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Video: Turning a good idea into a good game

Playdom designer Eric Todd looks back on the development of Gardens of Time, and outlines how his team had to overcome four major issues to turn a clever game idea into a successful game.
According to Gardens of Time creator Eric Todd, even the best game ideas are inherently flawed. The Playdom veteran has been working on games for well over a decade, and he's found that good game design isn't just about trying to bring ideas to life -- it's about figuring out what's wrong with them. Todd learned that firsthand while working on Playdom's Gardens of Time, and at last year's GDC Online, he explained that the title never would have become a hit hidden object game if he and his team hadn't identified some major flaws in its initial concept. "Ideas are the easy part," Todd explained. "Getting from a good idea to something that's actually good is what's hard." And he believes that holds true for any game design idea. No matter how good your concept might be, it will never result in a good game unless you can figure out what's wrong with it from the beginning. Todd said, "This is the single most common cause of project failure: Not identifying and resolving critical issues that were there from the very start – they're sort of icebergs for your own personal Titanic." Throughout his presentation, Todd outlined the four major "icebergs" that threatened Gardens of Time, and explained how he and his team avoided them to create one of Facebook's most popular titles. You can see for yourself how it all came together by checking out the full video of Todd's talk, courtesy of the GDC Vault.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC and GDC Europe already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription Beta via a GDC Vault inquiry form. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can send an email to Gillian Crowley. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins. Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from upcoming 2012 events like GDC Online and GDC China. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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