The terms in the title would refer to the familiar strategies known in information processing. This post is definitely not to explain the terms but to explain some of my personal insights towards using a dual-sided approach towards game design.
Games can really be complex to piece together, especially to avoid feature creeping. Most ideas I've seen from experience are structured and visualized from a top-down approach. A most common ideation process would often go as such:
Well, that indeed went fine and has defined a lot for the game's structural system. However, the above idea didn't sound too far off from common games out there, in fact, kind of plain. Let's see how it would go if we'd go with a bottom-up approach.
No lies, the latter definitely took more time to come up with as an example. But hey, the 2nd one seems like a lot of fun even though it's lacking a bit of systems that hold it in place in which the top-down approach would help.
So what was wrong with the former top-down approach? Well, I'll put it as because of how steps 1 to 5 has already defined so much of how the game is, it'll be much harder for designers to instill creativity into the game. Weapons designed from step 6 onward may probably lean towards dealing damage and killing enemies. It sorta limits the game due to the boundaries set. Thus, a mix and match of both approach can really help merge systems and creativity together. I hope this could provide insights for anyone brainstorming for their next cool game! Ciao~