How Game Creators Find the Fun

04/08/2014 by Russ Pitts | Source: Polygon
I'm sitting in a restaurant Bellevue, Wash. with two of the founders of Hidden Path Entertainment and the lead designer of Defense Grid 2. It is late February 2014. We're here to talk about why Defense Grid 2 isn't fun.

Co-founder Michael Austin played the game for the first time last night. While he played, he sent his first impressions via email to co-founder Jeff Pobst. Pobst, who is also Defense Grid 2's executive producer, called for the meeting as soon as possible to share those notes with the lead designer John Daud. To say there was some measure of urgency would be an understatement.

Austin was the lead designer on the original Defense Grid. He's now designing Hidden Path's multiplayer exploration game Windborne. He took a rare break from designing that game to consult on the design for Defense Grid 2. He has detailed notes about his entire experience playing the game. He's making more, right now, in this restaurant, while we're waiting for the waitress to hand out glasses of water. He's pulling the details from his head. He's drawing on a piece of paper that looks like he stole it from somewhere. He's making a chart and bulleted lists — from his head — to gather his thoughts for the meeting that's starting in just a few seconds.

Daud looks nervous, even more so than usual. He watches carefully as Austin finishes methodically outlining his thoughts on the stolen paper. The list is of all of the things Austin thinks are wrong with Defense Grid 2. There are a lot of them. The chart is a visual aid.

The waitress steps away and the meeting begins.

Read the full story here.