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Fun factor

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Everyone takes about playability and the fun factor, but what exactly does that mean to everyone? I think playability is partly ease of control, although not necessarily unrealistic. For example, flight sims tend to be more realistic, but they are still fun to many people. I guess the diffucult part is the learning curve required to make the game fun for everyone. I''m convinced that if it were as easy to learn to jump into Falcon IV as it is to play Quake III, then flight sims and other realistic games would be as popular as the more arcade-like games. So what about fun factor? I mean, what exactly is that? Some games just make you want to play for hours on end, even if it isn''t exactly "fun" )take Everquest for example). So what keeps a player coming back for more and more? Is it the storyline? Is it interaction with other players? Is it just an adrenaline rush? And are fun and reality diametrically opposed? What I mean is, the more true to life something is, does that make it less fun to play? I''ve noticed that while the more realistic style of games tend to attract a hard-core niche (take Rainbow 6 and Hidden&Dangerous as examples), but they never approach the level of a Unreal Tournament or Counter Strike (and yes, I don''t think Counter Stike is as realistic as the above mentioned games). Does this influence the designers goal for a game? To me, I just want consistency with a leaning on realism, but this doesn''t seem to be the popular way to go. So, in short: 1) How does a designer ease the learning curve? 2) How does the designer trade off fun with realism? 3) What style of "fun" should a designer strive for?

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First of all... I think these questions are a matter of opinion, rather than facts.

Original post by Dauntless
1) How does a designer ease the learning curve?

I don''t exactly understand what you mean by this one so I am skipping it

2) How does the designer trade off fun with realism?

Look at it like a newspaper article. News is either interesting or factual, and sometimes a combination of both. You will only find a combination of both when the journalist is good enough to do so and the topic is both interesting and factual.

In a game... if it is something you could do in reality but with a fantasy twist... a good designer would combine the two.

If your game is a simulation.. is it hard to make it partially fantasy also? What about a beach survival sim? You may want to make up interesting creatures and have tribes build temples.. etc.

My point is.. you can''t trade off fun for realism, you can only make something realistic and fun at the same time.

3) What style of "fun" should a designer strive for?

You should try, in my opinion, to allow the player to do things they could not do in reality. Something they would dream of doing, but never could.

If your game is meant to be a complete simulation of reality, you would have to make the fun stuff what you can do in reality, right?

So, make movies and roller skating rinks. Make an amusement park. The problem with a reality sim is that some peoples idea of fun are different than others, and you''ll need to include tons of different ( fun ) things to do. You''ll have alot more graphics to make, a lot more programming to do, etc. Thats probably why its so hard to find artists and programmers who are interested in working on that type of game.

Once again.. it is all just an opinion.

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Fun and realism are definitely not diametrically opposed. I''m 30, so I''ve been playing games for a long time. But I never really liked Racing games. I thought they were O.K., but they never really got me excited. In particular, I hated the unrealistic physics. I was turned off to Racing games, and usually chose to purchase games from other genres.

Eventually, I checked out a demo of Gran Turismo. The demo featured two cars, and one track. I must have played that demo for dozens of hours. The horrible physics were gone! Finally, here was a game that did justice to the Racing genre.

That was when I discovered that I really love Racing games. Today, Racing is one of my favorite genres. I still shy away from arcade style Racers. But if a realistic Racing game comes out, I''m there!

In this case, it was precisely the realism which attracted me to the game. And I would suspect that the same holds true for the dedicated fans of Flight Sims, FPSs, and similar genres.

Nice post, by the way. Your questions are important to consider.

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