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My Game Design Philosophy

I may have said it in the past, but here it is in it’s own publication. I love video games. I have been playing them since I was 8 and will play them till I am past 80. But I also love making games. I play all variety from RPG, arcade, FPS, adventure and all the inbetweens and mashups. The one game that resonates with me most are the fun and objective games.

But what does that all mean?

What constitutes as fun is relative to each person. While some may love the micromanagement of an RTS game, others may just want their army raised up for conquering. I was talking to a friend recently about the Warhammer 40k: Total War series. I was talking about the epic battles and flanking the enemies while archers would rain down hell. He never played those missions and instead opted for computer resolved battles. For him, the fun was in the city building and resource management. For me the fun was in the battles. We both played the same game but it was also two completely different games all at once.

Objective games have a purpose. You’re on an island and need to escape. Or you wake up in a dungeon and have to find out how and why you’re there. There are missions and quests throughout to give the player purpose and a meaning to the game. There are objectives and things to accomplish. For me, the battles and conquering tough armies was my objective fun. For my friend, it was building up the towns and taking over territory.

About my Philosophy

Just as the action gets good, the game pauses and goes into tutorial mode

Keep the player engaged.

I personally hate disruptions in the game play. I like interfaces that are clean and out of the way until needed. Menus properly pause the action so you’re not worried about being stabbed and robbed while sorting inventory. Tutorials or new information pops up when needed, but let’s you play the game.

Ubisoft does a horrible job at this. I played “For Honor” for a bit after it was released. Ran through the optional but heavily pushed like a hooker needing to pay rent. After the exhaustive 30-60 minute tutorial it was finally time to play the game. Nope, the damn tutorial reared it’s ugly head. The stuff I just spent and hour going through. Not once, but several times. Running towards an exciting looking battle, game paused to show you crap that you don’t care about, but can’t just cancel it, because there’s 6 pages of information to wade through… For Honor Tutorial

Rockstar does this perfectly. In GTA you run into a new game mechanic and a pop up comes on screen to tell you what to do. You can ignore and continue to play the game. They don’t care and that’s great. Dark Souls just  doens’t care and will tell you nothing. That’s a bit minimalist.

Playability is Critical

There is nothing more annoying than a great looking game, beautiful graphics and environment, but it’s unplayable garbage. You spend most of the game distracted by your battle with the game mechanics. Assassin’s creed series comes to mind with this. The earlier games were masterpieces, but after Ezio’s plot line they went to hell. I’d try to jump up a ledge and the game would bounce off the wall. Or hope across ledges and the character would climb down. Everything I wanted to do, like the older games I just couldn’t without a struggle. Everything had to be aligned so precise. Origins finally got better again. I want to avoid forcing the player to struggle with too many game mechanics.

No annoying banners.

Certainly no full screen video ads. I don’t care if it makes me less money. It annoys me, and I’m sure it annoys gamers. Banner ads are revenue though, payment for the ungodly amount of hours it takes to make a decent game. I prefer to put them on menu and games screens never on the main level/action scene.

No Excessive In-app purchases.

Box of gems only $99.99! Limited time 20% off! My in-app are there to provide something tangible at a small cost. It’s more like a donation to make more, better dgames than anything else. I’ll work out a store policy to keep in app purchases under $5 for the foreseeable future.

Extra credit: No more Reskins

I admit. I bought a 2 “templates”, worked on graphics and released. It was a learning experience on game making. But I also heavily modified them at their core to strip out video ads and other annoyances. I want playable games above anything else. Reskins just don’t work. I spent more time “fixing” annoyances than I would just making the same game from scratch.

While not a reskin, I bought “RPG All In One” and the “ORK Framework”. Scratched the concept of using either because they were not flexible enough. Immortal Realm has some game concepts that will need to be custom built.

All in All

I honestly want to make excellent games for mobile, PC and Console. I’ve been greatly inspired by the great’s of the early days and want to stand on their shoulders, not toes like the other big companies.

Let’s get game making!

About Craig

Craig is the founder of The Chaos Rift and developer of the games published here. In his spare time he'll also write about games, play games and dream about games. Being a Game developer has been a dream of Craig's since he was 14 and after some detours has finally started to realize his dreams.

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