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Game Design School - GOOD DESIGN PRINCIPLES

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GOOD DESIGN PRINCIPLES

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After this page:
  • You have a learned the important principles in game design

GOOD DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Following is good set design principles to follow. Of course, you don't need to apply them all.
But before you go forward, think to yourself, what could these be?

VIDEO - GOOD DESIGN PRINCIPLES & GUIDELINES

You may find the Good Design Principles and Game Design Guidelines explained here in these Elements for Excellent Game -videos. They also handle topics related to monetisation and production.

AVOID FRUSTATION

  • Don't hide information from the player
  • If player fails in one location several times, provide a hint
  • What's clear to you, can be very unclear for the player
  • Don't make the game artificially difficult - Quake got difficult so that the jumps got longer and longer. In the end it ones up to like one pixel to make the jump to continue...
  • Don't make dead ends where player can't survive because there's something they don't know
  • Don't try to be clever with your player
  • No mistakes = game passed
  • Why make the player frustrated?

BE CONSISTENT

  • Use same names for same things - Don't mix like Car to Vehicle and to Automobile all the time
  • Create characters, power-ups and all items to fit the game world - Visually and story wise
  • Don't create a similar looking power-up that all of a sudden has a very different behaviour
  • Have an unified visual style
  • A break in this, can break the Atmosphere

LESS CAN BE MORE

  • Quantity does not always equal quality
  • Rather a few good items that work well together than several bad ones
  • Less is easier to explain and easier for player to understand
  • Player can easily lose focus if there's too much "noise"
  • When the feature becomes clear and obvious and when you cut it down, it cuts down lots of ”inaccurate” things, then you're on the right track!
  • If you have an overload of possible power-ups, pick the ones that can used together to create new possibilities!

DON'T PUNISH

  • Don't punish the player - Rather be supportive
  • Game should work logically
  • If something happens, player should understand why in order to accept it
  • Shame or Blame = no Game
  • Consider saying - You didn't do that well vs - You almost did it! I know you'll do it the next time!

BE ON THE PLAYER'S SIDE

  • Don't leave the player alone
  • Don't hide the obvious
  • Help the player - Show help when player might be stuck
  • Explain how a thing works and don't keep it to yourself
  • Guide the player - Tutorial - Level design can help with only one way to go
  • Keep the player happy
  • Give reward for accomplishing things

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID - THE KISS RULE

  • If you can't explain the things easily in just a sentence or two, do you think the player will understand it?
  • One purpose per one thing - One power-up = one functionality - One button = one function
  • Simple rules: “Easy to learn, Hard to master“
  • In the beginning you often have a lot of extra stuff (hopefully) - Find your way between it all and nail the core! - Complex things confuse the player - Complex things are hard to explain and take space
  • If your teammates have trouble understanding, simplify it!
  • If it starts to feel complicated, simplify it! - But not too simple :)

WOW EFFECT

  • Stun your player with something awesome during the first 15 seconds!
  • Create your WOW effect!
  • Intro, video or what!

REMEMBER THAT PLAYERS

  • Get easily frustrated
  • Have short patience
  • Like to explore and try everything
  • Do everything you didn't think of
  • Use focus group testing - If not available have your teammates play it ...otherwise even the programmer might not have time to play it at all!

MAINTAIN VARIETY

  • Provide choices for the player
  • Provide many ways to do things
  • Be innovative! Be even more innovative!
  • Power-ups - Create good items that give a lot of possibilities - Use the existing components by joining them in new ways
  • Level design - Create new kind of levels - Come up with an idea / theme for each level - Less can be much more!
  • Objectives - Making new, simple kind of game objectives can be really cost-efficient and powerful - Like in a FPS we used have advancing all the time. But with a simple change we can get "defend building" from just turning the objective around

HAVE REPLAY VALUE

  • Keep the Fun Factor
  • The core of the game has to be fun and proven to work (casual approach)
  • Games are fun! - Sad games? - Even the sad games give satisfaction

AND... GIVE POSITIVE FEEDBACK!!!

  • If I haven't mentioned enough of this, I'll do it once more. You can't do too much of it!
    If player accomplishes given tasks and is not noted, player might not continue...
  • Give positive feedback
  • Be supportive and rather say "You almost did it! I know you can do it the next time" rather than "You failed and you are no good" - which of these too games would you play?
  • Rather overdo than underdo
  • I once saw in a student game that they had a wonderful animation when the player's ship exploded and the player lost. They complained their game felt dull and people didn't like it. I told them to put the same animation to where player wins and enemies die. With this small change it made a huge difference - even they liked their game much more after this simple change towards more rewarding!




EXERCISE: THE POWER OF POSITIVE FEEDBACK

Exercise xxxTITLExxx
Easy - 1 hour