Game Design Answers

From Twitter

The Story So Far...

There was a twitter activity floating around: First, you'd post an image explaining the rules. The rules were, for each like you got on that post, you'd post a game dev tip-- some bit of knowledge you had discovered and wanted to share.

I switched it so I could post something about game dev I needed tips on, instead. Some of my questions were a bit tongue-in-cheek, but actually they are all things I struggle with on some level-- and some of them, mightily!

There were some some great responses. I collected them here to share and to reference, only very slightly edited.

[Link to the original twitter thread]

1) I have a hard time knowing what matters and what doesn't matter, so I just add mostly everything I can think of.

Zach Gage (@helvetica) : i always start w the idea that is the easiest to try solution to the issue at hand. also, look for things that solve more than they add

Ian Kettlewell (@kettlecorn) : "A good idea is something that does not solve just one single problem, but rather can solve multiple problems at once."-Shigeru Miyamoto

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : what matters is what you care about the most in the game. Try to care a bit about everything but there's probably something you like more :)

2) I really have zero idea how people can think up minimal puzzle games or why some are better than others.

Zach Gage (@helvetica) : for me these always come out of trying to explore a single mechanic that seems fun and trying to make it work as quickly as possible

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : I think it's: go from the solution to the starting point when making a puzzle. Also don't make your puzzle a hide & seek game.

Ashley Pringle (@AshleyPringle) : i concluded recently that i don't get most puzzle games. like i'll can solve puzzles but i don't enjoy it and feel like i've gained nothing

Ashley Pringle (@AshleyPringle) : and i also have no idea what makes a good puzzle game. they all feel roughly the same to me? i'd have a lot of difficulty making one

3) I've never made any kind of platforming game, though I have made two side-view games where you float. I should learn how!

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : what you should anticipate before starting this: collisions are hard :X

J. West (@JRCWest) : I've started 3 games so far, collisions have been the hardest wall I've hit on each one.

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : haha nice one

J. West (@JRCWest) : ...damn that wasn't even intentional

[N.B. This reminds me of @MattThorson's great post on Towerfall Physics]

4) I always seem to have to redesign my entire game, late in development; this works OK for me but wow I'd love to avoid it.

Zach Gage (@helvetica) : for this i just dont work on anything that doesnt show signs of being great right away. i throw out a lot of prototypes

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : your project is a living thing, you should totally make small modifications to the design along the way. big irregular modifications are bad

5) I've tried many times to build a game from a small gameplay kernel and kind of expand, but I always end up somewhere completely else.

Zach Gage (@helvetica) : thats ok if it's fun! expanding games is really hard. i try to do many variations on a small game to make it bigger instead of expanding

6) I find it kind of unbelievable that AAA games even exist. Just... how. It's so much... of everything...

Zach Gage (@helvetica) : me too its fucking crazy

Christopher Whitman (@SeeBeeWhitman) : They have a staff of like 100-1000 people and a lot of producers keeping everything on track! It's (ideally) very organized!

Calvin (@PsySal) : It's so amazing to me to think off this...

Christopher Whitman (@SeeBeeWhitman) : I mean really what it boils down to is a profession of people whose only job is to be in meetings all day every day

Christopher Whitman (@SeeBeeWhitman) : Without producers nothing would ever ship

Andrew Winn (@AWinnr) : Sometimes I am amazing that anything gets created at all. Buildings, movies, school systems. It seems like so much work.

Calvin (@PsySal) : I rent office from construction industry, and read all the magazines. The construction industry are (or can be) incredible planners.

7) Somebody help me make it so the little person in my game moves a bit more believably ok it's tricky do I need AI!?

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : Nope! Try making it move faster and bob up and down a little if your perspective lets you and add footstep sfx!!@p_end

8) Is there somewhere I can just download graphics so I don't have to make it myself? Like a website or something...

Zach Gage (@helvetica) : i use http:oryxdesignlab.com sprites for my prototypes a lot

RobertClemmonsjr. (@RobClemmonsJr) : @itchio ALSO has several art asset packs too.

RobertClemmonsjr. (@RobClemmonsJr) : There's also opengameart too.

9) Can someone explain in detail how to make a "Unity Asset Flip" because this seems like it would be fun and profitable.

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : find assets make game with found assets, create the minimum needed ??? release profit

10) How is it that Nintendo games are always more polished and run smoother than practically anybody else's?

Blörkfisk med Vitpök (@pixelworship) : Easy: Nintendo rules, dude

Calvin (@PsySal) : It's hard to argue with this :) And why would anyone!

Trasevol Dog‏ (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : There really good at family games! That translates into really good control accessibility and attractive gamefeel! :)

11) A lot of people say they hate OpenGL but I like it and I'm pretty sure the problem is with me, not them -_-

Megan Fox (@glassbottommeg) : OpenGL Is The Literal Devil. Seen here, the process by which you get it to render a simple lit reflective sphere: [N.B. gif animation of a person in a red bodysuit carrying a red balloon, being chased off a golf course by a golfer, who then trips and, it would seem, pulls a hamstring]

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : Nope you're ok! Lots of people like Unity, I hate it. A lot. I would rather work with OpenGL, for sure! :D

12) When I'm not sure what to do next, or even when I do, I usually just add a subtle detail that likely no-one will ever notice.

Travesol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : that's actually good. details make things good.

13) How the heck did they make the weather effects in Assasin's Creed 4: Black Flag so good?

Trasevol Dog (@TRASEVOL_DOG) : They have shader wizards [N.B. I can't disagree but this is a very unsatisfying answer! :P]

14) How THE HECKING HECK did they make the water in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag so EMPING GOOD!!!?!?! How tell me.... give me the code...

Sven Bergström (@___discovery) : [Link to article: Assassin's Creed: Black Flag - Waterplane] :P

Rounding J. Error (@rje) : For the water animation itself, the Tessendorf paper is probably a good place to start? [Link to PDF file]

Calvin (@PsySal) : Ah wow! Thank both of you this will be some niiiice reading :)

Rounding J. Error (@rje) : at one point there was an nvidia implementation of the Tessendorf stuff as a compute shader but I can't find it now. Enjoy!


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