Yesterday award-winning game designer, artist, writer & creative director, Brenda Romero, gave her IndieTalk, “Jiro Dreams of Game Design.” The talked was inspired by the movie, “Jiro Dreams of Shushi.”
If you ever wondered what a 3 star Michelin Chef can teach you about game design, well Brenda Romero has an answer. Even if you never wondered – Brenda’s talk was well worth listening to.
Brenda had been making games for Facebook where the mentality was to create minimum viable products. This approach meant that you expected to fix bugs and then add features as you discovered what players really wanted. You did not expect to ship, or strive for, a great game. In the real-world producers don’t say, “let’s make this game great so take all the time you want.” In the real-world the goal is to deliver games on time and on budget.
One of her personal projects was “Trains” – where every single decision mattered as she labored to make a game that was as good as she could make it. She had the luxury of time and never put in something to just to make the game work. She could wait until the right decision appeared.
She wondered what made some things great and others not. Then she came across asparagus – one perfectly prepared, perfectly decorated and perfectly presented plate of asparagus. She realized that a fully designed experience is the foundation of greatness.
Following are some of the things she learned from studying this 3 star group of chefs:
- Great ideas – you can never rest on your laurels.
- Great Ingredients – start with the best you can get. You will spend more time managing failures than successes.
- Think in terms of shipping constantly – great chefs ‘ship’ 10,000 items during their lifetime while a game designer may only ship 100. Polish and perfect every step of the way.
- Consistency – a chef must deliver every night.
Brenda will be presenting her talk at the upcoming GDC next spring.