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MaxVest avatar 6:17 PM on 05.13.2008
Some helpful game-making tips for Dr. Boa

Is there such a thing as too much experience? I think so. 15 years is a long time to be making games, Dr. Boa (M.D. or Ph.D.?), and I think you need my help. Hillary Clinton has decided to embrace the opinions of the least educated and informed white people in the country, because she knows -- as do I -- that it is sometimes possible to know too much.

With that in mind, here are some guidelines for the good Doctor:

1a) You cannot make a game cool by TRYING to make it cool...



Confused? I sure as hell am. Here's an example: I downloaded the Haze demo the other day. You begin the game by materializing in a wooded battlefield with proto-space marines fearlessly yelling glib one-liners in your ear. The game was instantly NOT COOL, because it was trying so hard to be.

1b) ... unless that game is not at all cool to begin with.



Imagine the same scenario as above, except that the game you are playing is Harvest Moon. Instantly awesome. That game is so far from cool that faking coolness actually makes it cool. It's ironic, in a post-hipsterian way.

2) Mascots are so over, unless they are freaky, tragic, desperate mascots.



If the bloody juice from a hamburger named Generation X leaked all over the hamburger bun called Generation Y, I would be that soggy bun. We do not like anything unless it is ironic. Even irony has to be ironic. Thankfully, this rule stops after one application, so as to avoid an infinite loop of irony, which would be totally ironic. This is despite the fact that most of use "irony" when we really mean "sarcasm," which is... you get the point. If you try to cash in on the fond memories of our youth by reusing them, watch Clerks a half-dozen times first.

3) There are never enough weapons.



Science Fact: I have never played a game and quit in panic and confusion because there were too many ways to blow something up. *Note: This in no way justifies the Klobb; there are limits to how many gimped weapons you can throw in for the sole purpose of punishing a player. Even if you make a rifle that both pops and fires freshly-popped popcorn, I promise you I will use it at least once. And nobody will ever fault you for ripping off the best weapons from other franchises. Go ahead. Throw in the BFG, with a less lawsuitable name.

4) Pay a LOT of attention to your frames per second.



I don't understand exactly how this works, but more frames = more better. You could also try using the same amount of frames but fewer seconds, which should work mathematically somehow. If your competitor has more frames than you, then you might as well just pack it in and call it a day, 'cause brother, there's NO coming back from that trip.

5) Gamers have the attention spans of something with a short

[url=http://wwI wonder what Doogie Howser would have looked like with breasts[/NARP]

In this day of demos and trailers, I am willing to give a game about 60 seconds to get good. It doesn't mean I have to master it in those 60 seconds, but I should see or experience something that makes me want to play 60 more. And after a few good minutes, the player is invested, and the game-maker can coast a little bit. Lesson: put the crappy parts midway through. Ideally you'll be designing a game without any crappy parts, but apart from Tetris, that hasn't been achieved. This means the sooner you let me blow the everloving shit out of something, or do some ridiculous stunt, or engage in some really heavy-duty typing (MUD / MUSH / Mavis Beacon Does Dallas), the sooner I will love you forever and unquestioningly purchase your products until I die. That's called Brand Loyalty™, and also Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

I hope you appreciate my position as someone who knows virtually nothing about making a game, and not really all that much about playing them either. But just as someone may not be a hardcore sex offender, but rather a casual sex offender, I like to think of myself as part of the group of "HardCasual Core Gamers" that developers are so desperately seeking. You're welcome in advance.

 
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