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red_sodium

Best "simple" game design

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When playing games, I've noticed that I tend to stay away from games that involve a single factor of skill, such as clicking the mouse repeatedly. I remember playing an old Sega Master System game where you took part in different Olympic events. It relied on one raw factor of skill, how fast you could tap the pad, for a lot of events. An equally simple but completely different game called Curveball, written in Flash, has a lot more elements of skill, such as paddle placement, velocity of paddle, timing, serve, etc. Another game, called Spear Toss, again written in flash, kept me addicted for a long while (albeit not as long as Curveball) The difference between these games was that Curveball kept me entertained for hours, whereas the Olympic game I totally repelled as soon as i played it. Both are simple games. Yet even though How many factors of skill is it ideal to have to hold addictiveness but not make the game too hard to learn or too frustrating to play? Do other people dislike some "single-factor" games but like others? Could the type of skill involved also make a signficant impact on gameplay/addictiveness? Stay Clausal, Red Sodium [edited by - red_sodium on April 9, 2004 7:54:30 PM]

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Play Icy Tower ! It''s dumb easy to play - just hop hop hop and up you go. It requires almost no skill whatsoever - until you climb a bit and the ledges become smaller and smaller and the distance between them increases - and the speed increases too. As the difficulty goes up and up you are forced to learn to use to your advantage rules of the game you could have simply ignored earlier (the higher your horizontal speed when you jump the higher the jump - bouncing off the edge of the screen preserves horizontal speed etc.).

As you become an even better player you may notice that to get really high scores, you want to play for series of jumps of two levels at once or more - this play requires not only a lot more skills than the game usually did - but complete mastery of these skills.

The best games are fun to play without any skills (think Tetris) and have plenty of room to learn skills that make one a better player.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The Magic Formula (TM):
"Easy to learn, hard to master"

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I''d say DDR has what must be the best formula.

Wether you love it or don''t, even now this ridiculously simple concept is still favored by many at the arcades. I myself play a PC version of it called "Dance With Intensity." And what''s the concept? Press the right arrow at the right moment. Nothing more.

Could it be that simple designs are often overlooked as potentially superior game designs? We all invest so much into providing our players with a kick-ass story, awesome abilities, realistic physics, yet something like this can keep most people busy for hours. What do we have here? I think the most advanced feature the game has is a rather bad 2D ragdoll effect. Which sometimes causes the skiier to become stiff like a bar and bounce/spin haphazardly across the hill.

What about the arcade classics? A little more advanced, but games like Space Invaders, Pacman, Frogger (Highway Crossing Frog? XD), Asteroid, Donkey Kong, etc. have captivated people for quite some time in the old days. These games are still very good even today and can still keep even a relatively new-school player busy for a while.

And let''s not forget Tetris

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quote:
Original post by red_sodium
When playing games, I''ve noticed that I tend to stay away from games that involve a single factor of skill, such as clicking the mouse repeatedly.

quote:

How many factors of skill is it ideal to have to hold addictiveness but not make the game too hard to learn or too frustrating to play? Do other people dislike some "single-factor" games but like others?


Clicking the mouse repeatedly might sound just as boring. Try doing it right now and see if you can get yourself entertained. However, also try DDR moves without actually playing it, see if you can get yourself entertained as well.

As you see, fun doesn''t depend on how many skills you must have when playing video games. A game can be as simple as clicking mouse button repeatedly, but it can be as addictive as Counter Strike, depending on the contents of the game. There isn''t any written rule that you must have this amount of skills to make your game addictive.

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