One of the big things we've been working on this year is our new role-playing game. We're going to release it in March of 2012. We've been working on it all year this year. While we're at the end of the process (including playtesting), we thought we'd let you in on our process that seems to have taken shape in developing our role-playing games. With WyshMaykers and this new one almost under our belt, a definite best practice and process has been solidified.
*** The Overall Flow ***
Making a game is basically like running a project in an office job, only more fun. You come up with your requirements, you determine your resources, you delegate or hire whatever it is you need to make the dream happen, and you work a lot on the follow-through of the plan. Beyond that, it is just details.
*** The Requirements ***
The primary requirements for any role-playing game can be simplified into 6 basic things: The game system, the setting, the art, the flavor text, the format(s), and the playtesting/editing. Sometimes there are a few extra considerations, but most stuff falls into those six.
*** The Resources *** The next thing is the Resources. We're small fish, and the only money we use to fund our games (for now) is money made on previous games. One day we may do a kickstarter project, but for now, what we have works for what we want to do. That being said, we have a limited pool of resources we trust and use. Primarily, we do everything in-house. Aaron does the art (he's getting better, honest) and the first pass of most of the writing. Stephanie does some of the writing and the (brutal) editing. Everyone (Aaron, Stephanie, family, friends, and whatnot) helps in the playtesting, with Stephanie being the lynch-pin in the process. So, beyond the sweat-equity put into our games, there are very little outside resources.
*** Making it Happen *** Once we know what we want and know who's working on what, we begin the longest part of the process, making it happen. It usually comes in phases with the rule being made (or altered), a quick playtest using a skeleton of the Setting, then Setting writing and flavor-text writing happens (with playtesting going on during the writing to flesh out things). Then an artless 1st draft is reviewed for editing. Then, the art begins to get drawn while more playtesting comes about. And Finally, the cover and the art are placed in the book with the final editing comments. All the while, we are making sure we stick to the core idea of the plan, and make sure we follow-through on the original plan. Quite franly, we'll probably do an entire post about this later.
*** The Release *** After all the work is done, we finally release the product on the date specified by the project plan. This is the fun part. It is great to see the sales come in, the comments on the boards, and even do a little promotion of the product. It is also in this part of the game that we look for ideas and things that people want to see next in the line or as a supplement.