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LONG BLOG

The 3 Principles Of Game Design

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Today I'm going to talk about my philosophy on videogames and what I believe to be the 3 main principles of game design. After seeing the saturation of the indie market, I've been led to believe that indie developers have struggled to stand out from the crowd and I have pondered whether or not they are aware of what actually makes a successful game. Here are what I personally believe to be the three main principles of game design.


Problem solving


The ability to give reason to your games existence lies in problem solving, by solving a problem, you are welcoming a new audience and giving your game an identity. Even a simple problem such as keeping players on track or structuring your narrative to be easier or more entertaining to read can give your game a perception of originality... even though it is not original, this way you can appeal to a specific audience who wants that problem solving and they will in turn buy your game. Problem solving is a skill required in almost all forms of game design including programming, level design and direction. As well as solving problems for an audience, it is important for indie devs to be able to carefully manage their finances and in turn manage their ideas and consider the time and costs of each idea they wish to execute, to do so they need to solve a problem.


Most indie developers try to keep their games as simple as possible to avoid potential financial struggles, the problem I see in a lot of indie games is that they tend to forget the consumer's perspective, if you cannot solve a consumer's problem, you might have trouble solving your own financial problems. So it is important to analyze other videogames and search for any potential issues found in those videogames, reading reviews on the steam store page can help you with this. Once you find the problem, you need to solve it, this is where creativity comes to play. There may be many ways to solve a problem... or very few. The goal is to find a way. There is no easy way to do this, the only help I can give you is that concepts alone cannot make the game, you must give purpose to those concepts to solve a problem and fix the mistakes of your peers. That is how you release an eye catching and successful videogame.


This applies to any product, just because your toilet brush is coloured pink doesn't mean it's going to solve any more problems that a plain white toilet brush, it cleans toilets just as well as the other one. You need to find some way to position your game and make it stand out and by solving a problem that nobody else has, you have accomplished this in the best way possible since not only will someone consider purchaseing your game but they might actually crave it and that can be something you can seriously take advantage of.


Motivation


Games are first and foremost a recreational activity that involves a form of simulated kinesis and interaction. As a recreational activity, motivation is key. Problem solving isn't reason enough to get people to pick up and play a videogame, it is merely a way to garner interest in it. However, a game that fails to motivate is enough to deteriorate that very interest in the game and can put a stain on your game. To motivate is to accomodate the player with a strong premise and ease of access.

There are many things to consider when motivating a player through a game. Balancing ease of access with freedom to interact and experiment is a good way to approach gameplay when considering motivation, you don't want to drown players in tutorials, nor do you want to throw players in the deep end without any rewarding elements to offer. To motivate the player, they need a reward to strive for and those rewards are:


Exploration (Linear/Open exploration, feed curiosity or encourage curiosity, develop a strong, memorable ambience, create a strong, enigmatic world)


Growth (Invested empowerment)


Mastery (Educated empowerment)


Personalization (Individuality)


Storytelling (Connection to narrative, characters, plot)


Adreniline (Kinetic empowerment)


With that reward in place, a player will be ready to start playing your game


Engagement


No matter how good a game is, the inevitable question of "how long should I keep playing?" will be asked. The goal of engagement is to delay the inevitable by keeping players hooked. A concrete example of this would be to design your game with quality in mind and to consider the time investment your game requires and provide the same level of quality to keep the engagement strong. Rewarding elements can also assist with engagement when executed correctly. However, execution requires more than a simple goal, the process of delivering that goal is the process of engagement. Engagement requires consistency in terms of quality but it may also require a consistant level of variety depending in the targeted audience.


Ultimately it is important to focus on a game's core elements to keep the level of engagement strong, balancing this with variety is one of the greatest challenges a game developer has to face. This is where pacing comes into play. By focusing on the core elements, players will often forget their motivation, while it is important to remind them of their motivation every so often by maintaining the constant stream of rewarding elements, the goal of engagement is to get players to stop questioning what is motivating them to play the game but to actually keep them playing without them having any time to consider such things.


It is not easy to make a game that is 100% engaging, even some of the best games can fail at doing this at times but if a player feels excited and looks forward to playing your game, you have accomplished what you have set out to do. If a player would rather put down your game and play something else, it might be worth evaluating your game and checking for any potential issues and applying them to later projects. Don't be put down just because your game is not 100% engaging because the truth is, very few games are and it is this reason why it is difficult to compete in the market. To any budding game developers, remember that you can only try your best and you will never satisfy and/or engage everyone.


I hope this was helpful to you all and helped you see gaming in a differrent light, if you are a critic, a developer or just simply a gamer who is interested in theoratical discussion, I hope you stick around so that we can discuss more of these things in the future.


Let's learn from each other and make a better future for gaming.

Not a full article I know... but since this was a brief topic I made a video instead so that I could try and keep it as concise and to the point as possible... but it is in writing. I caouldn't really find any images to befit this you see and as such video was better, Neon XSZ is a game that ties into this as it is a game that had a lot of potential to be a solid game and still does... but I was disengaged by it for a few reasons, hence the reason why I used it in the video... and to plug it for the developer of course. 

So guys, which is better? Scripted or off the cuff? I won't lie that I enjoy doing it off the cuff a lot more though. Reading off a scrip makes me feel robotic and it feels unnatural to me. Plus the amount of fuck ups I made in the recording was insane, it could have had a blooper reel.

- Once you head down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny... and you get dental.


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About Terry 309one of us since 11:02 AM on 12.30.2013


"Exactly as I'd hoped. Humans... so weak and malleable. How you ever managed to oppose the legion I cannot fathom. You have merely delayed the inevitable" ~ Balnazzar

Read my reviews here:
https://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Terry+309/terry-309-s-review-archive-291590.phtml

Visit my Wordpress site here:
https://cynicalgamingblog.wordpress.com/

I will publish blogs on there earlier because it has a better editor (plus I don't have the Destructoid rules to worry about). I will still publish blogs on here though and I probably will post any top 10's exclusively on here, this site is merely a home for all of my blogs so that in case anything happens I can keep writing.

My Bio:

Just an outspoken fan of rpg's and gaming in general who likes to rant about first world gamer problems because there are so many.

My blogs mostly consist of reviews/rants of games of all generations, particularly rpg's. I try to blend my reviews with both facts and opinion so that people can see from my own experiences and decide for themselves. i will also tend to review older titles because i still believe that there are few people out there who haven't played these awesome titles and deserve to give them a chance.

Oh and as for some negative's you might point out, i can't spell for my life and my grammar is terrible. Plus i like to exaggerate my points a little to make things more fun, yet some people are dense enough to take them as fact.

Here is my response to those intelligent enough to point them out:


Heres my review rating system:

Masterpiece (Same as masterful but for overall score, will be based on opinion), of course it won't be perfect in every way but it will be close to perfect, no game is perfect.

Masterful - Perfect in every way (Formerly 9.5+) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)

Exceptional - Goes way beyond expectations (Formerly between 9.1 and 9.4) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)

Excellent - Does what it needs to and provides a first class experience (9.0) (definitely pick up the game if you are a fan of the genre)

Great - Does what it needs to, provides a high class experience (8.5-8.9) (recommended to all fans of the genre)

Good - Does what it needs to and provides a very enjoyable experience (was 8.0 - 8.5) (recommended to all fans of the genre)

Satisfactory - Does what it needs to, provides an experience which is just enough to satisfy the player (Formerly between 7.5 - 7.9) (Reccommended to read the review if unsure)

Decent - Does what it needs to, experience can very depending on the players tastes (Formerly 7.0-7.4) (Recommended to read the review if you plan on picking up the game to see if it's for you)

So-So (Now Mediocre) - Not for everyone, has some issues, may be worth a try if patient enough to cope with it's flaws (Formerly 6.5 - 6.9) (Reccommened to read the review if you're interested in the title)

Flawed - Alot of flaws, difficult to recommend, some may be able to pass them by but will require a lot of patience (Formerly 5.0 - 6.4) (Reccommened to read the review if you're interested in the title)

Awful - (Formerly 4.9 and below) (If you see this, don't pick the game up for this catagory)

Kill It With Fire - (Same as Awful but for overall score, based on opinion which in this case is usually right if you see the game, you know what to do, don't buy this and if you do, get some gasoline and a match)

Lifespan:

Too Long (Legend Of Dragoon lol)

Very Long (Formerly 9.5 - 9.9)

Long (Formerly 9.0 - 9.4)

Quite Long (Formerly 8.0 - 8.9)

Decent Length (Formerly 7.5 - 7.9)

Quite Short (Formerly 6.5 - 7.4)

Very Short (Formerly 6.0 - 6.4)

Too short (Formerly 5.9 or below)

Worth Replaying?

Yes

Maybe

No

My favorite games:

Valkyrie Profile 2

F-ZERO GX

Pokemon Gold and Silver

Painkiller

Warcraft 3's campaign

Grandia 2

Diablo

Mount And Blade: Warband