Game design skills are not common to have. Many people educate themselves through game designing schools for years to obtain the necessary skills to be able to create a video game that is fun to play. However, some people have such skills in them naturally. The unusual aspect of these natural skills that sometimes the person who has them may have no idea about their game design skills.
Of course, video game designers are aware of this fact. Some game design studios created games that can be called as “creation games”. These games allow players to use their imagination and create small games. Yes, it is a recursion of games. Typically creation games have mechanics to create and customize worlds, stories, characters and sometimes even models. While most players play these games just to see what others create or for the satisfaction of creating something, Skilled players can create full-fledged games by using these mechanics. Some players even can stretch the limitations of the main game to create what they want.
Some of the most widely-known examples of this kind of creation games would be “Scribblenauts”, “LittleBigPlanet”, and “Minecraft”.
Scribblenauts is a puzzle video game that is known for its free nature. The game has a mechanic where you can type in the name any object you want to summon a copy of it. Then you can use those objects to solve various puzzles. However, the game became a complete creation game with a later version named “Unlimited”. The game gave players to create completely custom objects in this version. Players even can edit the behavior of these objects in the game via a simple logic language. Thanks to this capability, players created many contents for the game. The logic language helped many players to understand the basics of programming which is essential for video game design.
LittleBigPlanet is a bit different as the primary content of the game is the small games made and shared by other players. LittleBigPlanet is a PlayStation exclusive creation game where players control Sackboy, a character made of sackcloth. Where the game actually shines is though, its map editor mode. In this capable editor, you can create interactive objects, cutscenes, stories, puzzles, customized simple artificial intelligence behaviors, and even music tracks.
And, of course, probably you already know Minecraft. Although it seems like a survival game in a glance, Minecraft is a creation game where all players are encouraged to create and build. In a world generated procedurally by as their “sandbox”, players of Minecraft can do anything they want, including creating structures for other players. In addition to all the lego-like blocks to use for construction, Minecraft also has an element called Redstone. Players could use this element and the mechanics come with it to create custom electronics like schemes and program new mechanics in this awesome creation game. Some brilliant Minecraft players built simple computers, calculators, and whole new games by using this game mechanic. Today there are many Minecraft servers where you can play completely different games based on the game’s foundations. Some of these game ideas even made their way to be standalone games in the past.
All these creation games have awoken the game designer in countless players. While making a game design possible for those who don’t know any complex programming, it also allowed many to discover their video game design skills. While technical foundations are provided by the creation games, players as creators can put their energy directly to the creative steps and ideas.
Maybe soon this kind of “game creation” games will be more capable and become an alternative way to create full-fledged games. It is a sure thing that, as the technical limitations are being broken, the genre will be more capable and automated.
What remains sure is that with a decent background of video game design education, skilled players of these creation games can indeed turn into successful video game designers and developed their own video games from the ground up.