A gentle reminder for programmers
It’s easy to get lost in all the ins and outs of creating a great video game or computer game; so easy, in fact, that we can forget the parts of a game that make playing them fun. The following serves as a kind reminder of what motivates players to play in the first place. Check out this memo in case you are stuck or distracted by confusing C ++ syntax or lines and lines of Visual Basic declarations and DLL structures.
1. Remember that the player is the main character. Here’s a secret between you and me: people play to gain a sense of control. If you can program your game so that the player is in control, then you have already won half the battle. This does not mean that the game should be easy. It simply means that when a gamer runs home from school or comes home from work to play a video game, he wants to feel the control that he did not have during the hours between nine and five. The outcome of a match, whether it is won or lost, should never be random, but rather the result of a good controlled play.
2. KISS. Do you remember that acronym? It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. We all know that programming a game is a tough business, but believe us when we say we don’t want it to be remembered. The difficulty of programming a game should never be part of the game, so whenever possible make the game easy to start, easy to navigate, and of course easy to play. We’re not asking for a preschool strategy here, but on the other hand, we don’t want to feel stupid as preschoolers either. Forget the hundred-page manual. No one except those who are really obsessed will read it anyway. Create your game for the average Joe and everyone will be your fan.
3. Add a lot of action. And it adds a lot too. The more action you add to your game, the more attention your players will pay to you. And the more players pay attention to your game, the more attractive your game becomes. For every action a player character performs, make the game react and then ask the player to do more.
4. Make the story beautiful. Nothing is worse than playing a game only to wonder what you are doing and why. The goal is and has always been a human obsession. But without it, we are left wandering … in the dark … wondering about weird things like what the house would look like with a coat of bright pink paint. Don’t give your players a chance to waste time in this way. Give them a mission and make sure their game reminds them what the mission is at the right time and why they need to complete it.
5. Give us a feast for the eyes. But make it relevant. The graphics in a game shouldn’t be distracting, they should make our eyes sparkle with satisfaction at seeing them and then drool more. The graphics must contain clues and draw us more and more into the game until we defeat it.
6. Make it happen. Fantasy games are fine, but what makes them great is the fact that they are realistic. It is difficult to get into something that is unfamiliar or that we could never experience. But if you can implement some reality in your games, players will appreciate and engage with it on a whole new and respectable level.