Having Patience in Game Design

One of the hardest parts of designing a game is the waiting.

Waiting for art to come in. Waiting for playtest copies to arrive. Waiting for the post office to remedy an issue with a misdelivered package. Waiting for playtest feedback.

It can be frustrating sometimes. You want everything to happen right now, so that you can move on to the next step. It is particularly tough when you have a larger game (like DelvenDeep) that is being designed and tested in stages.

You have to remind yourself that having patience during these waiting periods is worth it. The waiting gives you time to passively think about your design (what I call ‘percolating’) so that the next stage will be more improved.

During these waiting times, I like to mess around with visual design concepts for the game components. This really isn’t something you should do until after your design is thoroughly playtested. However, I find it helps me to visualize other aspects of the game. And, when you’re working on a game based in a particular setting, it can aid in getting the minor details fleshed out.

While building quests for DelvenDeep, I realized it would help to know where these quests are located in the game world. I did not want to spend precious hours making a map, so went hunting on the internet for a fantasy map generator. After a bit of research, I found Wonderdraft.

Wonderdraft is a very good, and inexpensive, fantasy map generator. It is easy to use, and has a lot of options. Using it, I put together this map for DelvenDeep in about an hour.


This is just a portion of the whole map, focused on the area I’m currently designing quests for.

The point is: Use those waiting periods to have a little fun with your design. You may come up with something that will end up being a necessary asset for the game.