Designs from the Mind – product development part 1

So you’ve thought about it for ages, you have this great idea to turn the game world that you have been lovingly creating with your pen and paper group for the past several years and into a product for people to buy, but how do you go about designing an actually package for people?

Sound familiar? This was the early and initial thoughts for me as well, for twelve years we’d been playing in a game world that we had created and during that time we’d always said to each other just that, “wouldn’t it be wicked to write all this stuff down and create products for people.” For me the opportunity came along and I have not only done just that I have started to make some success as well, so I thought I’d share my approach to design for getting what’s in my mind out to the fantasy fans and maybe encourage a few others of us in the community to do the same in this two part blog post.

Now my approach certainly won’t be for everyone but I found it a good and practical approach. It starts with initial concepts being driven by my own opinion, thus I wrote down the main areas that as a playing group my friends and I found the most fun, what was most detailed and also brainstormed where I can go with each option. This gave me a list of world areas that I could start in and possible product lines. The next step was to do some market research, this included looking at current product lines of existing companies, both major and indie, running stats on what people were searching for in search engines, reading forums and community sites and defining my target audience. This gave me an idea of what people are talking about and what they need but don’t have and this breeds an opportunity.

Next is tying in what I have with what people are looking for and match that with my skill sets, for example one of the things that I identified was that heaps of people were looking for free online browser based RPG games, which would be wicked as I have a love of pc games and have a detailed world in which I could use. The issue there was that I had no scripting ability, bummer! But other opportunities abound.

So once I had done my market research and decided what I can produce that people are wanting and that will have longevity, as remember people out there are looking for solutions to their problems, so as nice as it is to create something that you want to just because you like it, it doesn’t mean that its commercially viable I matched it all together and started furiously writing, planning and creating my first product. But midway through I thought “how’s it going to look?”

To find out you’ll have to wait for part 2 …