Posted by : Jameson Durall Saturday, July 10, 2010

Early in my Game Design career I went through a period where I really had trouble enjoying games.  My Designer's eye was always active so i kept thinking about how things were made and couldn't focus on the experience I was having and enjoy it.  There were only certain games that broke this barrier and they were usually MMOs.  I played Dark Age of Camelot for 5 years and never had this issue with it, So i'm not sure if it was the type of game was so different then anything I make that it didn't affect me or that I just loved the game so much.

Dark Age of Camelot (5th Anniversary Collection) (PC Games)

It got to the point where I was so irritated by this that I spent a long time trying to turn off my Designer's eye so I could enjoy playing games again.  I actually got fairly good at it eventually, but then found that I was now missing out on a lot of great ideas and experiences that I would love to think about re-creating in future projects that I'm working on.

The lesson I learned is that what you actually need to do is learn to keep the Designer's eye going in the background of your mind.  What I mean by this, is let it take a backseat, but only to the point where as things happen that you want to'll easily be able to.  Now as I'm playing games, I'm able to immerse myself in the experience but also able to pinpoint and evaluate those experiences and focus on how they are achieved and what it is about them that was so great.

Jesse Schell also talks about this general principle in The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses.  I think I've recommended this book enough now that any Game Designer (or aspiring Game Designer) should own it.  But, no I won't stop recommending :)

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