A Comprehensive Game Design Methodology
From First Ideas to Spectacular Pitches and Proposals

The content of this website is licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Attribution–NonCommercial– ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You can freely use and share everything non-commercially and under the same license as long as you attribute it to and link to:

J. Martin | |

However, you can also buy the Ludotronics PDF edition
for an unreasonably moderate price at DriveThruRPG.
Learn here about the five excellent reasons to do so!

Why DriveThruRPG? It’s the largest download store for role-playing stuff in existence and you’ll probably end up buying much more than just your copy of Ludotronics. Which would benefit game designers everywhere!

Why not Amazon? For one, illustrated non-fiction isn’t well-suited for the Kindle format. Also, at a €14.99 price point, Amazon’s cut amounts to €9.75. Well, no.

Phase 04
Welcome to the Process Phase!

Process Phase Introduction


Before we plunge into the Process phase, let’s pause for a moment. Chances are your Ludotronics inventory is a folder on your hard disk that contains a bunch of files and documents. At this juncture, it’s high time you consolidated your achievements and professionalized your Ludotronics inventory by collecting all the relevant knowledge and information for your game concept so far.

You have two excellent options: outliner software and wikis. Both can store all the bits and pieces of information and keep track of everything all the time. Outliner software provides both a text editor and a management system that enables you to work on your concept and, at the same time, organize everything into neat chunks across folder hierarchies or tree structures—be that texts, documents, charts, media files, notes, ideas, to-dos, research data, references, and what have you. It offers templates for all kinds of manuscripts, and will compile and export specified sections to all kinds of formats, e.g., to word processors, screenwriting software, desktop publishing or typesetting software, and mark-up languages like Markdown or HTML. Some outliner apps are cross-platform, some are accompanied by mobile apps. Outliner software is probably the best solution when you work on your own. The second option, a wiki, is probably the best solution when you collaborate with others early on. Wikis are not only platform-independent, they’re probably the most collaboration-friendly software around. More options than these exist, for sure. But whatever you choose, maintaining a tight, clean, well-organized and well-structured inventory from now on will save you frantic searches across your hard disks later.

Accordingly, you should set up your professionalized Ludotronics inventory now. It should contain all your results and achievements from the preceding phases and also your notes and research data, and all those miscellaneous items you’ve picked up that might or might not turn out to be useful somewhere down the road.

At the very least, your professionalized inventory should at this point contain:

  • Your game idea’s core element in one of the four dimensions.
  • A promising game concept based on that core element.
  • A motivation statement and player personas for your primary target audience that fit this game concept.
  • A set of value characteristics and a USP for your game concept that fit your primary target audience and player personas.
  • A theme and a handful of motifs across all four dimensions for thematic unity.
  • A design-driven goal and a desire-driven goal, each with their full set of components and elements, that match your player personas, value set, and USP.

Next, you can prepare your outliner document or wiki for the upcoming levels by setting up categories or trees that represent the four territories Interactivity, Plurimediality, Narrativity, and Architectonics, plus a handful of integral perspectives.

The first level, Level One: Integral Perspectives I, and the final level, Level Six: Integral Perspectives II, are fixed, but the four levels in between are non-linear. These four levels are Level Two: Interactivity (the territory shared by the two dimensions Game Mechanics and Ludology); Level Three: Plurimediality (Ludology and Cinematology); Level Four: Narrativity (Cinematology and Narratology); and Level Five: Architectonics (Narratology and Game Mechanics). There are dependencies between these levels, so feel free to revisit any level at any time.

When you have beaten all six levels of the Process phase, you will have something that you didn’t have before: a game treatment.

What you have right now is a game concept. There’s a huge difference between these two. A treatment is a thing, a concept isn’t. We will get back to it in the Proposition phase, but here’s an example. The idea for a game set against the backdrop of the French Revolution that revolves around the player character’s ethnic and national identity is a game idea. Together with its target audience, value characteristics, and USP from the Preparation phase and its design- and desire-driven goals and its theme and motifs from the Procedure phase, that idea becomes a game concept. Together with a detailed description of its interactive, aesthetic, and narrative elements, its dramatic structure, and its motivation and reward systems from the Process phase, all typed out, that concept becomes a game treatment. And only that—in written form, not just in your head—is a thing. It’s in the world, it’s tangible, it’s copyrightable, at least in the U.S., and it’s yours.

That’s what you will have at the end of this phase, that’s the carrot. Now let’s begin.