A discussion: what makes a good game?

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Post » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:50 am

I'm actually quite curious what the lot of you think about this subject, because, in the end, this is the most important thing that imho makes a hit out of a game - it's a trump card in the indy developer's sleeve, by which he can outshadow far bigger competitors... So, what does make one game a good game?

I've been thinking quite a lot about this one, and while every genre by itself is by definition hated by some, and loved by some, i think the mechanics make the biggest impact on the gamer's experience and satisfaction. Keeping it simple, expanding along the learning curve and making it random enough to keep a player interested is obviously a one way to go about things: games like Torchlight have used this strategy to great extent. Enough roguelike to make people replay and replay, and simple enough to attract the general population, Torchlight has made its way into the hearts (and pockets) of many players worldwide. Obviously, hardcore roguelike lovers will argue that this isn't turnbased, very VERY simple and that it's only got 3 characters, but the main idea is to take what is brilliant from one genre and succesfully implement it in another. This is also worth considering.

Implementing new, never-before-seen mechanics, ideas and insights has always been an advantage of an indy developer, and i think we should hold this advantage firmly within our grasp. Still, this has an issue worth addressing: we need to keep it interesting, new and FAMILLIAR. If people see the idea as too abstract, many will be repulsed by it, thinking it has a steep learning curve, or that's impossible to enjoy or see what is actually going on. So we need to think about that too..

Anyway, these are some of my insights and i'd love to see what you guys think makes a great game. I think this discussion will help us all make good games that people will love to p(l)ay.

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Post » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:11 am

One word. Fun.

If a game isn't fun, then it's not a good game.

Apart from that, bonuses include replay ability, and to a lesser extent nice graphics.

~Sol
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Post » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:11 am

Well, there obviously isn't one answer, and since I do most of my posting in short burtsts of time, ill post any little insight I can think of

cohesiveness
I'm not sure its even the best word, but everything needs to fit together perfectly. Play street fighter 2 or 3 for example, when you press the button to punch, the speed of the animation, the size of the hitbox, and one people overlook, slight delays between the sound effect and the reaction animation, these are things that make the game feel so solid. A slightly longer or shorter between hit and reaction animation or sound effect creates a completely different feel. I think putting the love into these details separates the ok games from the great games. That was an example on a small scale.

Take littlebigplanet, a masterpiece in my opinion. The art style, the sound effects, the music choice, even the choice of the voice for the narrator, it all speaks the same language.

And btw, my personal take on graphics is that people understate their importance routinely. Because it seems superficial, like saying you like a girl for her looks rather than her personality.
But I think graphics do matter, a lot. A game can't be great with only good graphics, but I would say most great games do have great graphics. Even indie games that don't have impressive graphics, any of the ones I've thought were great always had some type of charm or cool lookingness. Even something like plants vs zombies, world of goo, braid, or torchlight. They look good. Not like gears of war, but good in their own way, and back to cohesiveness, notice they all look and sound uniform, no unfitting fonts, no mismatched color schemes. I think the difference between successful and unsuccessful indie games a lot of times is that last bit of polish that brings it all together
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Post » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:24 am

I must say i agree with Lucid a lot, seeing that his insights come from a dev's background, noticing small but very important factors like "that special something" . I must also agree that the game needs to be fun and replayable, since that IS the whole deal, right? To have fun, not frustration. Still, some diehard gamers (myself included) actually love a bit of a challenge and need hardcore, ultraharcore etc. settings in order to enjoy the game at the later stages. However, easy settings are welcome too - game needs to cater to the widest audience imho.

For a game to be cohesive i think that the hierarchy and division of tasks in a dev team is very important - if people force their own styles on the game, the ending result will be a patchwork and not very pretty or pleasant. The same happens when one person makes the (commercial!) game and although he KNOWS he can program, he won't admit he can't make any music. Or graphics. But still he forces it, and then feel insulted when reviews and customers complain about lackluster graphic or lousy, repetitive (at best) music. Or idiotic (or nonexistent) plot. For their money, people desire quality. And we need to provide. Of course, no one should criticize freeware, since it's offered out of free will and is (and should be!) greately appreciated by the community. However, constructive criticism is always welcome (that's why i LOVE this forum) :)

I think the best way to approach the entire game making strategy is this:
- have a lead developer:
a person with the big picture and some knowledge about every stage of the process (graphics, music, programming, writting, QA etc... This person needs to be a boss of sorts, although taking very seriously into account what specialists have to say
-lead graphic artist
-lead audio producer
-Q&A manager
...etc. so the Ford Conveyor belt System is the way to go, imho. That way everybody does what he/she knows best and while everybody's oppinions are appreciated, it's always assured that the most capable people work at any given area.

I know that the big guys are already doing it this way, but i feel that us here can do the same - unite on one speciall scirra construct project, take roles and make something really great - if we feel like it. I'm sure that would be a great challenge, but imagine the possibilities!! :D

Of course, this is just one way of looking at it - your turn now, guys :)
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Post » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:29 pm

[quote:25brhb09] know that the big guys are already doing it this way, but i feel that us here can do the same - unite on one speciall scirra construct project, take roles and make something really great - if we feel like it. I'm sure that would be a great challenge, but imagine the possibilities!! [/quote:25brhb09]

I do agree that it would be great if everyone on the Construct forums could create a game together and create something so awesome that it would be the lead intro game for construct 1 or 2.It's also quite difficult as people will have to swap thier cap files to implement it into thier cap files.
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Post » Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:52 pm

yeah, i just think it would be a cool idea - this *could* be done if a chain of command of sorts is established (sort of like a hub where files could be easily exchanged, synchronised etc...). This also means other documentation would be available for the devs...
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