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Kleric

Dealing with Bias towards your own gameplay ideas & concepts

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Hello! I'm partially just here because my school told me to be.

 

I suppose this thread is under the context of solo developers, I don't imagine this would be as much of an issue in a team setting, but all input is welcome!

Something that's been on my mind recently is how one might deal with personal biases when considering gameplay ideas that they believe would be good. I realize that the ideas I come up with and have attachments to may not have a broad connection with others, or I'm not thinking of the full picture enough to see that it wouldn't fit or work. I know ideas and concepts being good are mostly subjective, however there are still ideas most people may consider objectively good or bad. So I was curious on how others might reality check themselves; to ensure that an idea you have is actually good, and not just good because you came up with it.

Do you propose the ideas to others and get their take on it? Do you follow closely to design theories to ensure that the idea is in line with being fun and engaging? Maybe something else? I'd love to hear everyone's methods or thoughts.

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1 hour ago, Kleric said:

how one might deal with personal biases when considering gameplay ideas that they believe would be good. I realize that the ideas I come up with and have attachments to may not have a broad connection with others, or I'm not thinking of the full picture enough to see that it wouldn't fit or work. I know ideas and concepts being good are mostly subjective, however there are still ideas most people may consider objectively good or bad.

Open-mindedness is a necessary virtue in game developers in general (including solo developers). 

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I would compare my designs with both old school games of the genre and modern takes of the genre to see just how different or similar you'd be compared to the two extremes. If you see your designs closer to an older generation, then I'm sure an audience of young folk would think it'd be strange, and vice versa with older folk for designs that lean closer to the modern interpretation.

Now, if you see your designs incomparable to both extremes, then maybe you're making stuff that most aren't used to, but that doesn't mean it's not fun. It just needs some getting used to or a better polish to ease into the mindsets of players. There are plenty of gems out there that are certainly dissimilar to many games of the same genre and take some getting used to, but I've seen them work. Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Danganronpa are popular examples of how an RPG and a Visual Novel can start out awkward but feel great later.

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It's quite common among successful indie developers to use a highly iterative process: that is, you rapidly prototype your ideas and variations on them to see if you can "find the fun".  If a basic prototype isn't fun, it probably isn't worth expending resources to create a full game.  There's a good article by Daniel Cook on "Evolutionary Design" that covers this process using a board game as an example.

Sharing your ideas and getting feedback from others can be a valuable starting point that will help you quickly find obvious flaws or areas for improvement.  Comparing to existing games as a reference can be informative.  In my opinion, however, nothing will compare to actually prototyping the idea so you (and preferably some others) can actually try it out and really see how it plays.

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