Pitch Time

 

Tracy Fullerton describes in Game Design Workshop several ways to effectively communicate ideas in a team setting. One of these ways she describes is a brief description. She does give the caveat that this might not be the most effective way to describe your game design, it is better than no information at all. Fullerton states that these short elevator pitches are to “help paint the top level picture.” It should be the broadest overview of the idea, not the nitpicky details. I decided to write a pitch for Irrational Games’ 2008 hit BioShock:

BioShock is a first-person, immersive story driven shooter. Think System Shock  gameplay in a world based on Aryn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Players use traditional weapons like guns and melee weapons in combination with almost superhero-like powers of fire and ice and combinations of these leads to deadly combos. The story is deep and the world is fantastical.”

After the pitch, Fullerton advises that designers provide a bullet list of the key features of the User Interface. For BioShock that list would be:

  • Health and Eve: represented in the top left by bars that deplete, show player’s remaining value for each resource.
  • Ammo Type & Count: Represented in the bottom left hand of the screen, shows what ammo type players have equipped and how many shots they have left.
  • Map: Show player’s location in the level as well as where all of the various machines they can interact with are located.
  • Goal aid: a compass arrow at the top of the screen shows players where they need to go for the next objective.

These bullet points should provide more details than could be given in the elevator pitch. Fullerton describes these pitches as “high-level” descriptions noting that there is no indication given about how the game is going to be made but plenty about what the final product will look and play like. It’s important to note that these descriptions are for very early in pre-production and shouldn’t be used as a team guide, more detailed descriptions of how to create the various parts of the game should be supplied.

 

Published by Stephan N. Reilly

Freelance writer and designer.

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