One of the most important roles as a games designer is the game balance. It’s not the most exciting part of the job by a long shot but a game with poor balance can frustrate and annoy a player, leading them to quit the game and never load it up again.
We’ve probably all played games that have had us thinking “I’ll just have one more go, then I’ll stop” and before we know it we’re suddenly watching the sun rise on a new day. It’s the gaming equivalent of a book being “a real page-turner”.
For want of a better phrase let’s call this an ‘engagement loop’, as a player we’re compelled to do something to receive a reward. If you are able to offer a large reward or range of rewards for a small loop, a player becomes highly engaged with the game while committing a small amount of time to each loop.
After writing about why I loved Fez in the previous post, I felt that I should also share some of the reasons why I love Banjo-Kazooie. This was originally written for the My Favourite Game blog, which was set up at the beginning of the year to allow people to share their favourite games. It is still looking for reader submissions if you’re interested in sharing your story.
It’s not often that a game excites me both as a player and a games designer quite as much as Fez has. Plenty of games have excited me as one or the other but Fez just has something else.
In my opinion, getting feedback on your game is one of the most important parts of game design and ignoring it is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make during development.
After playing through your game thousands of times (yes, literally thousands) you will become immune to certain elements. If your game features a boss battle, for example, you’ll breeze through it after you’ve defeated it a few dozen times. This could lead you to increasing the difficulty as it no longer presents you with a challenge. This is known as designer blindness and can happen in nearly all games. Continue reading
There has been a lot of talk across the gaming community as to whether there is still a place for dedicated handheld games consoles following the increasing use of smartphones and tablets as games machines.
I’ve always felt that a games console will provide the best games so with the recent release of Mole Kart (A Mario Kart clone) on the App Store I thought I’d use the opportunity to compare the two games and use cold hard numbers to see which was the better value for money. Continue reading