GCG Feature: 'Proven Preliminary Planning Points'

In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, veteran creative director Wes Jenkins explains the steps that go into planning game c
In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, veteran creative director Wes Jenkins explains the steps that go into planning game concepts, from analysis of the competition and the game market, to the creation of development documents. Jenkins explains in his introduction the importance of approaching the creative process properly, in an effort to convince a non-creative that your idea is worth investing in: "There are about as many theories on the best way to approach creative development as there are games themselves. It's safe to assume that these opinions on the process worked for the people who wrote them and for the games that have already been developed but, a formula to creativity is dangerous not to mention repetitively redundant. There is, however, a difference between formula and strategy. Strategy allows you to invent, to wander off a forced and defined path when necessary... but I'm getting way ahead of myself with enthusiasm so let me calm down and we'll start again from the very beginning. Getting ahead of yourself, by the way, should be one of your first concerns. One of the more popularly recommended first-steps is to start out with a good idea. Everyone has one. The articulation and the presentation of your idea can dramatically effect product acceptance or product rejection. After X amount of years, I finally accept the statement that there are no bad ideas- just bad presentations. Every idea has some value; whether it serves as a springboard to other ideas by opening discussion or as a part of a bigger idea; no ideas are wasted. Good ideas, by the way, rarely come about without resistance or conflict of some kind. Some have even noted that it's the friction that makes the idea manifest. I'm pointing this out because often times having a good idea, a new idea makes people uncomfortable. It creates risk. The by-product is often: fear and defense. To be creative- to be paid to be creative is extremely exciting but it isn't really all fun and games. By introducing a new idea you are essentially challenging the status quo to consider something new and that doesn't happen very easily... not without a battle or two but as with most battles, you need to use strategy and/or diplomacy to solve the conflict. The challenge is being able to coerce less or even non-creative decision makers, publishers and bosses to take a chance and spend money on something that they may not be able to conceptualize but that will be needed and wanted tomorrow. We will now examine the creative process from an ideal perspective. Most companies will rush over certain steps only to return to complete them out of sequence. There's an old expression about hanging the drapes before the house is built." You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature to learn more about marketing by culture, and the importance of communicating your idea through creative briefs (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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