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Gamedev 2

Important roles in game design

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I was thinking: How important are some things when designing a game. For example: Do graphics take priority over sound, and does programming matter the most? I have come up with a little scale to judge games. I do not exactly know if it would be a correct method, but I would like people to comment on it and give me some other opinions: 1. Programming: 30%: A good game requires good programming. Making everything fit together in a logical manner should be top priority. 2. Storyline: 20%: A good story can make or break a game. Without storylines, there is no point to play for in the game. 3. Interface and controls: 20%: If you cannot control a game properly, why play? Annoying controls and a complex interface will destroy a game. 4. Graphics: 20%: Today, graphics have been becoming more important to games with constant competition on what games look the best. 5. Sound: 5%: Sound can make games annoying. You do not want to play a game with bad sounds, but games with excelent music and sfx can add some umf to the game. 6. Feeling of Game: 3%: You always want a game to have a comfortable feel. 7. Extras: 2%: Little small extras are nice to have, yet not a need, just a want in the games.

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What's the point of worrying about their relative importance? In terms of developing a game, hours of labor and percentage of the budget (if any) invested in producing each concept type are not determined by the relative importance of each content type. Knowing which content must be created before which other content is a lot more useful in setting up a production plan and assigning tasks to team members.

Although, if you were designing a system for rating and reviewing games, I suppose the relative importance of the types might be useful for calculating a rating for the whole game from ratings for the different content areas of the game.

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Original post by Gamedev 2
How important are some things when designing a game.


Also, realize that it depends on what your goals are.

Do you want an addictive little flash game? Then interface, feeling, and extras are probably most important.

Do you want a AAA title selling millions of boxes? Graphics, story, programming, and sound are important.

Do you want a classic that people will still be playing ten years from now but only a few know about? Interface, feeling, and programming if you like mods will dominate.

You'll also note that, in your list, everything is pretty much even. Feeling is so small because it's more a function of story, interface, graphics, and sound. I think you underestimate sound. There's also an interesting interplay between interface and graphics. The only reason programming is a step above the rest is because it's the base, so it determines what's possible as far as interface, graphics, sound, but really doesn't affect the game itself.

You also just say "game". Aside from the fact that non-video games exist, the relative ranks will depend on genre. Storyline? Only really a factor in RPGs. (Starcraft is still popular, you think half of the players remember there's a story? Half-life would probably have been just as popular with a story half as good. However, would anyone have played the Final Fantasy series without a story?) Graphics are more about marketing than anything. As long as they're half-way decent, all you need is your foot in the door (good graphics are a good way to get your foot in the door). Same with sound.

Hmm... if I had to make the list, it'd be something like this:
Programming: 10%: As long as it doesn't crash every few minutes, I'm happy.

Storyline: 5%: It should exist (even Serious Sam had a story), but you won't even notice it in most games (and, as much as I love them, most the FF storylines were pretty bad).

Interface: 59%: The interface essentially is the game experience. It's how I interact with the game.

Graphics: 15%: They should be easy on the eyes. A consistent visual style is necessary.

Sound: 10%: Really sets the mood.

Feeling: 0% or 100%: 0% because it's determined by everything else; 100% because it's determined by everything else.

Extras: 1%: Cute...

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Are we talking about how important these elements are to the quality of the game or the development of the game?

Because programming is an input-only element. It effects everything. You shouldn't really use it as an element for grading playing experience. Programming is powering those fancy skin mesh graphics and special effects. It also powers the special dynamic sound effects. It's also responsible for all of those flaws in the control system.

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The simple answer is that they're all important :)

As Kest pointed out, without the programming to make it all happen, your game is nothing. Without some halfway decent graphics, your game won't attract many players. Likewise, sound and music is equally important to create the feel of the game... I'm working on a simple demo/research project atm and adding some fitting background music improved the wow-factor of the demo immensely (even though it's just a crappy effect demo ;)...

Interface and controls are also an important issue... the funny thing is, they're good when you don't notice them. No one ever commented on the great handling of a game, but bitching about bad (unchangeable) default controls can kill a game.

So, basically you will want a decent engine (= programming, 35%), with decent content (= graphics, sounds, music, 50%), a good storyline (10%) and a bit of je ne sais quoi (i.e. extras, 5%) to make a game great by current standards.

Of course, you could (or rather should ;) just dump the current paradigm and spent more time on the story and the extras (which will still require a lot of programming) and try to get away with less flashy content... as long as the game is fun to play, it'll work out.

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Well, I am a programmer at heart so I would start out by placing Programming at about 51%. But that is taking into account that "graphics" is also a subset of Programming (outside of the design of models/etc, though their representation is highly dependent on programmatic graphical design.)

Next I would place non-programmatic graphical designs, such as models, character designs, other art, etc at 17%. But this is a bit subjective, surely the latest incarnation of the Tetris-clone doesn't require HDR Lighting (this would fall under programming anyway), but maybe the creator feels it might be essential to have it in the game.

Then there's story.. I would put this at 10% no matter what genre. Every game needs a perfect representation of the story, whether it be "Aliens have come from mars to conquer us, let's fight back" or "The transcendental methods of existentialism conveyed through finite experiences." Though one could argue that there is a degree to how much one might need to develop, so this is a subjective percentage that changes from game to game (and mostly from genre to genre.)

Next we have sound, again it's subjective, is it DDR or Tetris? I would either put this percentage at 40% or 5%.

Lastly we have controls, it is very important to have very fluid and non-complex controls. Unless you are purposely trying to disorient the user, so again it could be subjective. Perhaps the character will suffer from something like Vertigo or some sort of Confusion, causing the controls to be atypical and disorienting, which would convey to the user this feeling of Confusion. Let's say 12%.

So there's five main things: Programming, Graphics, Story, Sound, and Controls. Not all games need story or sound to continue being a game, so those can be marked off. Graphics in the sense of models are not a requirement, graphical interfaces and objects for manipulation can be represented programmatically, so Graphics can be removed, or atleast considered an absolute subset of Programming (much like Text, Timers, and Saving Data is a subset of programming.) Controls, of course, are always implemented programmatically. Obviously their design should be taken as seriously as the graphical design of objects, but in the end it should just be viewed as another subset of programming.

That leaves us with Programming! To remove all subjectivity, a good game requires good programming and nothing else.

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It seems that all disagreement comes down to definitions. For example, just what are graphics? Are they models and particle engines? Are they the look of the game? To what extent are graphics the end of programming and to what extent is programming the means of graphics? In other words, is the program the painting or the paintbrush?

Look at it this way: A game is just a limited database application with overly complicated charts.

It seems everyone would agree if we were all starting from the same definitions. Of course, that means you can set the percentages at whatever you want depending on your definition.

A game is 100% programming because, to the computer, there's really no difference between Doom3 and MS Office. A game is 0% programming because, as far as the player and designer are concerned, the game is independent of how it's implemented (doesn't matter if it's on a computer or something Gandalf/Ged/Dumbledore conjured up).

For that matter, why is the water boiling?

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
What's the point of worrying about their relative importance? In terms of developing a game, hours of labor and percentage of the budget (if any) invested in producing each concept type are not determined by the relative importance of each content type. Knowing which content must be created before which other content is a lot more useful in setting up a production plan and assigning tasks to team members.

Although, if you were designing a system for rating and reviewing games, I suppose the relative importance of the types might be useful for calculating a rating for the whole game from ratings for the different content areas of the game.


Very salient point, Mare. Each game is a unique design (hopefully) has greater or lesser emphases on one design aspect of another as a function of the design choice on approach. Weighing things may be the backwards way to approach it.

Art

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