TALE TUESDAY #21 – What’s tough about game design?

Hey everyone! Today we’ll cover some things that might be a bit harder for a begginner designer to get when creating his own game. Before we get into any details – remember! Game development is about having fun and you should just enjoy what you’re doing, regardless of its success. We’re happy to give you a few tips!

So, there are several things that might be tough to get right when it comes to game design. Not all things are as simple as they seem and some elements may trick us. So what should we look out for?

In many games, a tutorial is an important of the gameplay, especially for player’s FTUE. What’s FTUE, you might ask? It’s a widely used abbreviation of the phrase ‘First Time User Experience’. It’s what players experience, feel and think of the game when they try it for the first time ever. It’s a very important aspect for any game and a tutorial, whether built-in or optional, is one of the things that will shape that feeling the most. You might create a tutorial that feels good, but is it really? You’ve been in the process of creating the game from the start and it might get tricky to get the instructions right when you already know everything behind it. There’s no secrets for you, but for others there’s a lot to uncover. Your tutorial might not be clear enough for those that are just starting to discover your game. There might be some major holes in the explanation process and some mechanics might not be explained well. So how to make sure your game is as good and playable as you intended it to be? In a similar way that you’ll do it in the next case..

Another issue you might face is the level design. For you, it might feel clear and awesome – after all, you’ve made it! When you’re making everything, it seems like the purpose of all elements in the level is clear, especially of the interactive things. However, what might appear clear to you – as we’ve said – might not be that clear for others that have just started playing. Even veteran players might struggle with some design choices. It doesn’t have to be your fault – it’s just the fact that you could have not been aware of the issues simply because… you knew the design too well. Knowing everything in such case definitely is not beneficial!

So, we agree that the tutorial and level designs might appear good to you, while in reality they have little to do with what players experience and we’ve agreed that it is crucial that we don’t fall for it and get our game elements right. So, how to avoid it? The best solution would be.. getting a QA tester that has not seen the game before. QA Tester or Quality Assurance Tester will assure that your game is the best it can get. If a tester additionally did not have contact with your game previously, he’ll be in for an actual full experiece, from the start until the very end. Even the most professional QA testers cannot fully experience the game they’ve tested before. Seeing the game for the first time makes for the most genuine reactions. Due to that, it’s important to reconsider when do you want to start your testing series.

In addition to things we’ve mentioned, it’s good to remember that the game as a whole has to hold together. This time, pretty much anyone testing the game can ensure it and so can you as a designer. Make sure that all the mechanics make sense and will be used by the player and make sure they’re balanced well. Let’s not forget about games with story – that the story has to be consistent and make sense. It’s good to often check on the methods you’ve decided to take, if they’re successful in the end.

That would be it for today’s Tale Tuesday! Soon, we’ll turn our attention to the development itself and coding, which Iguana Mercenary’s developer Michael will talk about. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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