We decided it was high time we interview the designer, Dan Brown, of our newest best selling game, Surviving Design Projects.
How and when did you first hear of The Game Crafter?
My colleagues Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone created a game for their book Social Design Patterns. That was when I first came across The Game Crafter. Another colleague, Matt Leacock, published Power Kitty, and that was the first game I bought through TGC.
What games have you published through The Game Crafter and what is the name of your game design label?
I’ve designed one game — Surviving Design Projects. It’s published under the auspices of the user experience design studio I co-run, EightShapes.
Had you ever published a game before using The Game Crafter?
How long had you been designing games before using The Game Crafter?
I’ve noodled with game designs all my life, but haven’t done anything seriously until recently.
How much time do you spend on designing and playing games?
Not as much as I would like. We play a game about once every couple of weeks. The quality of games out there — in the mechanic and production values — sets the bar very high, so I’m very critical of my own game designs.
I’ve got another game in the works about ocean exploration, because my five-year-old son is really into deep sea creatures.
What keeps you motivated to continue designing games?
Well-designed games are inherently educational. They teach us about the world around us, and more importantly how we interact with it. My game was motivated by the idea that design teams need a safe way to talk about obstacles and challenges on their projects. In playing the game, however, they learn something about their style in approaching difficult situations.
The game came from a model I created to help designers think about difficult situations on design projects. I’m thinking about expanding the game to incorporate other aspects of the model.
Have you learned anything from your experiences that you’d like to share with The Game Crafter community?
Designing games is like designing anything else: prototype and test a LOT; don’t be defensive about critiques; ask a lot of questions.
What is The Game Crafter’s killer feature and why?
As a user experience designer, I’m dying to get my hands on the design of TheGameCrafter.com. It’s a great service, but there are some weird things about the structure and content of the site that drive me crazy. That said, I like the steps TGC has taken to build a community around games.
How would you describe yourself?
Hairier, fatter, and shorter than I’d like to be.
Are you married, dating, or otherwise involved?
About to celebrate 15 years of marriage with my intelligent and beautiful wife Sarah.
Do you have any kids?
Two: a five-year-old who has been playing Dominion since he was three-and-a-half, and a one-year-old who likes crumpling cards, dropping them, and watching us retrieve them.
If someone visited your area, what’s something they must see or do?
I live in Washington, DC, so there’s no shortage of things to see or do. We love visiting the National Museum of Natural History because they have a beautiful exhibit on ocean life.
You’re stuck on a train/plane for 6 hours and bored out of your mind, how do you pass the time?
It’s rare that I get some unconditional quiet time. I’d likely read some comics or catch up on my Instapaper feed. When traveling, I’m usually on my way to a client meeting or workshop, so I generally use travel time to prep for those things.