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Session Name:

Rules Worth Breaking


In order to encapsulate hard-won knowledge, every field has developed its little rules of thumb, including look both ways before you cross the street (life), cut on action (movie editing), with rook vs. two knights, exchanging queens is worth a pawn (chess), and focus on the choices available to the player (games). Some rules of thumb are cliches, some are platitudes, but others are wise and useful. What are some of the rules game designers adhere to? Most of them are personal observations that are largely unknown outside a given designers head. Of course its possible to plow into every design problem and find a solution from deep thought and analysis, but this practice denies a designer access to a vast reservoir of stored wisdom. It also guarantees a lot of mistakes, reinventions of the wheel, and lessons learned the hard way.

In this session, as part of the continuing 400 Project, Noah Falstein and Hal Barwood will discuss the value of rules, examine some newly-collected rules from professional colleagues, describe helpful techniques in identifying and drafting rules, and inquire about the artful breaking of rules as we reach for new ideas in game design.

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  • GDC 2006
  • Hal Barwood
  • Finite Arts
  • Noah Falstein
  • The Inspiracy
  • free content
  • Game Design
  • Design