Game designer Dan Letzring of Dino Dude Ranch, Gadgeteers, and Mint Julep answers five questions about being a game designer and the game design process. Check out his new Kickstarter for Groves.
Number of years designing
Best known for
Dino Dude Ranch, Gadgeteers, and Mint Julep
What was the moment you knew you were a game designer?
After I designed my first game (that I later self-published) I just kept getting rushes of ideas. I kept designing more and more games and realized that it was never going to stop.
Where have your best ideas come from?
Being woken up in the middle of the night. Typically the best ah-ha moments, new ideas, and problem solving issues come when I am woken in the middle of the night and hit with a giant light bulb in my brain. It is pretty annoying.
Describe your design/development process?
When I come up with an idea, I whip up a prototype as fast as possible. I get it to the table almost immediately with my wife. If we think it is fun enough to subject to people outside of the two of us, we start introducing it to various groups of friends (both gamer groups and non-gamer groups). If it starts feeling like the game really has legs, I bring it to local designer meet-ups and local unpub groups. Then I send out to friends in the industry for blind testing and the process continues on like this with continuous playtests until we feel it is ready.
What are your favorite tools for making game prototypes?
People hate my prototypes as they are typically printer paper written on with sharpies, sleeved of coarse.
If you could go back to the beginning and teach yourself one thing about game design what would it be?
Just do not rush something out of the gate because you are anxious for it to be completed. Work hard at making sure it is tested a million times, make sure the kinks are worked out and make sure the game is fun (and not broken). I see so many people that are so excited about their idea, and it really is a good idea, but it suffers from a lack of development because it is put out too quickly.