Posted by : Jameson Durall Monday, November 22, 2010

We've been talking a lot at work about how important it is to chose the right words when communicating in Game Design. While the word you choose to describe something may be completely accurate, it may be too vague to get the exact point across that you are trying to convey.

An example that came up recently was when someone used the word "douche-bag" to describe how the player should perceive a character in the game.  As we went around the room and had people use words to describe what they thought a "douche-bag" was, we found that it was all over the board.  So, we are learning how important it is to use much more descriptive words and as many as you need get the exact idea across.

One of the ways we are applying this practice is when talking about what we want the player experience to be in a particular mission or experience in a game.  Eliciting a specific emotional response can be a very difficult thing to achieve in a game, so we need to be exceedingly clear up front just what emotion we are going for.  The above chart is helpful in making sure the right types of descriptors are being used.

Another extremely practical application of this practice is when creating design docs and specs early in game development.  It's very easy to write up something when you have the idea in your head, but when someone else reads it and has to do work based off of it they want it to be as clear as possible.  Simply using clear and descriptive words during this phase can eliminate rework and help ensure that the vision is translated properly into the game.

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