Champions Online update: Cryptic Studios on the four stages of game design

Defender as shown in Champions Online - Image 1Now and again, it seems that Cryptic Studios will take a break from spotlighting lore in Champions Online to talk about more metagaming stuff, like game design. This time around, the developer focuses on four important aspects of the design process. Find out what they are after the jump.

The Cryptic Studios logo - Image 1If you were to ask Cryptic Studios about game design and Champions Online (PC, Xbox 360), they would probably sum it up in four key ideas: vision, design, implementation and iteration. In fact, Geoff “Heretic” Tuffli tackled these four main principles quite recently.

According to Tuffli, vision is where it all starts. At this point, developers such as Cryptic Studios determine which principles are to be prioritized throughout the process. Tuffli noted that it doesn’t yet include the how-to specifics yet – those will come later.

After one knows what one wants, design follows. This is where the specifics come in and revisions are made to design documentation in cold blood. Speed, accuracy, creativity and practicality all come into play at this stage.

Tuffli then talked about the third stage – implementation once the design documents are ready. Companies like Cryptic Studios start inputting all the details of the documents into a game like Champions Online: levels, mobs, instances, classes – the whole gamut.

Finally, Tuffli mentioned iteration. In this stage, people review, playtest, wash, rinse and repeat. The idea is to come up with as polished a game as possible. Questions are asked, creative solutions are thought up to problems. Once everything is done, the product is then packaged and shipped off.

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