Since today is officially Thursday in most parts of the world, that means we’re over the hump of the week and it’s time to think about really nailing the remainder of your game down and prepping it for submission. Five days are down, and there are only four to go (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday).
Some advice as we approach the end:
1) Submit whatever you have, even if you’re not totally satisfied with it. That way, you at least get to be a part of peer-review, both having other people look at your game and reviewing the work of your fellows. That’s an important part of Game Chef, even if you end up not continuing to work on your game (and, as multiple folks have noted, the natural result of any game design effort is abandonment; so there’s no shame in giving it your best shot and then turning to a new project).
2) If you have a chance to play your game before submitting it, definitely take advantage of it. Honestly, it’s amazing what putting your game in front of real people does for both you and the game. Ideally, you want a sympathetic audience — one that engages with the game’s premise and is compassionate and supportive about the game not being finished (some people tend to think playtesters should be hard-nosed and critical, but I’ve rarely found that helpful myself) — but, really, almost any audience is better than no audience. Sometimes it’s just not feasible (I probably won’t get to playtest my games, honestly), but it can be hugely helpful.
3) Don’t worry overly much about shoehorning in all the ingredients you want to use. They are the inspiration and the structure, but once your game starts coming together, you need to follow what the game is about and where it leads you. If it ends up that your game doesn’t use 4 ingredients (as the rules demand), that’s okay. Just note that your game is disqualified from winning and submit it anyway, since you’re welcome to participate in peer-review even if you can’t win. That said, if you can make the ingredients work and still be true to the needs of your game, do that.
4) Step up and make the hard design choices that you’ve been putting off until now. Things that you’ve left vague because you’re not sure about them… nail those down. Sometimes this requires thinking small and simple instead of complex. Don’t invent some long, detailed set of mechanics when you can just use something straightforward instead. This isn’t the last time you’ll ever get to work on the game! The important part right now, to quote the immortal Tim Gunn, is to make it work for now.
I’m excited to see all these chickens come home to roost, and I hope you’re excited about seeing what your fellow chefs have cooked up!