Gamethink

Monday, November 15, 2004

Iron Developer III: Return of the Iron Developer

posted by Doc Blue

I am currently planning on re-instating my Iron Developer event at Origins this year. I took a year off for various reasons, but was sorry I did for other reasons.

As a refresher, the original Iron Developer events essentially worked like this: Would-be Iron Developers showed up on the day of the event armed with nothing more than their wits. A secret ingredient, in the form of a physical object, was revealed, and the players, sometimes in teams of two to three, sometimes alone, spent two hours developing a game concept. Afterwards, the players presented their games and were judged on various criteria. The players with the best concepts went on to a 'best of the best' run-off on the last day of the event.

This year, for the return, I want to increase the difficulty. I am firmly in brainstorming mode at this point and am going to throw out several thoughts any or all or none of which may get incorporated into the new event. (They are listed in no particular order.)

* Increase the number of requirements from one (or two in the final challenge) to three to five. This would likely include one to two genre requirements, then two to three miscellaneous requirements (physical objects for inspiration, types of mechanics, ???).

* Include a improvisation component. Or more specifically, have the audience or the players themselves propose genres and other components, some or all of which are then incorporated into the challenge.

* Require the game be playable at the end of the process. This would likely mean giving the players more time, away from the stadium, to develop their game before judging.

* Include a specific core mechanic. This would be to facilitate having a game that could be run (by me if necessary) in the 'play' event.

* Self-publish the winning game via PDF.

* As noted above, have a separate play event where the winning game is played and/or where the top to games from the previous round are played and judged.

* Junkyard Developer - wherein the player-developers are handed a box of random pages from various discarded/out-of-print/public domain games, and need to use a certain amount of them in their own design.

* Trading Games - Wherein the player-developers, after making their first two hour development pitch, trade-off games for completion. In this case, I can see running the initial event as before, with multiple teams and judging at the end of two hours. Then breaking the groups into two larger teams to finish work on the top two games. Then, as a surprise twist, handing the teams the concepts of the *other* top developer.

I think those are all my brain-storms for now. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I can see problems with several of them, but I will save self-critique for another post on another day.