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Member Since 28 May 2011
Offline Last Active Oct 11 2016 01:30 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: How do desginer design their game to be fun?

01 October 2016 - 11:04 AM

Its easy to think that because some gameplay you have doesnt feel fun, that its because of the high level mechanics (that you would normally think as the gameplay). But I feel that usually, 90% of the experience is determines by the 'not gameplay' things. Graphics, music, visual and sound effects, side effects of the primary action, and what purpose the gameplay serves (challenges are usually part of a bigger challenge that gives meaning to the subchallenge).


Consider that even if your gameplay doesnt even exist (the player just passively sits there), it can still be amazing. Thats how movies/music/books work, after all.


So, at the minimum, gameplay just needs to not get in the way, and that can be enough if supported by other content/effects. Maybe you do some basic actions that require zero thought and achieve progress, and repeat.

Of course, if you can tie in some exciting and cognitively interesting tasks, thats great. Make the player choose or build optimal/preferred solutions. Make it rely on their understanding of the games systems. Add some time pressure / risk. Make the consequences of however they act, meaningful.

Just understand that not all gameplay needs to be like that. It can even be exhausting for the player if you require constant focus on solving difficult problems.

In Topic: How do desginer design their game to be fun?

01 October 2016 - 10:27 AM

Heres more videos on game design you can watch for some insight:


I think its most important to remember that game design is primarily about optimizing user experience (which just comes down to understanding human psychology), secondarily about doing so without excessive complexity or resources (which comes closer to designing systems / programming / content production), and thirdly about keeping the end result novel instead of a direct clone of an existing product or genre (creativity and synthesis of original solutions).


It helps to think about games youve played, and think about what theyve done to ensure good experience for the player. It could be really minor things like some shading or animation on a visual element, or it could be something deeper like letting the user relax occasionally through pacing, or some very interesting emergent gameplay that arises out of the games systems after youve played and improved your understanding of it for hours. Sometimes the interesting part is not that they did something to improve the experience, but how they did it (and games often solve similar problems in different ways, so you could do comparisons - like comparing aspects of inventory systems).

In Topic: ideas for stone-age mini-games

27 September 2016 - 02:20 PM

The 'purpose' of play is believed to be practice for things later in life when the cost of failure or missed opportunity is bigger.


Maybe you can think about each activity/situation in your game, what core skills would be necessary, and come up with a way to practice those skills through a game where the skills are primary game mechanics (then you just need some goal and suitable environment)? Combine multiple such skills into a single game (could relate to completely different activities in the game).


It might not be realistic, but it could be a nice pattern for players to find (and maybe even educational). The games they play could even act as predictors of what is to come, if you want to add hints like that (like make them pretend everything is on fire before a really hot and dry period). Then make them play a game they call 'cannibal attack' just to disturb the player.

In Topic: Make symbols on map more clear (RTS game)

25 September 2016 - 10:36 AM

If theres a few units, you can overlap those symbols to get more space (maybe even two interleaved rows so new tanks go like /\/\/\ which might take less space). If the rows get too long, cluster them to simplify counting. Like replace every sequence of 5 tanks, with a single symbol that stands for "5 tanks" and is more compact and readable. Mostly overlapping the similar symbols allows making them bigger so it can look like a simplified tank etc.


If theres many units, the player probably doesnt need to see exact numbers, only the total strength and the ratio of unit types. You can represent the ratio of unit types in a constant amount of space (using some bars or symbols sized according to representation or a pie chart...). Then put a single number for the total number of units. This might not work if some units are vastly more numberous than others (like 10000 infantry vs 1 boat), so might want to group the numerous units into bigger ones until the numbers are of similar magnitude. Of course you can add the detailed data in some menu.


If the numbers are big, and the player needs to do a lot of calculation/comparison, I would say its necessary to have the exact numbers there. And add some visual approximation so a force of 1 unit and 100 units are differentiated by more than just two additional digits (different icon/size for example).


You could also represent different unit types and counts using different approaches (like switching to numbers once there start to be too many, if your game changes in nature toward end-game like that). If some unit is never going to be more than 1 or 2, you can change the map icon itself (the blue thing), like add some circles around it. If some unit is always going to be numerous (like if theres always lots of supporting infrantry), just always use a number and find some special spot on the map icon to display it (so there would be a "base strength" like you have the number at the bottom, and "supporting units" individually counted like you have the tiny symbols). Making units special like this might differentiate the units more, so they dont feel all the same with just a different shape and stats (gives impression of higher complexity, and also makes it easier for you as the designer to add that complexity when theres no pressure to keep all units following the same rules).

In Topic: Biome based map generation?

23 September 2016 - 10:35 AM

Realistically, biomes are just a simplified model that allows us to compartmentalize all the infinite possible 'environments' into a few discrete categories.


Those environments arise as a result of multiple factors that vary over space (weather, 'composition' of the area like vegetation and terrain material, terrain geometry and other large scale things that might affect things like latitude or a big mountain nearby)


So to get real biomes, you need to model those individual factors. So now you have infinitely diverse local environments.


Then, if you want, you can categorize those infinite environments into a finite number of 'biomes' for gameplay purposes.


But IMO, you should not hide the detail and only take the simplified model. It would be better to use the simplification for the player to visualize the world while keeping the underlying detail the primary representation. So there would still be those interesting cases where no biome really describes the location well, or where two places of the same biome are actually subtly different. I think thats something that is easy to get wrong when you want 'biomes' in a game. You just end up with like 5 possible locations that are all the same, with hard transitions between. If you treat biomes as the simple approximations they are and not as the foundation of your world generation, its going to be much more natural.