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January 27, 2015 / gameofslaves

Two weeks? What’s new?

I’ve been “busy” playing games. I don’t think I’m in a non-creative cycle, but rather I’ve been looking and researching… that elusive thing which game devs strive for.  I’ve been comparing.

“What is it which inspires me to spend hours on Game1, but only ten minutes on Game2?”

Content is a big factor, of course. That’s not the biggest thing.

I was reading an article saying that one required ingredient in any good game is quality. While I was reading, the argument seemed legit. However, after thought and reflection, I can beg to differ. Poor art / sound / advertising / packaging can be overcome by engaging gameplay and word-of-mouth. On the flip-side, I know people who will not play a game with low-quality art. (When I was a kid, ALL video/computer games had sucky visuals due to hardware limitations. I guess that is why I focus on substance over style.)

I was going to write this about how important quality is for a project, and how I was striving for quality… but the more I think about it, quality isn’t the prime component.  Yes, it is very important, but not prime.

This is what is prime for me:

I want to be engaged. I want to feel like my actions have an effect, and I want to see that effect. 

The text above is what is prime for me.  It’s also important for me to be aware of this.  Finding things I don’t like in games are things I should not put in games, even if it adds to the challenge / immersion.

Hell Breaks Loose was going to have a move counter.  If you didn’t succeed in a certain number of moves, you lose.  I was reading a forum and someone was asking how to best implement a timer for the same type of situation and there was an… intense discussion which bordered on flame-attacks as people addressed their opinions on the matter.  Most people [who voiced their opinion] didn’t care for the timer.  So, I opted to reverse my intention.  If you beat the timer, you get a special reward.

Also, I’m a fan of creating Easter Eggs – little surprises hidden in my work.  And, as a writer / GM / storyteller, I enjoy keeping certain machinations from being visible.  In my computer games, I have been doing the same thing… and I think I may be on the wrong footing there.

Yes, a good game usually has a good story behind it but you have to write differently for a game as opposed to writing a novel or short story.

I’m learning how to make choices in my games show their effects rather than being sneaky about it.

As a writer, I think sneaky-stuff can be fun. In a game, I need to show something but not give away the whole story in one action.

…and that’s what I’ve learned in the last two weeks.  🙂

Oh yeah, and Java is coming along.

– Cam

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