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Thread: Things to remember

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    Legendary Member cairnswm's Avatar
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    Things to remember

    I have no idea where I found these. I 'refound' them on my harddrive while browsing through some files. Hope they help someone out there.

    [size=18px]10 Things NOT to do[/size]

    1) MAKE GAMES OVER 20MB?˘_"Because a game over 20MB is far less likely to be downloaded (or complete the download) over a narrowband connection, the market for these games is much smaller than games under 20MB. It's much harder to make money on bigger games. Make your games as SMALL as possible.
    2) MAKE ONLY ONE GAME?˘_"This business is all about promotional space and scale. Even a marginally successful title is likely to make some money. It is a whole lot easier to make a couple million bucks from 10 titles than it is to squeeze than kind of money out of a single game.
    3) ASSUME MAINSTREAM CUSTOMERS ARE IDIOTS?˘_"As professional gamers we tend to think there is something wrong with someone who doesn't "get" the kinds of games we enjoy. There is a tendency to want to "dumb down" gameplay, and assume that these players are unsophisticated in other ways. Big mistake. These people are not stupid, and they resent being patronized. They appreciate quality, depth, and value - but they expect us to make the games work for them, not the other way around.
    4) MAKE UNSTABLE OR POORLY POLISHED GAMES?˘_"Quantity is important to scaling your Digital Distribution business model, but quality is critical too. Look at the games that you will be competing against and make sure your games "measure up". Remember that the customer will be able to easily download both and pick the one they like best. Our users have zero tolerance for buggy programs, so test well and fix your bugs.
    5) SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY ON A SINGLE GAME?˘_"This problem is especially common among CD-ROM/Console developers who are used to $XX million development budgets. Control your spending carefully, and choose game designs that will help you do this. Talk to your distribution partners about realistic ranges of sales volumes, and plan accordingly.
    6) MAKE YOUR GAMES COMPLEX FROM THE START?˘_"RealOne?˘,¬˘Arcade players are not stupid - they do like challenge, variety, and depth - BUT they don't pick up on complexity or nuance as quickly as "harder core" gamers. Start simple, and add in more advanced elements one at a time as the player progresses through the game.
    7) DON'T GET TO KNOW OR LISTEN TO YOUR?˘_"By the very definition, game designers tend to be into games. That means we tend to make decisions that appeal to other game designers, but may be exactly opposite of what our customers want. Get to know your audience, talk to your players, understand them, and solicit their feedback so you avoid this pitfall. Oh - and make sure you get a fairly large sample so you don't get duped by the vocal minority.
    DESIGN GAMES FOR "NICHE" AUDIENCES?˘_"Digital distribution is about broad, mainstream appeal. It's a real art to design games that truly appeal broadly. Be careful not only of genre niches (RTS games for example), but also thematic niches (imagine if Diamond Mine had a sci-fi theme...). If care is not taken to think broadly, you might cut huge chunks out of your audience with seemingly innocuous decisions about sound effects, graphic theme, or game speed/intensity.
    9) SPEND A LOT OF TIME DEVELOPING "NICHE" FEATURES?˘_"Multiplayer. PDA support. Cross-platform support. True 3D rendering. In-depth configuration options. All of these, while very cool to us, are also fairly expensive to build and add little value to 90% of your players (who play your game for 10-20 minutes at a time three times a week). Spend your time and development where it will benefit the most people, and add these "niche" features only if you get very strong community feedback that your game's particular audience demands it.
    10) UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF VIRAL MARKETING?˘_"One of the key metrics we look at when gauging the potential success of the game is the percentage of beta testers who indicate that they would recommend a game to a friend. Viral marketing is extremely powerful, and if you build features into your game that can leverage this (such as "tell a friend" functionality), you can benefit tremendously


    [size=24px]10 Things to Rememnber[/size]
    1) IT'S TRY BEFORE YOU BUY?˘_"people actually get to play your game for a short time before they must make a purchase decision. Make sure your "demo" experience is immediately compelling & fun all the way through
    2) YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS TO GET THE USER PLAYING?˘_"from the completion of install, our players want to get right into playing the game. Great games lose a bunch of potential customers by requiring configuration, or navigation of a complex menu tree to get started. Ideally there is 1 click from main menu to playing the game
    3) YOU HAVE 5 MINUTES TO MAKE A SALE?˘_"though many of our demos provide 60 minutes of gameplay, we have a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that the purchase decision is being made before the user reaches this 60 minutes. The first time user experience is critical to helping the user get deeper into your game.
    4) OUR PLAYERS DON'T LIKE TO LOSE?˘_"At least not a first. Challenge is something to introduce into gameplay after you have the user hooked. Design your early difficulty curve to ensure that the player is allowed early success and is rewarded in a significant way for that success.
    5) ALWAYS ALLOW SOME MOUSE CONTROL?˘_"in game, the mouse should do SOMETHING. Most users will try to use the mouse first thing when the game starts. Ideally, you will provide a mouse control schema that is effective, but if that's impossible, at least bring up a dialog box at the point when the mouse is moved to tell the user to use the keyboard!
    6) BUYING THE GAME DOESN'T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT?˘_"Make sure when the game is in its "demo" state, that the user is messaged in very clear and straightforward ways why they should buy the game!
    7) COMPATIBILITY IS CRITICAL?˘_"these are not sophisticated computer users. In many cases, the only time they update device drivers is when they get a new computer. Test your game on OEM drivers that ship with different versions of windows - not the latest drivers on the latest cards. That also goes for Direct X - target the prevalent version, not necessarily the most current version.
    XP IS GROWING REALLY FAST?˘_"In less than a year, XP has grown to represent more than 30% of our user base. Making a game run on XP, especially an older game can be a challenge. But to neglect XP means you're cutting out more than one-third of your sales right off the top.
    9) MAKE A "WEB GAME" VERSION?˘_"The web game version that you might offer through RealOne Arcade is, in many ways, the perfect merchandising tool to get people to download and buy the game. If a web game is at all possible, even if it only simulates one compelling "part" of the full game, it's worth doing. And remember, with RealOne Arcade you'll need to host your own web game, so make sure you have the capability to do so.
    10)ANOTHER GAME IS JUST A DOWNLOAD AWAY?˘_"In the RealOne Arcade universe, turning off one game and downloading a new one is only a couple of clicks away. Make sure that you are careful not to give the user any reason to turn off your game before they are hooked.


    [size=18px]In game design Element[/size]

    FRONT END UI?˘_"It's crucial that menu items are clearly labeled. When picking names for game modes, try and stay to familiar terms like strategy, puzzle, speed instead of creating new and unique titles. Challenge mode isn't as good as Play Now. Players should be able to get into the game with not more than one-click from the main menu. Any stumbling through the UI or additional steps will likely turn people way in the try before you buy arena.
    CORE GAMEPLAY CONCEPT?˘_"The core game play concept should be immediately obvious to the player. Taking ten people off the street and asking them to play your game for the first time, they should all be able to figure out how to play, what the objective is, and how to achieve success in the game in less than 2 minutes. People simply do not read manuals that come along with the game, if they can't figure it out, you lose them quickly.
    IN-GAME TUTORIALS?˘_"These take many forms. In general a full blown interactive tutorial should not take longer than 2-5 minutes to complete. Anything longer and the game is too complicated and there is too much to learn in a quick sitting. Consider removing game elements and adding them in as the user progresses. Quick pop-up help is good, especially when it's contextual and relevant. You can spoon feed the user through the game this way, introducing new concepts as they come up, at the start of a level for instance.
    ADDICTIVENESS?˘_"This almost goes without saying, but it's important to remember that the top selling games in this space are often described as addictive. What makes a game additive? It's a combination of a number of things, graphics, sound, game play, ease of use. In short, it's a combination of all the areas of game design.
    MOUSE CONTROL?˘_"The easiest form of control is the mouse. Every user, no matter how new to the PC uses the mouse. It's crucial that the entire front-end UI is mouse driven. Games with core game play that is point-and-click have a huge advantage in this space. It's not just enough to have mouse control, it's worth spending some time thinking about how you use the mouse. The control needs to be intuitive and smooth. It can be quite a challenge to find ways to use the mouse, but the payoff is well worth it.
    HIGH SCORES?˘_"Scores take two forms, local and global. Local high scores is a must have with any quick paced game where scoring is the core motivator for play. The ability to reset local high scores is important as well. Score is a good psychological motivator as the player will continually try and beat top scores. Global high scores are less important, but a growing number of players in this space like to see how they stack up against the rest of the world.
    SAVE GAMES?˘_"In many cases it makes sense to have the ability to save games. As a rule, if your game takes longer than 15 minutes to complete, users will enjoy a save game feature. This is especially true of word games, jigsaw puzzle games - anything were it is likely you will not be able to complete in a session. It's also important that you make sure there is a valid reason for the game taking so long because in general anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to play will not resonate in this audience.
    William Cairns
    My Games: http://www.cairnsgames.co.za (Currently very inactive)
    MyOnline Games: http://TheGameDeveloper.co.za (Currently very inactive)

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  3. #3

    Things to remember

    Yes very good read indeed.


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