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codeman_nz

What makes a game fun

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Game Speed is another factor for game play.   A Racing game should feel like a racing game where reflex is important.  Code should feel responsive to the players actions.

For me this holds extremely true to certain type of role playing games.  FPS and Fighter Simulations Code should feel like when you pull the trigger or through a punch, the game code is responding immediately.

Strategy, should keep to a turn based system.  Real Time Strategies (RTS) with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) player tend to favor the software as levels progress, I usually lose interest after the 5th or 6th level once progression has been stopped.

  Games should Challenge The Player, If Failure is part of the game design then so be it. If your game has a linear design where certain task must be completed within a certain time period 100%, then that is a poor game design. Although let us say that you only have to complete 75% of those task in order to progress then that is challenging.  When Failure then happens, which will stop game progression, the player could restart play, do something different, continue on to see how many of these task are completed, then when time is up if the player obtained at least 75% (They do not have to know) then game play can continue.

  Here is the catch, and challenge to the game designer / programmer... If the player needs a key to unlock the door, but did not get the key in the previous step, but did achieve an 80% completion rate to advance, you should design a system where the player can get that key later.  Give the player say 3 chances to get the key.

  I think if this is done, for me at least, it will not only challenge me, but keep my interest as well!

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Before I decide to play a game, I see a lot of screenshots, gameplay videos, trailers, concept art -- in other words, the graphics. If the game doesn't look good, that can turn me off of playing it.

 

But once I get immersed, the graphics go away. The sprites/polygons become people, buildings, streets, what have you. Unless the art suddenly changes style or something doesn't jive with the color scheme or the graphics glitch out or some important item blends in with the background, I don't even notice.

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The problem with defining 'fun' in any particular sense is that the concept is different for each individual person. One person can like shooters, another can hate them. Simply taking what the first person says at face value, and creating a simple shooter game, will only satisfy the first person.

 

However if you put, say, 5 people together and ask them whether they like being able to customise their character. If four people say yes, and one person says no, then being able to customise your character can be considered, in a fundamental sense, 'fun'.

 

This is where things start getting picky. In reality, you can define fun simply by saying 'anything the majority of people consider entertaining'. Yet that one person still finds it boring. This is where you look at two things. Who am I aiming for within my game? Once you achieve that, then you ask: what does the majority of the target audience consider entertainment?

 

So, for example, you decided to create a rogue-like. Your target audience is rogue-like fans, now you research what your target audience preferences in entertainment are. One of the biggest factors in a rogue-like for the fans is the variation within the randomness, the more they feel like every game is different, the more they enjoy the experience.

 

In reality, you'll never satisfy everyone. Just look at what you can do.

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The only thing that makes any game fun, is players. Glorious players! The good, the bad, the new, the old and everything in between. And if you want to make players feel great, give those players' spectators! Games are nothing without these. No matter how rad they may seem.

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the touches on what i call the "reward feedback loop".

 

its seems that many games that aren't pure chance have a "reward feedback loop" as part of the basic game mechanic.

 

the player does something, and receives feedback. actions that move the player towards success in the game provide rewards.

 

this can be seen at both the micro and macro levels:

 

"reward feedback" at the micro level:

player turns left (action), car turns left (feedback), avoids hazard (reward).

player turns right by accident (wrong action), car turns right (feedback), player hits hazard (penalty).

 

as for the loop part:

1. player kills stuff to get treasure

2. player uses treasure to get gear to kill more stuff

3. goto 1.

 

 

when i was first designing Caveman, the loop was "find stuff to make stuff".  This turned out to be too simple.   So skills were added.    So now its more like "find stuff to make stuff" and "find and make stuff to learn skills", and "find stuff, make stuff, and use skills to do things".  

 

the point is that all fun games seem to have this reward feedback loop where positive actions on the part of the player are rewarded. and a multi-step loop ( do A to get B to get C which make you better at doing A) seems to make for a more interesting game. OTOH, arcade shooters are fun , and sometimes just have a simple, "hit something - increase score" type reward feedback loop.

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I have several posts trying to get to the root of games in general. This was the reason for this post:

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/652775-whats-in-a-game/

 

and this one:

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/650786-any-game-makers-here/

 

If I can go back to what I considered fun as a child, usually when I was having fun, I was laughing and feeling exuberant. 

This is a decent definition of game from a google search:

"a form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck."

 

So combine that definition with good game mechanics that create that child-like exuberance and you have a fun game. 

Edited by Tutorial Doctor

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Graphics is the "bait" and content (what the player can do and the story) is the "hook" of a game (for me). My two latest favorites are Fallout3 (also Fallout New Vegas) and Skyrim. They both have great graphics, but what makes them worth playing over and over again is the sheer volume of content available to the player. I find myself wanting to start over just because of the challange of staying alive long enough to develop my character to the point that it's no longer a challange.... Vicious cycle....

So, I think the most interest for me is the survival challange. Scavenging, avoiding obvious dangers, collecting neccessary supplies, etc...

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Emotional gratification and positive reinforcement.

1.
excitement
adrenaline rush
"social emotes"
being cool
silliness
making a mess

2.
Make a choice.
Do and accomplish something.
Feel good or get rewarded fairly -- too much and too little are both not fun.

immediate gratification
winning
doing the extra-ordinary
simplicity (vs absurd complexity)
misusing things for unintended purposes

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Play is fun, play leads to rules, rules create challenge, challenge leads to reward, reward creates competition, competition attracts spectators, spectators creates glory. Glorious, glorious, glorious fun that I'm better at having then you!

 

Play is fun.

 

Play is an interactive, artistic rendering of life. These interactive artistic rendering seem like more fun then real life because real life is too complicated and the rules are riddled with unseen variables and more interconnected then one person could ever know. Life is a great game though, in that it only takes a few years of the 100 or so you can play to learn most of the controls. However the win conditions are vague and the perma death makes much of the mini games too high risk to enjoy but on the whole you can't find a better game for crafting.

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Graphics is the "bait" and content (what the player can do) and the story is the "hook" of a game (for me). My two latest favorites are Fallout3 (also Fallout New Vegas) and Skyrim. They both have great graphics, but what makes them worth playing over and over again is the sheer volume of content available to the player. I find myself wanting to start over just because of the challenge of staying alive long enough to develop my character to the point that it's no longer a challenge.... Vicious cycle....

So, I think the most interest for me is the survival challenge. Scavenging, avoiding obvious dangers, collecting necessary supplies, etc...

This is very similar to me.  Skyrim's story wasn't really my cup of tea, and that's the only reason I haven't replayed it yet.  But I would jump all over a Skyrim clone with a different genre of story (no horror, more romance-fantasy-adventure).  I'd probably scream with frustration if it still had the two MAJOR design problems that drove me crazy in Skyrim (mount not shown on radar and unkillable NPCs) but I'd play it anyway.

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