Recently I've wondered if I've had a real missconception in my head for years about game design. I was always heavily focused on the act of playing and making that exciting.
Makes sense, right?
But it was like I was trying to make that play interesting in itself, by it's own merit.
Actually that probably still sounds like conventional design wisdom.
But now I'm looking at things with the paradigm that the fun of gameplay sits beneath the roof of whether you win or lose. No matter how complicated or nuanced your little controls and mechanics, or pretty your graphics, if you have not yet set up a win/lose condition, like veins drained of blood those things are empty for that reason. Not because there just is some exciting way to write that I've yet to find. It's that without a win/lose condition, there is no blood/no fun in anything made. A bit like a frankenstien monster without any life to it.
"But what about world of warcraft, that's a game and there is no final win condition?"
Well, actually they have advertised it as 'It's not a game - it's a world".
And really I think they are providing something other than a game. Okay, okay, if you wanna call it a game, fine - but when it comes to my definition of game, they want to provide something else. And my major hiccup is that I've been designing in a way that facilitates that for years. Ie, try to make the doing the activity thrilling in and of itself. When that's their design method for their 'game'. For my game, that's just no good - I need to start with the end - start with a win/lose condition, then add more elements AFTER that. Not before, like I kinda learned to do and did for years.