I am a gamer at heart. When I was a young boy – early teen – my dad got me into video gaming. For more than three decades, I have never looked back. I played so many video games that I initially created my own YouTube channel as a social experiment. But it turns out to be a hobby. My creative outlet. A unique way to connect with like-minded people.
Inevitably, some would ask, if I would have to create a video game, what would that be?
Before I answer that question, I would like to share with you a design philosophy behind a game called Risk of Rain. It goes something like …
- Design a game that is randomly generated every play-through, to keep replayability high and fresh.
- Time = difficulty. The higher the in-game time gets, the harder the difficulty gets. Keeping a sense of urgency keeps the game exciting!
- Be enjoyable, regardless of whether you win or lose. No more fussing with complex and non-intuitive gameplay patterns. Players should not blame the game for their loss!
Personally, I thought it was really cool, pretty close to what I would envisage the design of my own game be.
Having said that, I would take it further.
- The graphic doesn’t define a game. Game-play does.
- There has to be an element of randomness. Better still, user-created content.
- It has got to be easy to pick up, and challenging to master. Way too many games that have no depth or a few rare gems that are challenging to master, but way too difficult to pick up. We are humans. Most give up easily.
- Sandbox or a good degree of freedom to achieve user-defined goals is important. Being too prescriptive can be perceived as linear. Life is a journey. Let gamers play the game they enjoy playing.
- There should be a good balance of quick wins versus time-invested rewards. We love it rough. But not all the time. There must be an alternative path to the same goal.
- Revival is key. Stagnancy is the culprit of a game on the decline. Fresh content. Change of meta. People need to keep playing, for good reason.
- Listen to feedback. Active listening, I mean.