Game Business & Design

< My Unfinished Notes and Thoughts >

Game Design; Storytelling; Marketing; Customer Experience


  • Define goals
  • Create Ideas in meeting them
  • Experiment and test Ideas
  • Evaluate quality of Experiment
  • Evaluate quality of Idea
  • Evaluate quality of Goals
  • Repeat
  • Smallest amount to learn about player experience.
  • 1-2 week sprints, more results in agile iteration.
  • When playtest observation isn’t lame, game is fun(?)


  • Attitude
  • People
  • Well-defined goals
  • Well-communicated goals
  • Well devised tests

Defining Goals

  • Focus on the product.
  • See all goals through eyes of the customer.
  • Embrace constraints of time, technical and budget.
  • Define the majority customer market (and secondaries).

Game Design

  • Fun game.
  • Ideas are the design.
  • Playtests are the experiments.
  • Evaluate designs through playtest results.
  • Some designs work, some do not. Iterate, no matter how late.
  • Prioritize and fix worst problems.
  • Use playtest to prioritize work for next sprint; iterate.
  • Do not discard game designs on theoretical problems.
  • Experiment in game.


  • Quality Assurance
  • Balancing
  • Fun
  • ??
  • May generate ideas of how to solve actual problems more effectively.

Playtest Analysis

  • Is sample group having experience that was designed?
  • Is the experience GREAT?
  • What affects customer experience?
    • AI.
    • Art.
    • Audio.
    • Informative, tutorial, in-UI help.
    • Pacing
    • Difficulty

Playtest Quality Assurance

  • Design people involved in playtest
    • Helps with playtest evaluation
    • Prioritizing
    • Motivation
  • Do not prompt or front-load playtesters
  • Capture thoughts during experience
  • Post-mortem Q&A session unreliable
  • Read between the lines – what was NOT experienced.
  • No leading questions
  • Measure; Storytelling, Perception


  • Solutions to playtest problems can also iterate
  • Solve problems in correct prioritized order
  • Do not oscillate.
  • Finish successful elements before iterating further.
  • Optimize most successful elements.
  • Measure risk, speed, cost.


  • Research
  • Online; auto updates, anti-cheat, communications/community.
  • Product delivery.

Product success measured: Number of players vs time.

Thanks: Valve Corporation