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10 steps to great game design

Published on October 14, 2014, by in Gaming.

So you’ve decided to become a game designer? Wish to create the next Minecraft or NFS? Welcome to this post which gives you 10 top tips on how to effectively design great games. Keep in mind that this article does not deal with programming, only with the aesthetics and authoring of the game’s storyline. So let’s get started.

Tip #1 – Develop a good parser

The single most important element of developing great games is to develop a good parser. This is something most beginners neglect, and the effect can be seen throughout the game. The more options you equip your parser with, the more effective will be your game’s communication with the player.

Tip #2 – Use good puzzle structuring

Don’t force gamers to solve puzzles just out of the blue. If the puzzle or the maze isn’t well connected to the game, it’s probably best to scrap the idea totally. A good strategy is to design lots of puzzles interwoven into each other in the beginning of the game, only to have them tapering off toward the end, with maybe one singular difficult maze or puzzle at the last stage.

Tip #3 – Balance level difficulty

What’s the fun of solving puzzles or mazes only to discover that the one at the last stage was the easiest? It’s better to gradually increase the difficulty level of each subsequent level as the game progresses. Obviously, the overall difficulty level of the game depends on your target audience, but if the difficulty level isn’t balanced, you may see your players lose interest very soon.

Tip #4 – Make the game world logical

This one may sound like common sense, but is most commonly overlooked. Make sure your game play is consistent with the backdrop of the game. For example, if the game is a sci-fi adventure, make sure to stress on the physics of the game. If it’s just a puzzle solver for kids, make sure the puzzles have a logic to them.

Tip#5 – Be interactive

Let your players explore the game world. It is better to let players interact with the game world rather than writing lines of prose about it.

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Tip #6 – Be fair to the player

Don’t require the player to have too much foresight. Avoid overwhelming the player with more obstacles than he or she can humanly solve, and never ever base the success of the player on a random number generator.

Tip #7 – Don’t be afraid to kill off the player

At the same time, don’t be afraid to make the game challenging enough to keep the player’s interest. Stroking the player’s ego will only make them severely disappointed.

Tip #8 – Concentrate equally on creating challenges and building the story

Puzzles and mazes are fun but the popularity of the game ultimately rests on a good storyline. A good ending will be read again and again, while something like ‘Congratulations, you win’ is something that will be played only once.

Tip #9 – Include good information sources in your game

Anything can be done when creating a puzzle for kids, but if your world is vast and complex, it is prudent to build several sources of information within the game to help the player during the game.

Tip #10 – Keep the game’s longevity intact

A lot of good adventure games soon start collecting dust because it was easy to completely the game in a single play. Games that have a long life have multiple endings according to the way the game is played, while others have hidden levels in them. Such tricks carry the interest a long way.

If you wish to start designing your own game, get started with getting the right training.

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