a restaurant. The focus of the challenge is to zero in on the difficulty settings, explaining why and how difficulty should work for a game that’s still meant to be fun but should also show players just how hard it is to achieve success in the food service industry. Here are some specifics of the challenge, written by Manveer Heir, a game designer at Raven Software, and Jill Duffy, editor of GameCareerGuide: “Design a game based around running a restaurant. It might be about running the entire restaurant. It might deal with only the kitchen or only the wait staff. It might deal with only devising a menu that will stand out and be successful in a neighborhood that’s filled with other restaurants. Your game can focus on some or all of the restaurant business. But most importantly, we want you to think about which elements of game design and game play are most like operating a business. The key is to not only make the game fun and interesting, but also to introduce the concept of difficulty that shows how hard it is to run a restaurant. If half of all new restaurants fail, it's because it's difficult to turn a profit. We don't want to see half of players fail, but we would like to see a harder than normal difficulty for a game like this. Your job is to explain the high-level mechanics of how the game plays (no story is necessary) and explain how the player wins or loses at this game. Don't forget to explain what part of the restaurant business you are focusing on and where the difficulty in playing the game will come from!” Submissions should be sent to [email protected] with the subject line "Design Challenge: Restaurant Game." Please type your answer directly in the email body. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title, and try to keep your answers to 500 words or fewer. Entries must be submitted by midnight (PST) Wednesday, February 18, 2009. For more about this Game Design Challenge and others, or for more introductory information about becoming a game developer, visit GameCareerGuide. (P.S. Don't make a Diner Dash clone.)

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