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wirya

Designing simple games, thoughts needed

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Right now I'm learning to design games which are really simple yet still quite fun. I'm a bit lost in this, since the majority (if not all) of the games I've been playing up to now are somewhat far from being simple. If anyone here can throw in some useful thoughts about this matter, I'll appreciate it greatly. I myself am a flash game developer. I've made two games with my friend, which each was developed in about three months. That's one hell of a development time for flash games (I think), so I really want to speed the process up by focusing more on really simple games.

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Idea - the rubberband game.

The player moves a point within an area (possibly entire screen) which is connected one side of a rubberband (drawn line) which is connected to a second point which is either fixed (maybe change periodicly) or moves itself randomly on on a 'pong' trajectory. The point of the game is to use the rubberband as a bouncing surface for a projectile moving about the screen.. The goal would be to get that projectile into a hole(s) or to run over target objects to get points (or more complex to act like a pool cue ball to hit other objects and knock THEM into holes.

Lots of variations to choose for the design and lots of busy mindless playing for the player AND simple enough to run on computers 25 years old (or handhelds with inertial sensors to move the playters endpoint).

There is a possibility for a multiplayer either competing (seperate rubberbands) or cooperative (player on either end of the same rubberband...)


If you create this and its so nifty and sell it to Microsoft for $$$, just put in a required mention of me in the contract so that when Microsoft omits it I can sue them for even more $$$$$$.

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That sounds nice, thanks. I never thought about developing such game. It feels simple and classic, which are two nice characteristics to be mixed into one game.

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I wouldn't know where to tell you to look for them, but you should probably go find and play some simple games. And I don't think three months is all that long either, especially for a reasonably sophisticated game.

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Have you tried the collection of flash games at NeoPets? Many of them are simple and fun.

I don't think 3 months is a really long time to develop a flash game if you're including all the art and sounds in that.

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What games have you made? Are they sweet? May we try them?

Do you know anyone else that makes games? I'm no expert, but I know there are flash games out there that take way more than three months to make, and some that are made quickly. It depends on the scale of the game.

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Thanks for the latest replies, guys. Believe me, three months for each flash game was long, since it should take much less time if not because of the re-thinking, re-planning, re-concepting, and maybe some other re's. Basically, my problem was the inability to keep the design as simple, as efficient, as effective as possible. So what I wanna know is how to make the game design as simple as possible but still works nicely. I tend to add features to the gameplay, whether or not they are needed I don't really know. Well, if any of you guys could share some thoughts on this, it'll be great.


EDIT :
My first flash game is this, a tank war game titled Armored War : http://www.lorenzgames.com/game/armored-war

The second, a mix between shooting and defense, hence the title is Shooter Guardian : http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/502490

[Edited by - wirya on October 27, 2009 3:09:28 PM]

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Did you make a gameplay flow chart as part of your design process?

Also, are you building up a library of code modules you can reuse in future games? Code reuse can be a huge factor in development speed.

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Nope, no gameplay flow charts. I never thought about it, thanks for the advice.

Maybe I should try to re-use my codes more, right now I'm working like a truly old-fashioned programmer. But my main problem is knowing what would work and what wouldn't. Initially, my tank war game wasn't much of a war/action game, it was more of a puzzle game. The puzzle game was quite simple, and as time flowed me and my friend began to think that it wasn't the game we really wanted. So we re-design it, and it ended as that much more complex tank war game. But now that I re-think it, the puzzle game concept wasn't really bad and it could work. This habit, considering that a game won't work because it's really simple, is what I'm trying to get over now. I just don't really know how, yet.

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I think you're being too hard on yourself. I checked out your two games and think they're pretty good for your first released efforts. (They were playing slow on the system I was stuck using, but its an old Win98 machine so it was probably on my end).

With your tank game I saw that you were trying to give players choices by modifying the vehicle stats. You didn't have to do that, but would you have been happy with only giving players a single tank with fixed stats and one way to play through the game? It seems to me that what might be appealing to you are the very things that will make your game take longer (different strategies, shopping and resource management). You could have made pong or space invaders and declared yourself done but I suspect that would not have been rewarding.

I'd say that unless your rent/mortgage/room & board are dependent on making games you should make the things that come the closest to the decisions you want to make in games. You're more likely to find the effort fulfilling regardless of how long it takes. (And if it's not fulfilling, why do it? There's plenty of crap programming jobs out there that pay better than games!)

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