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Codejoy

K.I.S.S. Design better for mobile games?

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So I posted this post here: a while ago, and got some great feed back (Thanks guys). Though the original reason for the post has changed, the feed back I got thankfully was generic enough to help me on future endevours... for instance: The original post was spawned by the fact I couldn't get past a few design hurdles with this game idea I had, and after fighting with it realized to let this super experimental complex game idea mill for a while and go back to something thats totally shallow, simple yet fun. So that said, there needs to be a survey that shows what exactly the mobile market can sustain in terms of game genre's, i mean, lord of the rings came out for wireless phones and its gotten good reviews but looks super complicated (And lets face it anything requiring two button simultaneous controls sucks on most phones). So at what point does one say "My idea is to shallow to fly, even on a cell phone?". I generally have great issues with "keep it simple stupid" as I manage to take a super simple idea and feature creep it into some monstrosity, I caught myself doing that with the experimental platformer mobile game earlier and decided to take a few steps back for several reasons: The simpler idea is way easier to code, and mostly (What my other thread dealt with sorta) deal with asset design and management for. I got a working demo of the simple idea up(it was a very very incomplete simple demo) played it and caught myself saying "ya this could be fun", and gave it to some other friends to try and they said they liked the idea alot. So here I am, I have a simple idea I want to make a bit more deep without feature creeping the thing. I generally want to start the design doc process to really hammer the idea out before I start coding and directing artists what to do, but alas, where to go now in the design document? Design the enemies? level encounter ideas?(this game is like a shooter but with a huge twist and a few other differences, but best can be described as a shooter that instead of avoiding intesne fighter, requires you to be rythmic in your attacks cause timing is key). So how do you others attack design? what parts you design first? Story (in a mobile game, sure but how big of story, how best to convey it etc...?) game flow? asset flow? etc... just curious to see how others do it. That said, and asked, I can safely say getting a playable demo up asap is one of the best things anyone can do for any project. -Shane

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Personally, I have seen two-page design documents for mobile games, and I have seen seventy-page design documents for mobile games. I don't think the platform inherently limits the complexity of a game one can make; it's just a little trickier to do control and display well than it is on a console. I think the real difference is that the mobile game market is amenable to a much simpler game design than the console game market. That's what JAMDAT and the rest figured out: you can make a lot of money by releasing many games, all with relatively simple designs, if consumers are willing to pay for them and development costs are kept down. The days of hordes of people paying $40 for a mobile game which delivers a $40 experience are not yet here; people just don't think of an individual mobile game as delivering that kind of experience. This sort of thing takes time to change.

But that's merely an economic argument. If you have a driving desire to make a kickass, complicated mobile game, by all means go for it. There's no reason it can't rock. Just don't expect to get rich off it.

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