Hey guys I wanted to discuss the mantra in the GDD. I noticed the GDD has gone over a few changes and there was mention that Tim ruswick at Game dev underground reviewed it as well. So i wanted to go over the changes and look into whats new. A few things popped out at me with the mantra though and i felt it was at least worth bringing it up to your guy's attention.
Im a little nervous over the fact that tim looked over the GDD and didnt point it out because Im almost certain I first heard this from him. But unfortunately since that time he has had so much more content i was unable to locate the footage maybe one of you may have watched it and will recall what im saying.
The current mantra is as follows "A real time strategy (RTS) game similar to Rise Of Nation that is semi realistic / arcadish but has a cartoonist low poly look and we are trying to gear this towards causal and hardcore player by using ranked vs normal area divided. This game will be a continuous content feature driven game that we will continue to support going forward."
- I have a few concerns. All i have ever heard before was warnings against using a games title in your "mantra" or "pitch". For sake of ease ill refer to it as "mantra" since thats what the GDD refers to it as. The reason for this i feel is that there are an impossibly large amount of games out there. Chances are the person you are giving your mantra too will not have played your game. this could be for multiple reasons but simply comes down to the fact there are too many games out there. Now you can get away with this sometimes if you refer to obvious giants but even then i would recommend against this.
- I have some examples to show that im not just assuming things but come from a stance that i have heard this from the mouths of people in the industry. Unfortunatly i actually had a really hard time finding information out there on this topic maybe it was in how i worded my search terms but i did find some information and i will like and quote the articles.
I did however find TONS of information on the topic of understanding your products well enough where we should HAVE to use the titles of names.
- In this example "This is ‘make or break’ time for your pitch. You have avoided jargon in your opening pitch and described how the game will affect players – now it’s time to prove to listeners why your game is better than those in your niche. Using the example of an F2P MOBA game again, you need to tell the listener what makes your game stand out from other MOBA games. Don’t name drop other games in your genre (in this example, League of Legends or DOTA 2) as the listener will automatically compare your game to the titans of your genre and simply see you as someone that is trying to mimic their success, thus becoming instantly uninterested."
It doesnt really prove the point im trying to make in that it has the opposite effect. That by mentioning another game it might actually have a negative influence over the person your speaking to rather than a positive one. We can avoid these comparisons altogether both in this by simply explaining the mechanics themself. Instead of saying its similer to dota but instead.... you would say traditional 5v5 combat on a diverse 3 lane map that you could bring a deck of cards into battle....If that makes any sense.
So we provide a clear explanation of the mechanics in our game without confusing or misinterpreting to the listener.
- "Know your product. This is salesmanship 101 stuff but missed all too often. Everyone from your team presenting the pitch should know every aspect of what the game is going to be about, even if that isn't part of their area of expertise. This is important because it tells the publisher -- even on a subconscious level -- that the team knows the game and believes in it together. If you don't, bite the bullet and solve that issue ahead of time. It may lead you to change things that would have caused major project issues months down the track. "
This is important. something Tim said in a video which basically says the same thing. You should know the mantra inside in out. Be able to pitch it in your sleep. But everyone on the team as well. And i found it interesting he quoted Einstein "If you cant describe it simply enough, you dont understand it well enough." So using this logic we dont need to use terms like RTS and rise of nations. We can simply explain using better terms to describe the games identity as a whole.
So Im sorry i really tried to find better information to show you guys the information i myself have come across and i was unable to hopefully either you guys have heard it too and you get what im saying or maybe its actually not as big of a deal either. But to be honest nothing in the mantra gives rise of nations context. I know what it means. I played the game and took part in discussing the territory implication into armament. But i also never heard of rise of nations nor this concept before even having that discussion. So many different people are going to hear the mantra so its important. Maybe your pitching to a publisher with an backround in RTS games. Well he may have heard of rise of nations. He may also not have liked it. But what about the random person youll meet at an event? How can we grab a persons attention unless we can concisely explain to them what we have to offer over the other distracting events. Someone did a study on it and i think collectivly the average person walking by a booth will look at your stand for about 8 seconds on average. and in that 8 seconds we describe our game with something they dont know or like. We lose that person and they walk off. So i feel its important to not be vauge or open to misinterpretation.
On the topic of misinterpretation I am a little confused on something. "we are trying to gear this towards causal and hardcore player by using ranked vs normal area divided." What exactly does this statement mean? I think it means ranked mode and casual mode but its really vague and hard to understand. I feel like mention a ranked vs casual game mode could be simplified waaay down with out damaging the structure of the mantra. I Also dont think its necessary to express our concern to appeal to both the core player and the casual player. Unless we are trying to make one or the other then of course we want to appeal to as broad of a market as we can. The more people playing our game the better after all. I feel like its obvious and could be replace with something else that would make our game stand out above other titles and would sell the point to play our game rather than the other options.
That is of course the officers. I remember discussing it with everyone when we looked at the article why RTS dies. And i noticed its in the GDD now as well so that means it going to be a feature.
This is huge. This idea is an innovation in of its own and should be recognized for its ambition as well as risk that come with it. This should be in the mantra. This almost above all else. I think if i were to say the three things we should convey to the listener as most important would be the officer system, the real time out of combat(If im understanding it correctly) Territory system and the fact that your going to be interacting with other commanders in a free to play environment. Be clear and able to be understood by a distracted customer or producer. We have to pull in someone and prove to them why our game is better and more deserving of your time.
I personally feel like the Mantra is essential to the GDD not the other way around. The mantra is not a summery of the GDD but the GDD is an extension and reiteration of the mantra.
Im not trying to be overly critical but i was signed on as a game designer so i feel some responsibility with the GDD. I feel strongly enough on this i felt it would have been doing a disservice to the team not to air my concerns despite how critical they may seem. I was just worried because you never know who you might be standing next to in an elevator or whatever and i wasnt sure how much longer before adjusting the mantra was simply to late.
Of course im not going to criticize without offering a solution. A simple idea taking in everything ive learned and by no means perfect but "Take control of officer personnel who give organic and fluid commands to their units to fight in a chaotic and cartoon environment. where you take control over territory and influence over the land in a this free to play online multiplayer from game modes such as ranked an casual play. where you rise up and take command over your army.
Far from perfect. Just trying to give context.
I hope everything is readable if anything is confusing or needs better context ask and i will reiterate best i can