This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
It sounds a bit obvious after the fact, but many custom-made set designs already use advance design. Before worrying about the slots, they are mostly cards that showcase many mechanics, many of which won't end up in the final product. They are just made as a means to explore how everything will play out. Whlie I can't say they are necessarily doing the holistic view of a whole block, there is some time for "free design", which I feel is the heart of this advance design thing. Of course, custom-made sets don't have time restrictions or budgets, so it's natural that R&D never thought that they need to "waste" time in this when design already did both things at the same time.
Seems like it would be hard to come up with mechanics without also having cards designed to prove the mechanic could work. And if you're doing cards and mechanics in Advanced Design, is it really something different or just the same process started earlier?
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Writer in general know about advanced design. If they, as may not always be the case, choose to build a story that must take place over more than one installment, it is necessary for them to plan ahead about how that story goes. The installments then each must take a designing phase where the writer blocks out the narrative and content. One may not even have one's principle characters designed at this point, but that can happen in "advanced design." It shouldn't happen during "blocking." Once your narrative and flow and segregation of necessary parts occurs, actual filling in occurs -- and this we'd call "development."
Post-development involves building the script from beginning to end again, checking with the master file (the "advanced design" element) and then refitting things as befits the whole. Then you fill the draft in, then rewrite it. Again, and again, and again.
Unlike Magic, however, even post-release of your product, you can go back and change it. It was two decades later when Tolkein changed whole swaths of The Hobbit to fit The Lord of the Rings, especially "Riddles in the Dark" and the nature and quality of Gollum.
I am actually amazed that Magic has gone on so long with a writer at the lead of design for over 15 years and not realized this is how this stuff works. Long road to get there ... and well come.