Getting more serious about game DESIGN


I have started and stopped numerous projects lately, and I have traced the problem to (I think) my lack of game-designing skills. Meaning, I can code up an engine for a game (maps, entities, etc.), but my projects usually stop right there. I cannot seem to push my projects past a bunch of entities, and a map. What I think the issue is, is that I am more focused on game programming than design.

This is not to say that I jump into projects with no idea what I will be making; I try to make a basic document on how the game will work, and will try to follow that document throughout development.

Let me give an example. I tried to make a game for LD29, but here is how it played out:

-[b]Made game design document[/b] The game was going to be about digging and looting different dungeons, labs, etc. for oxygen tanks, weaponry, and health packs. Inside said dungeons, numerous enemies could be found.

-Made Engine
I made a tile-based world with lighting, and randomly placed structures.

-Added in player things
The player sprites were made, and he can dig around everywhere. Great!

-Added in enemy things
I added in enemies that patrolled the dungeons. This is where it began to fall apart. I realized that 90% of the gameplay was digging through vast amounts of land in a probably fruitless effort to find dungeons. Project quit :(.

Any ideas? I basically have yet to make a real game. I have been trying to do this as a hobby for about 3-4 years and only have a Game Library to show for it. No actual games yet, since I can’t really design a game :-.

Anyone else struggled with this?

-wes, the very confused new JGO Wizard :clue: