What makes a good game?

Game development is at the intersection of technology and arts. That makes designing games hard since you need to design not only fun gameplay mechanics but also the environment and world which keeps the player interested. So what keeps us interested?

How to make a good game

It would be awesome to drop the silver bullet here and offer a perfect recipe to make the best possible game. Unfortunately (as expected) that's not possible, but that is also the reason why game development is so fun and challenging! 

"The amount of features is not a success factor"

If you look at games made by big studios, you can see epic scale productions, with loads of features and experiences to enjoy. I hear a lot of developers saying that if you want to be successful with your game, you need to have hours and hours of unique content. What this causes, is small teams making big productions and in the end, have an unpolished product with loads of uncomplete features.

"The best indie games (games made by small studios) happen to be very solid, small games with few features polished to perfection."

When you design your next (or current) game, aim to find the diamond from it and focus on that 100%. If your game feels stale, don't try to fix it with new features. Instead figure out is your core feature fun enough and how could you improve it.

It's always a surprise to see how much work can you put into a single, very small looking feature when you start polishing it. By polishing, I mean fine-tuning the controls, animations, effects, adding details and sounds. 

The most important thing is to create something which LOOKS APPEALING and it's easy to understand what the game is about even from a trailer or gameplay screenshot. 

Best practices to make an interesting game

  • Find a reference for your game (be it a platformer, top-down shooter, adventure, action...)
  • Create basic movement and/or controls for the player character(s)
  • Ditch everything else
  • Start fine-tuning the controls, add more detailed animations, details, effects and perfectly timed sound effects
  • Create few game assets to introduce the game world for the player
  • Do not start adding content into the game, just focus to make this one single level or layout of the game as perfect as possible
  • Reserve most of your time to this process
  • Record a gameplay video or make a playable prototype and start sharing it 
  • Get feedback. Players SHOULD be interested in this and give a big thumbs up.
  • If not, you should consider sitting back to the design table. Do not start adding content and expect it to solve the problem.
  • Once you find the simple mechanics which look and feel appealing, you're most likely on the right track and it's much easier to start adding content and maybe even some extra features

These are simple and maybe even obvious things for game developers, it's still the most common mistake for developers to aim too high with a feature-heavy game and end up with an incomplete and unpolished game.

Keep it simple!

I'm still learning to make small, solid and easy-to-read blog posts. Hopefully, this was one of those! I hope you got something new out from this article if you did drop a comment below! Thank you very much for reading. <3


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