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Consultation service?

Started by matthijs, May 20, 2004, 02:24:43 AM

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As a newbie designer, there's one thing I've really wanted to see. It's a consultation service where I can send in a game, and one or more people will hack it to pieces, say what's great and what's not, and give me ideas for further development. This service is supplied free of charge, but also free of any guarantees, at The Forge. I'm very happy that people like Mike are bothering to give his opinions & advice. At the same time, I'm well aware that at any moment he and everyone else may just stop doing so, while I'm in the middle of some problem I need to iron out.

What if... some of the Forgeites set up a consultation service, charging a certain fee that was high enough that only those with a certain dedication to their game would pay it? That way, those giving advice could be certain that it would at least be paid proper attention to, and those seeking advice would be sure to get it in full.

- Matthijs

Mark Johnson

A consulting service might be a good idea, but minus actual play, the utility might be limited.   Although, I imagine if you approached an established designer here with an offer, I am sure you might get some response.  Although, at that point, you might just hire the game designer to design a game to fulfil your vision, much like Robin Laws was hired by Greg to design the mechanics for Hero Wars/Quest.

Another possible idea might be a game design workshop set up like a writer's workshop...  maybe a month's worth of intense time with professional game designers with all the participants walking out with a complete game of some sort.  Actual play with other attendees would be done on the final week.

To view how a writer's workshop works, look here.

To view how a writer's workshop doesn't work, look here.


Ron Edwards


I've given some thought to requiring pay for consultation services. For those of you who don't know, people often send me game designs in various states and ask for comments. I usually give them a pretty thorough going-over, with the explicit proviso that I may be utterly full of shit and blind to what they're doing. Sometimes I even get a chance to play it. This is in addition to my usual habit of getting pumped about one or another game-in-design here at the Forge or found on a newcomer's website, and playing it for fun on my own.

Overall, I decided not to ask for pay. Why? Because I really don't have time to commit to such work, and sometimes it's hard to know when the time opens up and when it won't. This way, I can say, "Give me a couple weeks and then remind me," and see how things look. I can also say, with perfect honesty, "Ignore to taste, because it's totally up to you," which just doesn't have quite the same feel when money has changed hands.

So it's similar to my review policy, which is that I merely play games as I and my friends see fit, and review them when I get to it. The money is the opposite, though, in that I pay for the games I review (when they cost something), and don't accept comps.



Another option to consider is forming a game designers/writers group.

You could find 2 to 4 other game designers that are designing a game for publication in some form.  You critique each other's work, help each other think through design decisions, and encourage each other to finish your game design.  When you've finished your game, you leave the group.  

Here's a link to an existing fiction writers group:  6 Foot Ferrets.  It includes an article on setting up your own fiction writers group.



I'd like to note I tried to start such a group on Livejournal.

You can now get a LJ account for free, so no reason not to join up and start posting to the work group.
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