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Nuhaine

Innovation Vs Proven Concepts

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I think the best course of action is to use marketing information based on the results of opinions about certain mechanics within the game, not the entire direction of the game itself. An example would be making a small crafting change which could upset or improve how crafting is perceived, such as making the UI easier, or making it more intuitive/less of a grind.

 

I'm not entirely sure if Marketing would be useful in the very beginning, as targeting a crowd using specific features based on results from now will be different from a year or more later when the industry standards or preferences have changed. It is certainly useful to see what the Developers should focus on, but I believe it would be something to keep in mind as opposed to a scripture one must have and then follow.. They may not realize something is clearly broken or being abused, but reports or opinions taken from the community can bring this to light. It is thus certainly helpful, but not entirely required until at least halfway into development.

 

This is why I would prefer to aim towards an audience, and cater to them, as opposed to catering to the market. I would still keep information on parts of my game, and use that information to change certain things that are receiving negative attention, or alter mechanics which may seem pointless or repetitive.

 

An example would be the current Dungeon Crawler I am writing up. It utilizes a crafting system where players defeat an enemy, which spawns a crafting table and materials as loot. The Crafting Table adds its own modifiers to the end result of crafting. One table might add '+10% Weapon Damage' to the result of what you craft with it. Some may be able to take more materials than others. Using this system I basically added Min-Maxing in a light way. However, I am conscious about having the Crafting Table be an interaction or an item. Would I force them to run by a mediocre crafting table with poor modifiers? Or would I allow them to pick it up and save it for later in case they need it. This decision could be influenced by users via polls, which would tell me what the users wanted out of this mechanic. It may even bring in new observations, the idea might be too redundant or too much of a hassle. I may have to remove the mechanic altogether to satisfy the user.

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This is why I would prefer to aim towards an audience, and cater to them, as opposed to catering to the market. I would still keep information on parts of my game, and use that information to change certain things that are receiving negative attention, or alter mechanics which may seem pointless or repetitive.

 

Yes.  This is exactly the kind of things that market research is designed to assist.  The total scope of the gaming market is huge, with many segments showing trends and special tastes for game features. 

 

If I design a game for a certain genre, perhaps even unknowing for lack of awareness, but I market it for another segment of the gamers, then probability is that I under-achieve in launching the product.  For example, if I include with the game a bunch of settings options, I mean a lot of them, and they are very innovative, but the game actually targets mainly end-users in the 14-20 year range, then perhaps that age group will not have the attention span or interest to use the many configuration settings of the game.  In such a case, I likely wasted a lot of time, money, and resources in developing such features which the end-user target market doesn't like to use.

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but I'll leave it there to note that I actually agree with you! In the overwhelming majority of cases a well polished game will be more successful than one that is merely innovative. I would also agree with Daniel Cook's idea that we should continue to strive for better rather than settling for a successful clone of an existing game.
But then, I wonder about the definition of "strive for better". If incremental creativity is more fun to the player and results in a better game, then what's the point of going for grand leap creativity? What is "better" in this? Wouldn't making a more fun game be striving for better? Is creativite better just for the sake of creativity?

I don't know, it sounds to me a bit like art for the sake of art :)

 

Similarly, I would debate the "morality of plagiarism". Assuming it results in a better, more fun game (just an assumption), wouldn't it be actually more moral? Wouldn't making fun games be moral while making unfun (where the player is tricked into buying and wastes both money and time and regrets it) be actually immoral?

 

What comes first? The player (and his fun) or the creativity/originality?

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I don't think there's any real benefit to outweigh the massive risk of "grand leap" rather than incremental innovation, and I think the games I chose as illustrations of innovative gameplay demonstrate that.

At the same time however, I'm not personally comfortable with having players pay good money for something with NO innovation, as although there may be proven fun to be had I feel like that's just re-packaging games they've already bought and paid for.


Through iterative design we can ensure our innovations aren't "losing the fun" at a reasonably minimised cost, and through basic market research and can ensure it's something there's at least some small market for. Polish is simply a matter of putting in enough time and effort and maintaining a standard. Given that, I say "why not both?; through incremental innovation we can continue to deliver new experiences to players whilst still maintaining the familiar from previous titles and offering a well polished experience.

(Posted from mobile. )

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I think we should use 3 categories not 2.

1) Grand leap innovation

2) Incremental innovation

3) Clone

 

And then we could let the evil clone take all the blame while we could make the fun playable partial clones and name it an incremental innovation :D

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Both indies and huge companies are limited.

 

Indie developers feel the need to be innovative, and without anything holding them back they'll try. Innovative results? Sporadic.

 

Big companies can push meaningless clone games with frugal DLC and varying enjoyability accepting bad press, and they hold their sponsors' hands and keep making whatever they're told is ok. Innovative results? Sporadic.

 

In both cases the central idea of any game might as well be one person's. Their rate of success is determined by a seemingly invisible acceptance quota decided by opinionated humans.

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is it better to favor an old mechanic or feature that has already been done frequently in design?

 

its best to favor whatever is best.

 

be it old, new, innovative, clone, whatever.

 

but it should be selected because its best, not because its innovative, or the "accepted way of doing things", or any other reason.

 

there can be an advantages to following familiar conventions (like WASD input). but these should only be considered as far as they go towards making that way of doing something the "best way" to do something,  IE don't pick conventional simply because its conventional. only choose it if the conventional way is the BEST way.

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