It doesn’t matter what the business is. It is important to know how the things are working. A good way to achieve such knowledge is to discuss about. Not every decision is understandable first time. Just talk about to get behind. In the following I will show you a few examples from that „process“. There were a lot of things I didn’t get immediately. I think a learning after confirming if you were right or not, is worth a lot. So just enjoy and maybe start thinking about …
Imperfect Balancing is perfect Balancing
Of course, if it is a project like a boxed title the balancing has to be some kind of perfect. If it is a project that is still in development process after the release, the developer has the possibility to slightly alter the system from while to while.
These changes shouldn’t affect the game flow to much. But without changing the core rules it may give a lot of potential to the game and more challenges to the players.
Don’t invent the wheel twice
Try to learn from the past. Get inspired by others ideas. Don’t steal them! But sometimes there is no need to invent something completely new. Just use a well known version of the feature or function, adapt it and save a lot of time. Well, and don’t forget the customers who will more positive motivated by visuals, mechanisms, etc. they already know – even in a slightly different version.
Keep it short and simple
I really like this phrase. Most times less is more. The more variables are part of the topic the more complex it becomes. This might be ok for the game flow but not for the communication and the development process.
Control the system, don’t let the system control you
Another thought to the complexity topic. If the system gets to complex it becomes even harder to extend. Try to use small independent modules to realize the systems behind the scenes.
It is just pain to get something to work in a system that isn’t supposed to do. In most cases it isn’t possible to prepare a system for every change coming up in the future. But it is easy to change a small module and not the whole system.
Don’t talk about symptoms – solve the problem
Well, there are symptoms caused by problems. That’s true. But there is no need to fight against the symptoms. To get rid of them it is crucial to solve the problem – focus it.
How many times I saw workarounds to fix symptoms? How many times the game system became more and more complex by implementing such workarounds? Instead of this, why not fixing the problem?
Don’t write the whole story, just prepare the environment
This is especially for multiplayer games. There is no need for creating an epic story. Normally a little bit of basic lore is more than enough. It prepares the environment for the player’s interaction and then the community writes the story.
A player who likes an interactive story isn’t interested in reading walls of text or digging through a shit load of story branches.
Someone who likes reading endless pages of text might prefer an old school book and a glass of wine.
So how about to give the player’s community the possibility to write their own stories?