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shadowman131

What sets a game apart?

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Heya, Obviously this topic has a broad range, but what are some specific-general things that set a game apart? Obviously good gameplay sets it apart, and new ideas, but is there anything that I should really keep in mind to keep my game viable for the IGF? And also, does anyone know how important good good graphics are for a competition like the IGF? I'm really curious about that aspect. Walt

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For me a game must be:

- Pick up and playabilty. (Bust'a Move, Mashed, Burnout, Pro Evo Soccer, etc - I don't want to be trapped playing for ages going through some complicated plot all the time. I don't want long loading screens. I just want a quick game before I make dinner / go to bed / whatever)

- Quick to learn controls (Mashed, Super Bust'a move, Bomberman... simple to learn controls so that anyone can quickly pick up and play and not be at an instant disadvantage because they can't remember all xyz controls)

- Rewarding (complete a level, win something - eg unlocking something with each track in Burnout). When I blow up something I want to see it going up in style!

- style (Gitaroo Man, Final Fantasy, Worms) - it doesn't matter is graphics look a little dated as long as they are done well in whatever style chosen.

- Sound (Eyetoy, Burnout, Virtual Tennis 2 - gotta have decent feedback noises, rather be squish, the strange ringing noise in Burnout while in crashmode, or the simple but pleasing tennis ball noises and crowd in Virtual Tennis 2). Music that changes depending on situation is the best thing and can add SO much to a game (Bust'a move gets faster when one player is about to die, Final Fantasy games take cues from action, etc)

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- Replayability (for me at least)...i like to get my money's worth of a 50 dollar game, othewise dont worry about it :)

- Story...i can stand no story, i can stand a little bit of story, but if there is this big overblown story with bad scriptwriting..no go. If it is good, i am all for it. Again, like paul said, it shouldnt get in the way of the action/strategy/game in general.

About the graphics, i dont think it has to be abseloutely mind boggling, but dont make it look like you did the textures in MS Paint either. Good looking but not abseloutely jaw dropping - if the artist is good and the game can handle it, do both! :)

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Attention to detail (especially 'small' gameplay details). Something indie developers can spend time on without worrying about impending deadlines and money counters ;)

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- Easy to get started, with the ability to learn advanced techniques - You don't want a huge learning curve, but it would be nice to include some things that people could eventually pick up.
- Replayability - Gotta keep em coming back. This could be due to any of these reasons, or something completely different.
- Customizability - Quake survived for an extremely long time partially because of this. The same was true for Half-Life.
- Fresh take on a similar concept / completely new concept - This could be a gameplay concept, or a new presentation.
- Addiction - If people look up at their clock and it says 5am, and they say, "oh crap," then you have a winner.

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Good question :)

I will receive my copy of "A Theory of un for Game Design" tomorow. I hope I'll be able to understand what makes a game fun then :)

What I really like:

1) good storyline
2) simple to learn and control
3) not frustrating (well... If I must redo something 20 gazillions times, I may uninstall the game more quicly than I installed it)
4) correct enough graphics, with a real look-and-feel
5) anything that is "hardcore gamer oriented" is uninstalled as well.

Replayability is not really an issue since I don't have time to play much. I hardly finish games :)

Regards,

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