Making Small Games

So all of my game ideas so far have been grand projects and I can tell you, not one has been finished yet. Some are long labors. Others I let go.

I’ve been thinking lately I should try to make something small, but I struggle with scope. I like grand adventures and complex systems. I can’t help adding more on an already big idea.

So I was wondering if anyone could give insights into how they design small games?

I just struggle to begin. Any advice?

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Bitsy is a tool with interesting limitations that kind of forces you to “think small” more than just about any other tool. I’d look around in the Bitsy tag on itch to see what kind of things people make with it and then give it a try yourself, there’s even monthly jams that give you a specific theme.

I find it easy to make a sketchy-type thing in the form of a zine, bitsy or construct game, but anything that involves more writing than that typically becomes so complex in my head that it’s hard to even start, so I definitely know how you feel!

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When working in Unity there is a way to duplicate a scene, save it as a new scene and then add to that. I know that sounds like the opposite of what you are asking for, but for me it helps because I can just experiment and make a bunch of variations of the game and then create a way to go between them (for instance by pressing a number key).
So I end up releasing my unfinished experiments as a collection and that mess ends up being the game

I think the thing that has helped me the most though is playing a lot of games that have very little to them in terms of content. My favorite example and inspiration is probably Destroy Your Home
https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/5279
but Train Simulator is a great recent example.
https://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/11668