Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Whole Package: An Appeal to Polish

Hey all,

This month, I want to talk about a subject that game design schools rarely talk about. It's a subject that is really just common sense, but I'm going to mention it anyway.

Honestly, my thoughts on game design schools in general could be its own topic.

Anyway, I see a lot of young game designers, or young indies, showing their games, and I've noticed a trend. A lot of the games I see have solid gameplay, but other aspects of the game are lacking. It seems as if they were taught "make the game fun", and took that as "the ONLY thing that matters is gameplay." I then see these young'uns try to sell what would have gotten them a "B" in class as a retail product.

Capitalism will not be kind to those people. While fine for school, these products would be consider lackluster once their creators start asking for money.

I'm not trying to be toxic to young indies, in fact, what I'm saying should be taken as a letter of challenge.

Games are so much more than just the gameplay. While the gameplay is, indeed, the most important factor (no one worth their salt would debate otherwise), there are many other things that propel a game into greatness. Things such as a clean look, clean sound, and solid music will only make a game better. If everything in a game is as good as the gameplay, it'll only make the game appear THAT much better.

Do you think Tetris would have gotten as far as it did with gray blocks and no music?

To those young'uns: Think about the whole package.

Before people get on my case, I'm not debating against simplistic looking games, not at all. I will argue, backwards and forwards, that Tetris is one of the greatest games of all time, and that game uses colored blocks! What I am debating against are games that, while solid in fundamentals, use the following in any combination:
  • Unequalized sound / music
  • Royalty free sounds / music
  • Unpolished, barebones, boxy graphics (If boxy is your aesthetic, at least make it look polished.)
  • Menus are simple text, using Arial or similar font.
  • A clearly not well thought out color palette.
  • Lack an options / settings screen.
  • Lack a logo / title screen.
Before you ask, yes, I've seen games try to sell themselves as retail products with some of the above.

If you are an up and coming indie / designer; on top of your game being fun / feeling good, ask yourself: "does EVERYTHING in this game feel as good as the gameplay?", as well. That way of thinking will help propel your game into greatness.

I'm not asking for much, just polish your game as much as possible.


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